Santiago Calatrava & Micael Calatrava: “Lead Architect & Lead Engineer of […]” | Talks at Google

Santiago Calatrava & Micael Calatrava: “Lead Architect & Lead Engineer of […]” | Talks at Google


[THEME MUSIC] SPEAKER 1: So we are so
delighted to have today the designer for those
buildings, Santiago Calatrava. [CHEERING] [APPLAUSE] Santiago is, with no doubt, one
of the most famous architects globally. He is the brains behind
so many iconic buildings. More locally, he is the brains
behind the Dubai Creek Tower. I know there are
many towers in Dubai, but this one is meant to be the
tallest building in the world. He is also the designer of the
National Pavilion of the UAE– the Expo 2020
Building, that is meant to– probably more than
25 million visitors are going to be there. So actually Micael
is his son, and he is the one running all of
the operations here in Dubai. So please join me
in welcoming Micael. [APPLAUSE] I mentioned only two buildings,
the Dubai Creek Tower, and the Pavilion
of the Expo 2020. But I think the only
way to really understand the scope of his
work is to see them. [CLASSICAL MUSIC PLAYING] [APPLAUSE] So thank you again for
being here with us. For me, it’s a particular
pleasure, because I am Spanish. And I was totally
living in Valencia, where I had the opportunity
to observe all of his art. So thank you again, Santiago. SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: Thank you. SPEAKER 1: How we
would like to start this conversation is
actually getting to know you a little bit better. So your first steps
in your career, something in particular
that you want to mention. Your driving license,
or something. [LAUGHTER] So yeah. SANTIAGO CALATRAVA:
Well, because you spoke about Valencia. But first of all, let
me tell all of you how much I admire the work
you are doing worldwide. And just three minutes ago, we
were speaking about YouTube, and what an extraordinary way to
reach things like, for example, Shostakovich, which
he now admires, and Liechtenstein,
Mahler, whatever it is. It’s extraordinary. It’s really extraordinary. And what a high level, what a
high level, just to mention. So I think it’s really very
stimulating to be here, and it is for me Micael a
great honor to speak to you. MICAEL CALATRAVA: Mhm. SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: And now
coming back to your question, you see, I was born in Valencia. And I think I was lucky to
be born in circumstances where art was appreciated. So people will tell you
you can be also an artist. And an artist is–
eventually, if you reach the level of
Velasquez or Picasso, is something important. It’s something that– so when
you are a kid, then you– I was sent at eight,
apparently because I was drawing the whole time, to
the school for arts and crafts. It was in the neighborhood. So I could go during two
years, until they moved me to another school. It was very serious,
and very hard, and so I couldn’t dedicate a lot
more of my time to the drawing. Just studying. And then finally I decided
to go back to art school. So I went to Paris,
at l’Ecole de BOZAR. And then what happened is
I chose the wrong year. It was ’68, you know? For many of you– [LAUGHTER] The school was destroyed
when I arrived there. So I went back,
and I started again in that school in Valencia. But I changed my mind. I said, well I am coming out
of six years of mathematics and all these things. So let’s go and choose something
that permits me to draw. And I was already
considering architecture as a very artistic profession. But also, I can go through
mathematics and all of that, so I entered in the Polytechnic
in Valencia, where you also tell me you studied. And then once I
finished at Polytechnic, I was too lazy to
start working, so I decided I should go
and continue studying. So I moved into Switzerland,
with which I was familiar, because my mother sent me very– I think I was 13
years old, to learn French with her family,
originally from Geneva. And so I went to
Zurich without– very limited
knowledge of German. I could say “Guten tag,”
or things like that. And I started the– I entered in the Polytechnic. I studied civil engineering. And after eight years
in the Polytechnic, was for me a
transcendental seven– eight years in the Polytechnic,
I finished with a doctorate. More in a path of
geometries, and so. And then after that,
I started working. This was a little bit of
the background of my career. SPEAKER 1: What was
your first project? SANTIAGO CALATRAVA:
My first project was– so I married when
I was a student. My wife, actually– my
wife studied law in Zurich. And we were both
students that married. And I finished one
year before my wife, and so I opened an
office without work. And the first client
became my colleague. The architect, maybe
they wanted to– they had a balcony
to do, a canopy to do, a bus shelter to
do, and things like that. And I collaborated with
them, given the fact that I was an engineer. And also, I could do–
started doing some design. I went over into
doing the facades of– always with colleagues. So I spent three, four years
working sometimes alone, but mostly with others. Which it was a
good introduction, because I could learn a
lot of the experience. And also, I started
working on subjects that– it was not too big, and
I could manage them. You see? It’s a holistic story you see? Which it is very important. Because finally, I learned
that it is as difficult to design a chair as, say,
it is a very large building. It’s important that the
scale doesn’t play at role, in terms of seeking for
originality, innovation, or perfection. SPEAKER 1: You were
talking about designing. So how is the creative process? Do you start with something
simple, like a sketch? Or do you get your
