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Thread: WTC Transit Hub - by Santiago Calatrava

  1. #3436
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tectonic View Post

    WTC PATH half done, unpainted it looks better than that terrible Fulton Street Station cap.

    The more I see this progress the more I cant wait to see it done and roam its chambers/halls!

  2. #3437


    USA Today
    August 24, 2014

    NYC transit hub: Bold statement or boondoggle?

    By Rick Hampson


    The Trade Center Transit Hub takes shape in front of One World Trade Center.

    NEW YORK — The saga of what may be the city's biggest boondoggle, or what could be its greatest public building since Grand Central Terminal, or both, began at a news conference 10 years ago.

    The Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was grasping for words to describe his design for the planned World Trade Center Transit Hub. So he stepped from the podium — "Let me draw what I cannot say'' — and sketched a picture of a girl releasing a bird into flight.

    That image, he said, inspired the shape of the vast, glass-and-steel hall at the heart of a network of subway lines that converge in Lower Manhattan. It would be longer and higher than Grand Central Terminal's hall, and brighter — "a lamp of hope,'' Calatrava said, for a city still shadowed by 9/11.

    "'Wow' is the first word that's just got to come to your mind," said the mayor, Michael Bloomberg. It would be more than a station, said the governor, George Pataki, it would be "a tribute to those we lost on Sept. 11.''

    A decade later, however, the Trade Center Transit Hub has taken twice as much money and time to build as promised. Design changes have made it look more like a stegosaurus than a bird, and it's been vilified by a legion of kibitzers as a political self-indulgence, an architectural ego trip and a money pit — the world's most expensive subway station.

    The Hub's neighbors — the 9/11 Memorial, the 9/11 Museum, the nation's-tallest Freedom Tower (now One World Trade Center) — are finished, despite their travails; the Hub is a year from completion.

    But what's most striking about the Hub is not the fact that it's five years overdue and $2 billion (100%) over budget; that its funds (almost $3 billion of them federal) could have done more to improve mass transit; that its wings have been clipped.

    No, what's really amazing about the project is that even now, under construction, it inspires a feeling that 50 or 100 years from now, Calatrava's creation could indeed be regarded as "more than a station.''


    The 9/11 attacks destroyed the mass transit infrastructure under the Trade Center, which had two subway stations and a PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) terminal with subway service to New Jersey.

    A temporary PATH station opened two years after the attacks; by then, service also had been restored to all city subway stations in the area except Cortlandt Street, directly under the center (which is being reconstructed as part of the Transit Hub).

    Planners had long wanted to improve the connections between the many subway stations in the area, and thus make lower Manhattan — whose commercial cachet waned after Grand Central opened in midtown in 1913 — more accessible and navigable.

    Calatrava was selected as architect of the Transit Hub, which would include not just the transit hall and stations, but a network of underground passageways and a regional shopping mall's worth of retail space. He had designed rail stations in Lisbon, Lyon and Zurich and was a proven crowd-pleaser — the personification of the 21st-century "starchitect.''

    His addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum, featuring a movable, wing-like screen that opens by day and folds over the structure at night, had become a municipal symbol. His Sundial Bridge, a pedestrian span over the Sacramento River in Redding, Calif., became a tourist attraction.

    His design for the Transit Hub was heavy with symbolism. The wings that formed the arched roof could be retracted to open the concourse to the sky on certain occasions, including 9/11. By day, skylights in the 9/11 Memorial plaza would bring natural light to the subterranean station platforms; by night, columns of light from the station would rise into the plaza.

    The Transit Hub was scheduled to open in 2009 and cost what the Daily News called "a whopping" $2 billion. But the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owned the site, was building a monument for the ages.

    "I don't think we can afford not to be grand," said Bloomberg (who as mayor had no direct stake in the project). "What would people say 50, 100 years from now if they look back and thought just because we had a short-term financial problem that we jeopardized our whole future?"

    David Beitler works on rebar just outside the Great Hall.

    Over the next four years, however, almost everything that could go wrong did:

    Security requirements changed. After the Madrid train station bombing in 2004, the Transit Hall was redesigned with more side columns (or ribs), which made it look heavier and less avian. And protuberances designed to "harden'' the two main entrances evoked less a bird's beak than a stegosaurus' head.

    Construction priorities changed. In 2008 political leaders decided that, after years of inactivity, the memorial must be finished by the 10th anniversary of the attacks. So although part of the memorial plaza would sit atop the Hub's PATH station, it would be built first.

    "We had to do top-down construction,'' shrugs Steven Plate, Port Authority construction director, "like building the roof of a house first, then the floors, and the foundation last.'' It was expensive, he says, "but that was the policy decision.''

    The cost changed. Because of the delays, the design changes and the difficulty of constructing an elaborate building on a complex site, the cost gradually escalated from $2 billion at the unveiling to more than $3.9 billion. Meanwhile, the movable roof wings and the memorial plaza skylights were scratched. The mezzanine, a span designed to be free of columns, now had four.

    Critics began to turn on the project. New York Post columnist Steve Cuozzo, an early admirer of Calatrava's design, went from declaring the project "ever more unmoored'' to "a catastrophe.''

