West Side Stories: Part Two

Calatrava’s Dallas roots date back to 1999 with SMU commission

In honor of the opening festivities surrounding the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, SMU Meadows brings you this five-part Web series exploring our connections with architect Santiago Calatrava, the new bridge and West Dallas. Stay tuned for a new story every day this week, leading up to opening celebrations on the bridge March 2-4. The bridge will open to vehicular traffic in late March or early April 2012.

Read Part One: Art Burst event and "Bridged" art exhibit celebrate opening of Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

This weekend, Dallas will celebrate the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge with a concert by Lyle Lovett, fireworks, a Trinity River Levee Run, street fair and much more. Dallasites will marvel at the stunning, 40-story-tall steel bridge that spans the Trinity River, connecting downtown Dallas to West Dallas, designed by internationally renowned Spanish artist, architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava.

But the bridge won’t be the first Calatrava installation in Dallas.

That honor belongs to SMU, which commissioned Calatrava in 1999 to design a spectacular sculpture for its new Meadows Museum.

The result of that commission is “Wave,” a 26-by-48-foot kinetic sculpture placed prominently at the entrance of SMU’s Meadows Museum. “Wave” features 129 large, symmetrical bronze bars smoothly bowing and lifting above a 40-by-90-foot reflecting pool. It is one of the first things visitors see when they arrive on campus.

The perpetually moving sculpture is the first large-scale work by Calatrava to be permanently installed in the United States.

The relationship between SMU and Calatrava has continued over the years. In 2000, Calatrava was named the recipient of an Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. He returned to SMU in 2001 when his work was featured in the Meadows Museum exhibition “Poetics of Movement: The Architecture of Santiago Calatrava.” In 2005, Calatrava gave the 90th SMU Commencement address; at that time, SMU honored him with the presentation of an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree.

Calatrava was also featured in a 2009 Meadows Museum exhibition, “Santiago Calatrava: The Making of Wave.”

He returns to Dallas in early March in honor of the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge festivities and for a special exhibition at the Meadows Museum, “Calatrava and SMU: A Decade in Motion,” March 4-April 22, 2012.

The Meadows Museum is the only Dallas-Fort Worth museum that includes Calatrava works in its permanent collection. Besides “Wave,” the Meadows collection includes sculptures “Palme” (1998) and “Il Dente” (1999), which will be part of the “Calatrava and SMU” exhibition as well. In addition, the exhibition will include a selection of sketches made by Calatrava in a set of architecture books he donated to the museum. The rarely exhibited sketches feature images of figures, doves and bulls.

The Rosine Foundation Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas, through the generosity of Mary Anne and Richard Cree of Dallas, provided $1.5 million for construction and maintenance of Calatrava’s “Wave.” Mrs. Cree established The Rosine Foundation Fund to honor the memory of her mother, Rosine S. Sammons. The Meadows Museum Plaza and Sculpture Garden includes a terrace overlooking “Wave” donated by Richard K. and Gwen S. Irwin in honor of his parents, William and Florence Irwin.

More information:

West Side Stories: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five