Tuesday night at a ceremony on the 33rd floor of World Trade Center 7, high above his World Trade Center Transportation Hub, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was awarded the European Prize for Architecture by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture.
The accolade is awarded to architects each year who have made substantial contributions to the field. Last year’s winner was Alessandro Mendini, who was given the award at a ceremony in Milan.
In the crowd was a host of construction industry professionals, each with a table. Calatrava and his family had a table in the front, and Calatrava was giddy as the representatives of the Chicago Athenaeum and European Centre praised his long and prolific career. The highlight of the night was then he was presented with a crown made of olive leaves from the Parthenon in Athens.
Calatrava gave a short lecture about his work, from his first projects in Zurich and Spain to his over 50 bridges around the world. He explained how he was trained as an engineer, but was eventually inspired by the human form and eyebrows, which evolved into his signature reptilian style.