Santiago Calatrava to receive the Leonardo da Vinci Lifetime Achievement Award for Design at the Florence Biennale

Josh Niland for Archinect

Santiago Calatrava. Image: © Thomas Hoeffgen

Santiago Calatrava's storied four-decade career in architecture will be honored with the Leonardo da Vinci Lifetime Achievement Award for Design as part of the XIV Florence Biennale, which takes place from October 14–22 this year in the Italian cultural capital.

The Biennale shares: “The prize is the Florence Biennale’s tribute to one of the most influential architects of our times and a recognition of your audacious experimentation, extraordinary talent, and ingenious ability to combine architecture and art in projects imagined and designed in harmony with nature and oriented towards the ideals of beauty.

A 2013 photo of the Calatrava building courtesy Wikimedia Commons user Uriel-carmen

Just like the award’s namesake, Calatrava has leveraged a comprehensive understanding of the principles of engineering to create inspiring pieces of architecture, including Milwaukee's Quadracci Pavilion, California’s Sundial Bridge, and, most recently, the UAE’s Pavilion at EXPO 2020 in Dubai.

Santiago Calatrava's UAE Pavilion at the 2020 Dubai Expo. Image © Palladium Photodesign - Oliver Schuh + Barbara Burg
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine by Santiago Calatrava. Image © Alan Karchmer for Santiago Calatrava

Calatrava, who has won several other awards, including the 2005 AIA Gold Medal and the European Prize for Architecture in 2015, has also enjoyed an illustrious academic career adjacent to the work of his 42-year-old practice, including a permanent guest lecturer positions at the ETH Zurich, Yale School of Architecture, and MIT.

The Oculus. Image courtesy Flickr user Peter Miller (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Examples of Calatrava’s work will also be given dedicated exhibition space inside the Cavaniglia Pavilion. He will also deliver a speech during the award ceremony, which is scheduled for October 19th inside the Spadolini Pavilion of the Fortezza da Basso.

The theme of this year's Biennale is I Am You - Individual and Collective Identities in Contemporary Art and Design. This is now the 14th overall edition of the event.

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