Santiago Calatrava's designs for DIA take flight

Categories: Architecture

Santiago Calatrava
There's been a lot of talk about whether Denver can afford to build the set of designs by Santiago Calatrava done for the expansion of Denver International Airport. The reason? Times are hard, and the Calatrava pieces are projected to cost around $650 million.

The Spanish-born, New York-based architectural genius has come up with plans for a variety of new structures. There's a stunning -- and signature Calatrava -- gateway-bridge over Pena Boulevard that would carry light-rail trains. Then, at the airport itself, there's a multi-modal transportation station for trains and buses.

That station would be connected to a hotel to be run by Westin, and a convention center (both slated to be done by Gensler, an international architectural firm with an office in Denver).

And finally, there's a sky-plaza that would sensitively connect the proposed new complex with the existing -- and iconic -- tent-roofed Jeppesen Terminal by Denver's Fentress Bradburn Architects.

Expensive? Yes. But after sitting down with Calatrava, who was at the Westin Tabor Center on July 29 to present his plans, my question would be, can the city afford not to build them?

These structures will not only be instant landmarks, they'll be among the finest buildings ever constructed in Colorado. To see what I mean, check out the website and then read my full review of the proposal in the August 5 issue of Westword.

What $650 million will buy: Calatrava's proposed station, hotel and convention center.

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Related Content:
Read Michael's first-ever column about DIA artwork, "Flying Blind: The Art at DIA is Mostly DOA," from March 8, 1995.

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