World Trade Center Transportation Hub
New York, NY, USA
Santiago Calatrava Architects and Engineers
Downtown Design Partnership (1. Architect of Record and Engineer of Record)
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Alan Karchmer Allan Crow
Calatrava's first major design decision for the WTC Transportation Hub was to conceive the building at grade, the 'Oculus', as a free standing structure and situate it along the southern edge of Daniel Libeskind's 'Wedge of Light' plaza. This treatment of the site creates a kind of pause amid the dense commercial towers and links the procession of green spaces extending from City Hall Park to the churchyard of St. Paul's, through the WTC Transportation Hub plaza to the gardens of the Memorial and Battery Park along the Hudson. The 'Oculus' is comprised of steel ribs and glass arrayed in a large elliptical shape. The ribs extend to create two canopies over the north and south portions of the plaza.
In January 2004, Santiago Calatrava unveiled his design for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub: a new, permanent facility for Lower Manhattan, located immediately to the east of the original World Trade Center Twin Towers. The project replaces the original Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) rail system that was destroyed on September 11, 2001. In addition to serving the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) commuter trains, the building also connects to New York City subway trains (1, A, C and R lines); to provide seamless, indoor pedestrian access to Brookfield Place, towers 1, 2, 3 and 4, as well as the new Fulton Street Transit Center; and creates an inspiring, light-filled public gathering place.
The rafters spring from two 350 ft arches flanking the project's central axis. Between the arches, a 330 ft operable skylight frames a slice of the New York sky, and opens on temperate days as well as annually on September 11. Although suggestive of motifs from many traditions, the form may be summed up by the image of a bird released from a child's hands. This Oculus allows natural daylight to flood into the WTC Transportation Hub; filtering down through all levels eventually to the PATH train platform, approximately 60 ft below the street. At night, the illuminated building will serve as a lantern in its neighborhood. Santiago Calatrava speaks of light as a structural element in the WTC Transportation Hub, saying that the building is supported by 'columns of light.' Access into the building is provided from Church and Greenwich Streets through the east and west arch abutments of the Oculus. Entry stair landings cantilever over the large below grade piazza called the Transit Hall. Escalators, elevators and stairs provide access to the upper and lower retail concourse levels. The combination of natural light and sculptural form give dignity and beauty to the building’s lower levels and pedestrian walkways, and provide New York City with a kind of public space it has not previously enjoyed.