motivation from YouTube? [LAUGHTER] SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: Yes, yes. Look– you see, I– in this moment, the computer was
already there when I started. And indeed, I worked
once in a project at the school, a research
project, with a machine from a company called Evans &
Sutherland, who still today fly simulators. And it was the first step
in computer-aided design, where you– and it made working
with two other programmers. You see? And then they say, I
want to do a square. And then I could draw
the square in the screen. Then another one,
and extrude it. You see? And then turn it,
and things like that. Very simple things,
until we design– it has done in 3D
without hidden lines. You see? You saw all the lines. And we put the houses of
a village of [INAUDIBLE].. Very simple houses, with a
roof like that, a bell tower. Things like that. It was very interesting. But it was also a very
interesting experience for me because it opened my
mind to the fact what it is from the mind to the paper. And even today, for me, the
most direct way is the hand. So I keep still today sketching
in the beginning of a project. Sketching as I have
done when I was a kid, and sketching as I have done
when I started as an architect and as an engineer. So still today, I think
there is chemistry, you see? There’s internal chemistry
of bringing things just with the– even the force of
the gesture, and all of that. You see? I think it is– so I started,
effectively, with my drawing. SPEAKER 1: We’ve been actually
a couple of minutes talking about the influence
of technology, and the creative process. And you were mentioning
that it’s something that– it will never change. That still, you have
to feel the sounds. How does it sound when
you are in a station, and how does it
sound in the city? So thank you for sharing
fascinating influences. So talking about
the type of designs. Many of your
designs are bridges. No the typical bridge that
we see in the railway, but those beautiful bridges. Like for some, this one. What motivates you
about designing bridges? SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: Yeah. To say it in a
very short manner, historically, if you go to
cities like Paris, London, Rome, or even Valencia, my home,
the town who has five stone bridges, you see bridges
signifying through the history very important buildings. You know? Very important gestures in
the middle of landscapes, in the middle of
cities, and all of that. Then when I came out
of school, bridges were very utilitarian-oriented. Even our information in
the school, very much– let’s say, cost
function-related. And I asked me
why this happened. And I arrived to the
following conclusion. It is that in the post-war
time, after the Second World War, practically all the bridges
in Europe were destroyed. All the important bridges. And they needed to be rebuilt
in a very sharp manner. After that, in the ’50s,
there was an explosion of highways and so
during the ’50s and ’60s, and a whole culture of
very simple bridges. You see? Of supports, beams, supports,
beams, and so and so, without any other care
than bringing cars from one side to
another, bringing people from one side to another. So in this contrast, I tell me,
there is something lost here. It as we will not appreciate,
let’s say, museums, or we will not
appreciate churches, or something like that. So the cathedral
will not be there. Isn’t it? So finally, I started working
with [SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH] which it is this topic of system
arcs, masts, cables, beams, [SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH]
and things like that. Not changing very much
the vocabulary by itself, but just trying to combine those
elements in a way that they can landmark the place. And this was finally
the reason why I started working where I work. SPEAKER 1: Not only bridges,
but also related to public work, you’ve done a lot of
transportation hubs, transport, rail station. What do you think is the
influence of the transportation hubs into a city? CALATRAVA: You
know this is also, as you can imagine, to see
I say I started Switzerland and really leave the
connections even today you see it’s not the time. I’m not, let’s say, very
social related person. I dedicated much of
part of my time to work. And so the only source of work
I got was doing competitions. I have done more than 100. And, I think the last one
was the 145 competition. So competitions are
organized by publications. By private or corporation. Things like that. And so I started getting
involved naturally in thinking about
railway station. So the first major
competition I won was a railway station in Zurich. Stadelhofen. And this introduced me into the
world of public transportation and the public
works, which I think is a very gratifying work
because, as the name state, they are public. They are addressed to everybody. I mean you have a client in
front of you, which it is let’s say the railway authority. But finally, you are working
for an abstract person, which it is let’s
say the community or the city or the travelers. That is the reason why
I am in this field. And I have a link,
important link that I think also it legitimates
a little bit the fact of trying to do something,
special for everybody. It legitimate the word. SPEAKER 1: So we’ve been talking
about British transportation hubs as a single
structure into the city, but you’ve done also urban
redevelopment projects. Like, for example,
the one in Valencia where you have to not only
think about the structure but what do you
want to have around like all of those buildings. How do you want the people to
have the experience around all of the city. But what’s your vision
