Santiago Calatrava Resigns from Denver Airport Project

Just two years ago it was announced that architect Santiago Calatrava had signed on to help design major new additions for Denver’s airport, an estimated $650 million project that would include “a commuter-rail station, a public plaza that links with the existing terminal, and a 500-room Westin hotel.” Things seemed to be moving along swimmingly with the South Terminal Redevelopment Program, when the first renderings and even an animation of the project were released in July of last year. However, at some point between then and last week, the relationship between the developers and Calatrava have broken down, with the architect announcing that he is leaving the project for good. Claiming that cutbacks, such as the budget being trimmed back by $150 million, have jeopardized the original vision, the architect decided to walk away. However, the Denver Post reports that the airport will continue to move forward with Calatrava’s original design plans, something the he sounds okay with at the moment, though the paper reports that the initial contract for the project stipulates that the design and intellectual property rights belong solely to Calatrava and his firm, which might create something of a hurdle down the line as construction continues to move forward without him. Here’s a bit:

From our perspective as the design professionals, the project still lacks sufficient funding, particularly dollars for the hard-cost components of the project,” Robertina Calatrava said in the letter. “It continues to set an unrealistic schedule with little or no room to develop and consolidate the design in keeping with the standards and quality of a Calatrava signature design.”

With this exit, the Denver Post further writes that Denver residents are now worried that the city might be developing something of a reputation as being unfriendly to hot shot starchitects. Sure, they’ll always have Daniel Libeskind‘s Denver Art Museum and David Adjaye‘s Museum of Contemporary Art, but with Steven Holl calling it quits on the 2006 Justice Center project and now Calatrava’s exit, some are worried that a “stay out of Denver if you want to see a building through to the end” precedent might be developing.