Page N1.1 . 06 November 2002                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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Calatrava Waves

by ArchitectureWeek

Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava recently unveiled "Wave," a perpetually moving sculpture on the plaza in front of the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The 26-by-68-foot (8-by-21-meter) sculpture is made of 129 hollow-steel, bronze-coated bars that rise and descend in a syncopation that simulates a wave motion. The sculpture balances over a large, shallow, black granite reflecting pool of slow-moving water.

The bars' movements create a four-cycle wave motion in space above, but not touching, the water. Each bar weighs about 440 pounds (200 kilograms). The bars are collectively powered by one motor, and each one rises and descends about 6 feet (1.8 meters). Lighting in the pool illuminates the sculpture from below at night. Calatrava says of the sculpture: "The solidity of the bronze bars seems to dissolve into something fluid. Rigid, straight elements take on the appearance of a curve; the heavy material becomes weightless, as it is reflected in the water. Perhaps, in these transformations, we may also sense how an architect born in Spain comes to feel at home in Dallas."

The Meadows School of the Arts has developed a relationship with Calatrava for several years. In November 2000, he received the school's prestigious Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts, and in March 2001, the new Meadows Museum building opened with "Poetics of Movement The Architecture of Santiago Calatrava" as its inaugural exhibition. The museum also houses one of the largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain, with major works dating from the 10th to the 20th century. As part of the "Wave" dedication ceremony in October, 2002, water from Spain was poured into the reflecting pool and mixed with Texas water, symbolizing the cultural bond between the two places.

Calatrava is known for his architectural and engineering design that combines fluid, aerial forms with functional structure. "Wave" joins the ranks of the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Stadelhofen Railway Station in Zurich, and the Campo Volantin Footbridge in Bilbao, Spain.

"Wave" was sponsored by the Rosine Foundation Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas, which for 50 years has given charitable grants throughout the state to educational, medical, civic, cultural, and social services institutions.

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ArchWeek Image

"Wave" is a new sculpture by architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava.
Photo: Hillsman Jackson

ArchWeek Image

The 129 bars move sequentially, creating a four-cycle wave motion above a reflecting pool.
Photo: Hillsman Jackson

ArchWeek Image

Santiago Calatrava says of his new sculpture: "Rigid, straight elements take on the appearance of a curve."
Photo: Hillsman Jackson


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