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Bridge Designer Calatrava’s Ballooning Budgets and Costly Mistakes

by Jerome Weeks 25 Sep 2013 8:40 AM

Santiago Calatrava – he of the ‘signature bridges’ Dallas is building across the Trinity – is gaining a poor reputation among some of his clients.


Approved_design_renderingA front-page story today in the New York Times reports that architect Santiago Calatrava — he of the ‘signature bridges’ that Dallas is building across the Trinity — has earned a reputation among a number of his clients for cost overruns and for neglecting to provide things like fire escapes. Reason the Times is interested? Calatrava’s design for the train station at Ground Zero has gone from a budget of $2 billion to $4 billion. And it’s six years behind schedule.

His elegant designs that seem to suggest rocket trajectories and whirling wings have plenty of fans and defenders. And as Calatrava himself points out in the article, some clients have been so pleased, they’ve come back to him. What clients does he specify?

Well, Dallas, for one. Back in January, the City Council voted to increase the budget of our second Calatrava bridge – the Margaret McDermott span that will be part of I-30 (above) — from $74 million to $102.9 million. The Trinity Trust Foundation kicked in $5 million as well. But there’s been no word on the third bridge that was promised …