Die Reisen des Santiago Calatrava

By Christoph Schaub

Die Reisen des Santiago Calatrava

Numerous themes coalesce in this sophisticated study of engineer and architect Santiago Calatrava. The film follows Calatrava as he travels between building sites, client meetings, and his offices in Zurich, Paris and Valencia, revealing his design process in various stages from conception to construction. Instead of a frantic perfectionist, we find a man of passionate serenity in perpetual motion, calmly bringing to life the dramatic visions that he is recognized for around the world. His fascination with the forms of nature and the human body, combined with a deep concern for public space are complemented in the film by images of raw nature and sequences of users moving through his complex buildings. The film reveals a passionate and articulate artist, who integrates sculpture, engineering and architecture, at an unparalleled scale.

We watch as watercolour sketches come to life at his private office in Paris, beautiful renderings that are the genesis of his work that he and his colleagues ceaselessly develop. Whether dealing with resistant clients, contractors well-behind schedule, or discussing materials with his team, Calatrava appears as a refined and unstoppable force of nature. Accompanied to a pulsating soundtrack of modern composers, the film interconnects continuously changing perspectives of Calatravas work, presented as a majestic collision of forces.

Die Reisen des Santiago Calatrava


Introductory film: Les dites Cariatides
By Agnès Varda

Inventory by Varda of the women in stone, who support, naked, the doors and balconies of Paris. Female statues, human colonnades, the caryatids of Paris.

The So-called Caryatids
France 1984, 13min.
French. Subtitles: English
Screenplay: Charles Baudelaire (poems), Agnès Varda
Cinematography: Cyril Lathus
Sound: Michel Commo
Editing: Hélène Wolf
Production: Bertrand Gauthier, Agnès Varda, Teri Wehn-Damisch for Ciné Tamaris, TF1

  Santiago Calatrava's Travels
Switzerland 1999, 80min. 35mm
German, French, Spanish. Subtitles: English

Screenplay: Christoph Schaub, Martin Witz
Cinematography: Matthias Kälin
Sound: Martin Witz, Lukas Piccolin, Dieter Meyer
Editing: Fee Liechti
Production: T&C Film
Distribution: T&C Edition

Christoph Schaub was born in Zurich in 1958. Schaub is one of the leading documentary filmmakers in the field of architecture films. Films like Bird's nest – Herzog & de Meuron in China (2008) are highly acclaimed by critics. He was a member of Videoladen Zurich and contributed to founding Dschoint Ventschr AG. As a freelance lecturer he worked at the Higher Institute of Design and at F+F, Zurich and acted as an artistic director of the ONOMA exhibition EXPO 2002.