Architect Santiago Calatrava loves New York: “This is one of the great qualities that the city has; it welcomes you and it makes you part of it.”
Calatrava adds that this feeling often comes over you quickly.
“After a while, a very short while, sometimes maybe just a half an hour, you feel really, ‘This is my city,’ indeed I love this city.”
Santiago Calatrava began life in Valencia, Spain. A student of both engineering and architecture, he has designs that can be found across the globe. In a few years he will add another accomplishment to his already impressive list. When speaking with Calatrava, his excitement over this project is obvious. After all, this building will rise in his beloved, adopted, home of New York City.
“This enormous battle of bringing to a reality and to fruition this project [at] Ground Zero, we are enormously proud, we think it is an historical opportunity,” Calatrava said.
He is talking about the World Trade Center Transit Hub, designed to depict a bird taking flight. Calatrava has a grand vision for how this building will be seen by those who pass through it.
“Well you see although it’s a building, it’s a functional building; I would like the people to experience the place as a piece of art,” he said.
It may sound fanciful. It’s just a train station. But for Calatrava, places like train stations are more than just buildings. They are where we spend our lives, or a significant part of them. As a result they become part of our lives, and their design and appearance, when executed well, make our lives better.
Calatrava wants commuters and others to enjoy the spaces he helps create. His hope is to create a place you might pause to admire, if briefly, as you move through your life. By way of example, he references a building familiar to millions, one that also happens to be in New York City, just a short ride from the World Trade Center.
“You see stations keep us maybe five minutes, ten minutes of our day? Very important, very important,” Calatrava said. “Somebody who enters Grand Central, I think in a way you feel dignified, you feel dignified you see. What a beautiful space.”
As he sees it, the elegant design of a space like Grand Central Terminal is a reminder to all who use it that they matter.
“This is part of the sequence of my day you know, and going from my home into my work I pass through, go back to my home, I pass through again. So the dignity of this space is telling you, you are an important fellow you know, we like you," Calatrava said.
Calatrava’s station won’t open until 2014, but he sees the wait and frustration as worthwhile because the challenge is what makes reaching one’s goal rewarding.
“That [is] the positive part of the life, and the belief in democracy and in justice and especially belief in the next generations,” he said. “You see in the future the fellows who are now kids and will inherit this station as we inherit Grand Central, they can be proud of us and proud of the city.”
To see the latest segment in the Rise of Freedom series, tune into Fox Report with Shepard Smith, tonight at 7 p.m. ET. You can also catch up on all our segments and see exclusive extras with Santiago Calatrava by going to www.foxnews.com/freedom. You can also visit www.calatrava.com to see more of the architect's work. To learn even more about the work and progress at the new WTC you can visit these sites: www.wtc.com, www.panynj.gov/wtcprogress and www.national911memorial.org.
Martin Hinton is Executive Producer with Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @MartinFHinton.