Calatrava Satolas Reaction Paper

4 April 2017

BOMBONIN REACTION PAPER HSTORY 222 CALATRAVA SATOLAS AIRPORT RAILWAY STATION, LYON CALATRAVA SATOLAS is a structure that serves as a railway station hall and entrance for an existing railway and an airport. The beginning of the movie discussed the life and background of the architect of the structure; ARCHT. Santiago Calatrava. Followed by the conceptualizations of the project . The Lyon-Satolas Station is the terminus for the TGV trains connecting the airport to the city of Lyon, 30 kilometers to the south. The almost forty meter tall steel and concrete structure refers to the metaphor of a enormous bird with spread out wings.

The building’s most striking profile, based on two converging steel arches 120 meters long and 40 meters high. The building is most obviously expressive of a bird, symbolizing flight with even more dynamism than Saarinen’s TWA terminal in New York, the two main arches coming together at the bird’s beak. Calatrava insists this was not its origin: “I never thought of a bird, but more of the research that I am sometimes pretentious enough to call sculpture” – which is inspired more by the shape of the human eye.

Arriving by car you enter the Main Hall through a “Gateway” formed by a concrete V-shaped abutment that join the ends of four steel arches. The center pair of arches follow the line of the roof to form a spine,  the outer curved beams span over two glazed symmetrical concourse wings. The expressiveness of Calatrava’s structure continues inside the building as much as outside. Two concrete ‘tongues’ are cantilevered like the prows of ships over the main concourse. The disappointment is that the energy of the building is not matched by its role as a transport hub.

Catering for only a handful of TGV trains per day, the cavernous concourses spend most of their time looking successfully prestigious but also rather empty and unexploited. The ‘tongues’, for example, would be wondeful cafe spaces, but remain empty decks. At the end of the movie I learned that people could always’s come up with a good idea out of simple things around them just like how Calatrava’s observation of the human eye turned into a real life amazing structure.

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