and your goal with all of these type of projects? SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: Well, let’s
take the parade of Valencia. You see a city art project SPEAKER 1: I am
used to this project because I used to
walk every day. So I’m really familiar
with that one. SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: You
see what is interesting in a that because there in my
opinion the or original idea was the idea of the
client, the authority who decide to do a cultural project,
cultural oriented project in the poorest are of the city. Really rare. Mostly you will do an opera
in the center of the city. Or you will want a
museum, where they– no, they decide to do that
in the area between the city and the harbor. A kinds of no-man’s land. You see where it was
really very depressed. Believe me, I don’t
want to describe it, but it was also very poor
weighted physically and also from the point of view of the
human relations in these area it was very depressed. So they decide to
initiate, and I went in through a
competition, the idea of doing a city of the art
and communication at the time. It was art. No, no it was a science
and communication. We were the first. But then do you see the
mobile telephones came and telephony cars and
investors stepped back. You see they say we are not more
interested in financing a very tall tower for communication. We wanted to do
was a kind of icon. So we changed that into the
city of the arts and science. And then it became the
tower and the foundations of the tower we built an opera. Who justify this
cantilevering shape because it supported in
the triangle of the tower since the foundation
was already done. So how do you help
to adapt yourself it has to be creative
you know by getting– And the fact is,
you see that what did happen it is in 30 years
time, later than 30 years, the idea changed completely. Completely. I mean not the
character of the area became a very livable area. And then also, let’s say,
travel promoters came, avenues was done. Avenue de la Frampia. Another street. So that today the city is link
with the harbor on this side. There still there
is a lot to do. But it has became a kind of
very important local icon. And regularly the
best compliment I hear about this
is somebody say to me I have a young son,
anytime somebody come from abroad he wants to show
him the City of the Arts and Sciences. And this is what finally
shows you the real reality. It is the new generations, you
know they take it as their own and they are proud about. And this is what you can
achieve by sometime landmarking places you see with, I mean– SPEAKER 1: I have to add
something to this is. It’s actually the first
thing you do in Valencia. Take someone to the Ciudad
de las Artes y las Ciencias. So thank you. Talking about more. This is based in Europe, so
talking about your experience, you have a global experience. But talking about more about
your experience in Middle East. How the hell does it feel
to work in Middle East, and do you have any
particular experience that you would like to share with us? SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: Yes, well
my experience in the Middle East is very much done together
with my son Micael. In this case. I want to say you spoke
about the global experience, and I say before also my
mother send to me when I was 13 going to 14 to
learn French to these family from Geneva. And thinking, if I look
back, this changed my life. So I tired to implement that
also with my own family. So I send my kids
were also abroad. I think it’s I think
he’s allowed to say, if you love your
child, send it away. So they brought, really
they got realist posture. We move from Zurich to
Paris so they were involved, I mean they went there
in the primer school, in the case with Micael. Then I send them to
Windsor in England. Then I send them to Spain. They spent two years in Spain. MICAEL CALATRAVA: But
just to add to that, he sent me away when
I was very young. And then but he was
the one who asked me to come back and join him. And for two months I said no. SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: Then
you see, each one of them you see decide to learn
also in a special language. So the eldest one, when
we saw the movie called The Hunt of the Red October,
and coming out he say me, I would like to learn Russian. So I sent him to Moscow, to
better schools, and so on. In the case of Gabriel,
he wanted to learn Chinese so it was also very young. I sent him to Singapore and
then to Taiwan and then finally, to Beijing. And, in his case, he
say to me, prudently, I want to perfection
the languages I know. So he went to Italy, Sweden. And then when he was 16 MICAEL CALATRAVA: I have
two people leaving me. SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: –
he came to the idea, he said, I would
like to learn Arabic. And then I say– SPEAKER 1: That
was the only left. Someone told you
Russian and Chinese. They already know
English and Spanish. SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: So I sent
or he was sended to Kuwait, to the Spanish ambassador. Because I didn’t even–
no, first to Syria. To their house of
a doctor who study with my brother in the
medicine faculty in Valencia. We was good related to him. And then he went to Kuwait, to
Qatar, to Dubai, and also going to [INAUDIBLE]. So he was familiar. And I think that
is very important. He was familiar
with these parties. Once I got involved in the
project of the Doha Bay Crossing, I thought
Micael could help. Me I ask him and he
say what he says. Before he was working in the
finance He studied engineering. And study after that and make an
MBA and was working in finance. And he say no. And then after a while, I
convince him to join me. And he moves to Qatar,
open an office there. And he is now in this
part of the world in Dubai with an office. Also since 6 and
1/2, almost 7 years. SPEAKER 1: How do you coordinate
the projects with Michael? Do you argue from
time to time or no? SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: No,
you know what did happen, Micael, let’s say he is here. base is completely autonomous. And which it is, I mean
it’s completely autonomous. He does whatever he want. He hires the persons he wants. He organize the office
in his own manner. And indeed I am following him. It’s he who tell me
what I have to do, which is very comfortable,
I have to say. SPEAKER 1: Talking about
the projects in Italy, so we mentioned at the
beginning the Dubai Creek Tower. And as well the of
pavilion of the Expo 2020 could you please,
maybe you Micael, give us more details
about the pavilion or from where did you
get inspiration from and how the pavilion is going
to be used after the Expo 2020? A lot of questions
in one by the way. MICAEL CALATRAVA: Sure. Maybe he could speak about the
design first and the influence, but from the brief,
the pavilion being a pavilion, one of the things
that we wanted to reflect was the country and the
people of the country. And what you’ll
notice in the picture is there are many roads
leading to the pavilion. And we wanted to
make that reflective of this country, especially
with the likes of Emirates DXB. It’s one of the largest
transportation and transit hubs. So for us, it was
important to reflect these qualities of the country
in the pavilion itself. So you can approach the country,
so that you can approach the pavilion from 360 degrees. Yes, there is a main entrance. You know a ceremonial entrance. But the way you will see the
pavilion, no matter from where you come you will be able to
enter and access the pavilion and be taken by underneath
the wings and guided forward. Naturally during the
expo entrance egress, the entrance needs to
be somewhat controlled. But otherwise the idea is to
have a very fluid building. Maybe he could speak
a bit more about. The influence SANTIAGO CALATRAVA:
Well, you can imagine it’s a
great honor for all of us working in the pavilion
to do this particular project. And why, because the
United Arab Emirates are hosting the
World Fair, and we are doing their nation opera. Now, you see the idea, sometimes
it’s good if you jump back, you see, into the past. To understand what means
these region today. And eventually many of you is
familiar with a place called Petra. Petra is world famous It;s
an extraordinary place. You can go and
find architecture. But also studying, there
was an enormous city. It was an enormous city. Very wealthy, very prosperous. It was in the crossing
point of many caravans, you know coming from
East from West and so, and a very important commercial
hub and cultural hub. In surrounded by
the Roman Empire. I mean, it’s a
little bit in a way, this is what Dubai is today. You understand you have
Russia, you have China, you have India, the United
States, you have Europe. And here is this tiny place. Who is showing to the
world that you can do astounding art things isn’t it? We want also to
deliver this feeling. It’s not, we are not
looking back as much as we are looking forward. You understand? We are doing something, you
saw before the roof move. Open. They are solar energy cover. You understand. Very, very progressive. And on the others
side, built here. With local technologies. Include the carbon
fiber fabricated here and also the steel is
also fabricated here. We are working with local
contractors which it is very– So I mean, in a
way you see this is interesting to think on Petra. You know just because I
admire it enormous much. Is somehow one of
those places where I think is up most
once in a life to go there and see
the extraordinary how they could do in these
special enclaves, you know. This extraordinary
culture and those, these fantastic buildings. And I think the phenomena
is repeated here in a way just over
1,900, 1,800 years later. You have one of the points of
the culture and civilization to date here, you see in the
crossroads, also flyways. In this case how
important of the world. See so is very, it’s
very interesting and very stimulating looking
it from this perspective. Who, In my opinion,
gives you a sense of these extraordinary
phenomena. Which it is Dubai
and the United Arab Emirates in the world today. SPEAKER 1: How would
you like this building to be used after the Expo 2020? Like, for example, if you
think about the Eiffel Tower was built for one of the expos. How do you think this building
is going to be used after? SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: Well,
the Eiffel Tower pass back and forward, you
know the example? Because in this case you
see what then happens is certainly you see because,
as Micael described, it’s a very open building, isn’t it? It’s very– so, finally
you see interior, it will be easy to
transform the use, isn’t it? In, eventually, I do not know. The client really decide it. It’s also very neutral building. It’s not a building you see with
a lot of partition and a very, you understand,
this is very open. You know there are three levels. There is a central
element inside. We see a kind of core. So it follows archetypical,
so-called archetypical shape. It’s very important, you see. And the speed of the progress
with the architecture moves very often through very
clear and precise scheme, you see. Called archetypical scheme. You can see that in the
mosques, you see, for example. If you look at how important
it is in Istanbul, for example. Hagia Sophia. Always a Christian temple. You see towards the
rest of the mosque done by these extraordinary
architects. You see the Blue Mosque. There Suleiman Mosque
and all of that who follow almost the
same archetypical plan. Or you see it also– I mean just to open
your mind about that. And the speed of the
progress, architecture has patterns of behavior
who are very simple. Do you understand ? So happens also by
the railway station. They follow the
pattern of the tracks. You see. And each one of
them is different. Although the program, you
see, is practically the same. Because they are
archetypical elements. And in this case, we
chose a very simple. It;s a very, a building who
is completely open in all directions. I mean completely
accessible, accessibility. And then has internal a very
clear and simple structure. MICAEL CALATRAVA: I think
also one thing to point out, the client, the National Media
Council and the general body of the UAE, have
gone to great lengths to ensure the continuity
of the buildings themselves and also the Expo has
gone to great lengths. So there are intended future
uses for the building, be they exhibition
halls et cetera. And we’ve dealt–
one of the things that we did a lot
with the client was really understand
how to convert this building from its
expo use to the future use. There’s one thing that has been
at the forefront of the design of the interiors of
the building in order to ensure the continuity
of the building. SPEAKER 1: Focusing more in the
Dubai Creek Tower, the tallest building in the world
again, from where did you get the inspiration
from this tower and what’s the
vision of the client? MICAEL CALATRAVA: Can
I just say something? SPEAKER 1: You can add– MICAEL CALATRAVA: It
is planned to be– well, it’s planned to be taller
than the current record holder. I think saying it’s the tallest
building in the world– we’ll see when we get there. Yes, it’s going to be
taller than Burj Khalifa. That’s what we can say. One has be very specific
with the wording. SPEAKER 1: We will have a
nice view from Burj Khalifa. We will change the
words in the future, but now it’s meant
to be the tallest. MICAEL CALATRAVA: Sure. I just don’t want to get into. Trouble. SPEAKER 1: It;s been recorded. So whatever we want to
change we can do it later. So from where did you get the
inspiration of this tower? SANTIAGO CALATRAVA:
Well, you see, I mean there are two aspects
of the inspiration. One is, let’s say, they
built to our fact of doing an extraordinary building. The inspiration came
from the client. SPEAKER 1: I have a question. It was actually– SANTIAGO CALATRAVA:
And the client was asking for a very special
and extraordinary work in the brief we received. Even all the people competing
in it was called by the client. And we had had conversation
with him on the phone. And I remember the
enormous enthusiasm that they head of
Emaar, Mr. Alabbar, was putting in his work. Was the idea of doing an
extraordinary building, let’s say to overcome barriers
and frontiers in order to do an icon a new icon
for Dubai who is already landmarked by Burj Khalifa in
such an extraordinary manner. See the silhouette
of Burj Khalifa is, I mean it’s unmistakable. And what– so that
saying you know there are a lot of the
language that we are using here comes from the
experience in bridges. If you look, some
of my bridges you know they have masts, some
of them they have cables. And so I thought the easiest
way using modern technology to achieve the height. we could maybe try to achieve
is buy using pure ingenuity technology. So is, like you mentioned
before la Tour Eiffel. Tour Eiffel is also a
pure engineering thought. It’s responding to the forces
coming out of the wind. So the wind is
pushing and then you get so-called bending
moments, you see. And the bending moments
are growing exponentially towards the bases. And because that the
bases also became larger. So yes it is a very simple
but very significant idea who is also very natural. It’s also like the
bases of a tree. You see is also
wides and powerful. And then it goes thinner
and thinner going up. And the same thing
happens also in our tower. The only thing it is in order
to spread those forces very far apart, we use cables. And this is a little bit
the resonment, it’s not. But I underline so much the
enthusiasms of my client. Because I believe there is not
a great building in the world without a great client. Where ever. Because you see–
that I mean in a way the rule of an
architect that is also I want to just make you see I
see in my own work a little bit like following
the so-called, you see signs you do you can
go so high in the level, I want also to rise
up that as much as I can the level of
these conversations. It is the Socratic method. And Socrates used to
say, I do like my mother. The mother of Socrates
was called Sophrona and she was a midwife. So she help kids
come to the world. So indeed, pregnant with a
project is somebody else. And the only thing you can do
is help him so that this really becomes a reality. You understand? So it’s very important
to get vibration coming out of the person who
is getting to you or the place where the thing, where this
thing needs to be done. So to build in
Dubai is not a joke, because we are confronted
to the other icons here. Do you understand? To build here and to be here
as an architect or an engineer is a real challenge. You understand? You can do that very easy. But if you really
take that challenge, I tell you is one of the most
challenging places in the world today. To do something. Just because you are
confronted to those facts we see of our time. And so finally, I think
all of this conjunction we came up with this project. SPEAKER 1: You were
mentioning the challenge. Is this one of
the most challenge buildings of this kind
you have ever done? SANTIAGO CALATRAVA:
Maybe you can. MICAEL CALATRAVA: From an
engineering perspective, it’s quite interesting dealing
with a daily kind of problems that we’re facing. When you go tall, we haven’t
invented tall buildings, and surely somebody
will go taller one day. But what’s very important is
to note that from a challenge perspective, we’re
taking everything to the extreme of what
is currently available. And we’re challenging
the industry as much as the industry
is challenging us. What’s interesting is every
day normal issues get amplified to the extreme in our building. And either it’s really useful or
really harmful, or not harmful but works against you. For example, earthquake loads. We’re in a semi
seismic area here. And the earthquake
vibrations have not so much of an impact to our building
because our normal frequencies of our building are very
different to the frequencies of the earthquakes. So much shallower buildings have
a greater, suffer more greatly than we do in our buildings. So we can count
that as a benefit. However, as you go up, the
wind loads become exaggerated. See in the horizontal structure
you are fighting directly against gravity. Bridges. Because gravity
has to put it down. In vertical structures,
you’re mostly fighting against wind loads. And so we find that our
wind load calculations when we were doing,
because we have to follow codes and regulations. And at some point some
codes stop and then they just start extrapolating. They’re like, well for
this height this applies. So you just go higher and
you apply the same line. So we ended up applying
at the top of our tower, we ended up applying wind loads
that have never been recorded ever in the world anywhere. So how do we design for this? And also things like elevators. You think of an elevator
having been this safe elevator having been invented
by Otis et cetera. We now are in the
issue of the cable that carries the cab doesn’t
just weigh once, twice, or three times as
heavy, it’s not just as heavy as the cab itself. We’re dealing with cables are
20 times as heavy as the cab. And the length at which we are
and the sway of the building causes, if you
calculate it, the cable to hit the side of
the elevator shaft. Either damaging the shaft
or damaging the cable. So as you push these things
to 0 their maximum nowadays, you encounter things
that you would think are just rudimentary. Let’s install an elevator. Let’s install cables. All those simple things
that we take for granted start becoming issues. So those are the
interesting parts. So we’re dealing
with the industry and coming up with new ways
and interacting with them and how to solve these problems. SPEAKER 1: Related
to those buildings, as you mentioned
before it requires the use of modern technology. How do you keep up
with advancements in new technologies
and new materials? Like now you are
designing something that probably is going to
be finished in X years, how do you keep up with
all of the new materials and new things coming up? MICAEL CALATRAVA: Sure. So there’s two aspects to this. Number one is what is able to be
sourced and delivered locally. And we have a grand
benefit of in the UAE there being not just a
wealth of materials and a high quality of materials. For example, in our
pavilion the carbon fiber that we’re using for the roof
is sourced across the street from the expo site. And one of the
first things we do is figure out what
basic technologies, i.e. concrete steel, what
is available locally, what is the construction
industry most comfortable with. And so when we
found out there was carbon fiber in plenty and
at an extremely high quality across the street, we
changed most of the design in order to fit that. From a high technology
perspective, again, the global industry
knows that to work in the UAE is challenging in terms
of technical achievements and technical advancements. So when the individuals, the
contractors, the specialists come to deliver
their product, we’re really dealing with the
absolute best of the best. And we’re able to
source globally those from each individual industry. So our conversation, with the
advancements in technology and the advancements in building
materials, is at the forefront and is a global conversation. And our job is to adapt our
design, adapt our methods, adapt everything
that we do in order to fit the top of that
technology into our building and ensure that we’re
really building the most advanced building we can. So the conversation is two ways. SANTIAGO CALATRAVA:
Maybe I want to add. Because I think the
question is also interesting related to other
Computer science. See they way how the
construction technology moves is a bit different,
although it has whatever step is given as an
enormous transcendence. For example, getting
from cast steel into, or cast iron who
is breakable, you know two more to tile structures
you see like steel, moves into the high scraper. You see it’s not a joke. You understand? you can
immediately go much higher just by this change. Those changes happen let’s
say from time to time. You know he’s like bolting,
screwing or welding. You see. These, you see that eventually
those very, very extreme situations you see
much more today in the aerospatial industry
or in the military industry let’s say. You understand. In the construction
industry moves much slower. That is one point. So it means that
that is important. When the people build
Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, you see around
1,700 years ago, it was like sending a
man to Mars today. Do you understand what I mean? There was really,
the architecture was really in the top of the– and they had done that
in an extraordinary way. Because on the split
of the earthquake Hagia Sophia and the vault.
So the Vault of Sinan. Are still there. Do you understand? So it is interesting
to see that we, I mean we in the
construction industry, we are not in the
point of the evolution. Do you understand what I mean? They are today other aspects
of the technology who are much more advanced from
which we can eventually take advantage. Do you understand? But it is important
to see it like that. And I think Micael described
it very good because we are not using extraordinary techniques. We are just pushing
the existing technique to a limit where they
had not yet been. In terms of the
length of the cables, the weight, the relation
and the movement. And what it is also interesting
is that those companies who are top companies
worldwide, they are responding very positively. They are enthusiastic to go
towards this new challenge. Which it means we are very
fruitful the field and also that for many companies
they see Dubai is a place to do these kind of things. That is also important MICAEL CALATRAVA: So
there are certain aspects of the building,
the tower that we’ve designed, that if you were
to build it right this second some other solutions
don’t exist yet. They’re still in R&D.
They’re still testing. You also have to
keep in mind that given that we’re moving so
many people, the guarantees and warranties that
need to be in place need to be truly tested. And because we’re dealing with
human beings passing through a building, so we cannot
have any failures. That having been said,
the conversations we’re having with the
industry, and our job, it is to accommodate the
introduction of that technology the second it becomes
available into our building. So what we’re doing is we’re
designing certain elements to be able to accommodate 1,
2 or 3 different iterations of a solution that we need. And so what happens is
that spurs on the industry to really accelerate
their R&D knowing that they have somewhere
to place it immediately once it’s set. So it’s a two way conversation
where we provide the platform and we provide the
platform in such a way where it’s a very
easy integration, and so the conversations
start at the very beginning and are plentiful
and very fruitful. For us to be able to integrate
some of these technologies immediately. SPEAKER 1: Also with the latest
concern about climate change and sustainability,
how do you think architecture is going to help
you set up all of those things into the cities? And especially for
example this building. Do you take into
consideration those themes before designing that? MICAEL CALATRAVA: Yes. So we can speak both about this. There’s a few buildings. The pavilion building
is LEED platinum rated. It’s an extremely
green building. And that was one of the goals
that was set from the onset by the client. Our job is to take the
green building idea and transform it
into something that is extremely pleasant,
visually stunning, for the visitor
is something that is just breathtaking,
while still being extremely smart on the inside,
being extremely well insulated, and again, using
the latest thermal insulation technologies, using
energy capturing systems. For example, you see the
roof that is all closed now. It opens up to reveal an entire
array of photovoltaic cells. So were incorporate– and
when we have conversations with the industry that
provides photovoltaic cells, we scoured the world to
find the most efficient, the most suitable for the
building, for the environment. So we go through
months of research and conversations with
the specific technological industries to try to see where
we are at in this technology, where are we going to be,
how do we integrate this? So that’s from a
very high level. These buildings that
look the way they do are extremely smart when it
comes to green technologies. We’re trying to– our job as
architecture is in certain ways explain that the
building is green but have it done seamlessly. So when you open
Google or YouTube, you don’t get shown two
hours worth of explanation of how amazing the code is
that is behind the thing. It’s seamless. And the work is tremendous. We try to do the same. That having been said,
there are many instances, especially when you’re
dealing with museums, maybe we can show the
Museum de Amanha in Rio, where we integrate
ecological solutions into the architecture in a way
that is very visible in order to educate people. And those are very
simple aspects. This is what– the pools
around the building here, this is the Bay of Rio de Janeiro. And the pools around the
building pump up water, first, that the electricity is sourced
in order to pump up the water is done with photovoltaic
cells all around and all along the ceiling. And then they pump
up the water and through natural small cascades
that go from pool to pool, the water is cleaned and
filtered in a very natural way by using the sand,
local sand, that makes the bottom of these pools. And then the filtration
system allows for the water that
is pumped up to then be returned to Rio de Janeiro
in a much cleaner fashion. So that is a way that we explain
to the individuals living there that the building is
in self contributing, even if it’s in a small way,
of visually contributing to cleaning the Bay. And so there are
certain aspects, sometimes we just need to hide
the fact that you’re extremely smart, and other times,
or that the building is extremely smart. We just work hard. And other times
show simple steps and really show that the idea of
green buildings, green energy, is something that is
attainable and achievable just by taking very small steps. And not make it
something overwhelming. SPEAKER 1: You want
to add something? SANTIAGO CALATRAVA: Yeah. Just very short. You see just to open your mind
that architecture will remain a creation of the spirit. See that is very important. However, you see,
as an architect you can learn a lot
from the natural. You see you can
learn from the chefs. You can learn from the insects. From the animals. From the trees. From the plants. And this approach you see of
addressing to the natural, you see as you are our
mother and teacher. You see. So I started my doctoral
thesis [SPEAKING SPANISH] It means natural
mother and teacher. You see even you’re
working, you’re doing very geometrical
patterns, you see. But I was relating me
to the crystallography. You understand the
way how crystals. It is I remember that in geology
lectures at the Poly in Zurich you see that the
teachers say, finally, if you look well even mung
is done under a microscope by crystal. So the whole world is a crystal. What a beautiful idea, isn’t it? So the sense of perfection
in mathematic exactitude. So it opens you another
point of view, you see. Often moments of
flourishing architecture has been related to an
enormous flourishing of the exact sciences. You see, for example,
when the Arabs, you know at the caliphate in
Cordoba was in at the highest point when they built
this extraordinary mosque with a big bar with the
dome of the big bar, extraordinary works who has been
influencing during centuries so that architects, there was the
time of a guy called Algorithma and the invention of algebra. You understand the discovering
of the sufferia the zero. You understand. And I think it was an
almost revolutionary changes in mathematics, you know. Euclides, they
make from geometry you know the basis of
all their buildings. You know thinking that
the geometry is a link [SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH] I know
there was also how religious guides, you know was really a
relation between our existing universe and a celestial idea. You know that the
idea of a heaven. The same thing happens also
in the middle of the Baroque, you know, where you
have Borromini, Bernini. both extraordinary,
Balthasar, Mendoza, extraordinary architect. You know Newton was working
and discovering, together with Leibniz also the
integral calculation. You know and then Leonhard
Euler and [INAUDIBLE].. I mean you see is often we
have to see those things going hand-in-hand. Although very far
apart, you see. And architecture has been from
the beginning very attractive in both sense. For example, for those who
love the ancient architecture, whenever you go to see the
Parthenon in the Acropolis in Athens, you have to see
they had three authors. An extraordinary
client Pericles. You see but the authors was
Iktinos was the architect. Phidias was the sculptor. And Callicractes was
the mathematician. Put all the dimensions,
orders and all that is really extraordinary. You have to see that
in a certain point, in a certain moment
architecture was really, like I say before, like
today you know space science, things like that,
you know, they permit demands see in every
day, the every day to find that connection to the. Cosmos And you see maybe if I
permit me to say something, I tried once in my
life to do that. And it was in Ground Zero. I build at the PATH station. Now the PATH station has a gap. It’s 80 meters wide. Now this gap opens
and the sun enters it. And it makes a way in
the center of the hall. You understand? Is by gaze we could tilt it. You see we calculate
the angle and so on. And tilt it a little bit. It doesn’t follow the
grid of Manhattan. You see. And it tilts it and you’ll see
there is in a certain point this strip of light enters
and in a moment, exact moment, goes through the center. Now it happens twice a
year the 29th of March and the 11th of
September at 9:29. Which it is the moment in which
the second tower collapse. So the building can
embody in a silent way the memory of the fact. And all those things
can be architecture. You know it’s very important
for me to open your mind. More from your way, you
know, the exact science of the computer and to
see and from now one to read the buildings
in another way, you see, or try to read them. Because it mesh with
the question of ecology. Architecture will remain
always an artificial fact. A pure creation of
the human spirit. But you can learn a
lot about natural. This is, in my opinion,
the future will go very much in that direction. SPEAKER 1: Thank you
very much thank you.

5 comments on “Santiago Calatrava & Micael Calatrava: “Lead Architect & Lead Engineer of […]” | Talks at Google

  1. Maybe now is time for expensiv small hous with Google interijer equipment and super video surveillance outside the facillity.There are no pools outside but recycled water into a lake park,than equipment to use water in save from case of fire. Lots of plants around.Not big thres. It is ecological, save house for biznis people.Small place for every day life or vikend time.Google vilage.

  2. I don't give 2 shits about these guys, que me mame la verga. I want to know what's going to happen to the Lawsuits against Google that are going on Recovery proceedings. Have a "Talks at Google" about that! LOL.

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