    Nicolai Ouroussoff, the New York Times architecture critic from 2004 to 2011, (who in 2005 said the transit hall "may end up as one of the most glorious public spaces in New York'') now described it as "hollow at its core.''

    For these critics, the disparity between the Hub's extravagant design and limited purpose is a pyrrhic victory of form over function.

    For $4 billion, the project provides no new track or station stops. It doesn't even serve that many riders. The PATH terminal's 50,000 daily passengers are fewer than those handled by many city subway stations, and 650,000 fewer than Grand Central's.

    And, unlike most rail station concourses, the Transit Hall is far from the rails. Transit users still must do a lot of walking to reach other stations.

    To make matters worse, part of Calatrava's architectural past has caught up with him.

    Several of his earlier projects have provoked complaints, including a bridge in Bilbao that got so slippery when wet that, after several pedestrians fell, the city laid down rubber mats; a winery roof in the Alava region of Spain that leaked; and an opera house in Calatrava's native Valencia whose skin began to wrinkle in the heat.

    Stephen Jacob Smith, a New York Observer architecture writer, calls Calatrava "the world leader in designing public works projects that cities come to regret.''

    The work of an innovator like Calatrava inevitably is subject to some problems; several Frank Lloyd Wright buildings come to mind. But these woes have made the Hub's seem like part of a pattern.

    Through it all, Calatrava has held his tongue and kept his head down, repeatedly trimming, tucking and revising to fit budget and security requirements, acting less like a self-indulgent artiste than a pliable Hollywood script doctor.

    Still, Calatrava says, "The design is the same — conceptually, visually, ornamentally. The original idea is 100% preserved'' — or improved.

    As for his critics, Calatrava says that until the project is finished, it can't be fairly judged. "Let the design become what it will be. The glass has to be there. The light has to be there.'' Then, he says, it will look like a bird after all.

    The long connector under West Street, connecting the WTC site and Brookfield Place.


    Two reasons why the Transit Hub might redeem itself:

    The past: The soaring, gleaming transit hall may express the recovery from the ashes of 9/11 with more symbolic power than the austere 9/11 Memorial waterfalls next door or the underground 9/11 Museum.

    The future: Posterity tends to discount how much a project cost, how long it took, or how many people were killed building it. Grand Central's beloved terminal alone cost $43 million (roughly $1 billion today), about twice the amount budgeted.

    No one worries about that now. But Grand Central was financed by the Vanderbilts' Grand Central Railroad, not federal taxes or public bridge and tunnel tolls. And it was a real train station, with more than 40 platforms (compared to the PATH terminal's four) and cars with conductors, tickets, and leather seats.

    And it was part of an $80 million project that electrified tracks; depressed and covered them under Park Avenue; and sparked a Midtown real estate boom that saw values double in the decade it took to build it.

    Three miles south and 100 years later, "I have no doubt the Hub can do the same,'' Calatrava says. "It will be a motor for development.''

    As it takes shape, the transit hall is an amazing sight, even if from the street it does resemble a dinosaur more than a dove. Two giant construction cranes stick up from the spine of its hulking skeleton. Sparks from welders' torches shoot out from its ribs.

    Inside, the Transit Hall concourse -- 365 feet long, 65 more than a football field and 90 more than Grand Central – is already one of the city's great spaces.

    To the west, an underground corridor connecting PATH to an office tower complex is long (600 feet), bright (white Italian marble) and pricey (more than $200 million, prompting the critic Smith to dub it "the world's most expensive hallway'').

    The Trade Center's 2003 redevelopment master plan called for a more modest project. "We could have done a glass box,'' Steven Plate admits. "But we took the time to convert something very dark into something very special. Our home was destroyed, our people were lost. We wanted to send a message: 'We're back.' ''

    From the beginning, the Transit Hub was designed for posterity. Ten years and $4 billion later, posterity seems its best hope.

    "This building is dedicated not for us today, but for coming generations,'' Calatrava says.

    "Years from now,'' Plate predicts, "people will ask, 'How did they even do this?' ''

    He can only hope they won't ask, "Why?''

    © 2014 USATODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.

  3. #3438
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    ^ Whatever....

  4. #3439


    Calatrava has made many VE tweeks on the original design repeatedly, in order keep on budget and on time; as well as meeting complex security requirements. He has been an usually accommodating architect: no your typical self-indulgent artisan architectural designer.

    Yet, still - this is all taking quite a bit more time and money than anyone had ever imagined. That being said: I believe the end result will be well worth the effort and expense.

  5. #3440
    Senior Member treebeard's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    38 park row nyc


    It looks like half the spines have been placed: the south side & the north side have met in the middle.

  6. #3441


    If you ever wondered what happened to Gozilla's skeleton...

  7. #3442

  8. #3443
    Forum Veteran Tectonic's Avatar
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    May 2007
    New York City


    Great shots. After it's painted will rust pop up again after a few years?

  9. #3444
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Nairobi Hilton


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	moth.jpg 
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    Calatrava's original inspiration?
    Last edited by stache; September 4th, 2014 at 10:37 AM.

  10. #3445
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
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    Note - a train station in the shape of Mothra would complete me.

  11. #3446
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Nairobi Hilton


    Tectonic, yes, I think so.

  12. #3447


    It'll probably be like any bridge in the city.

    Built 1994. I think repainted once.!2e0

  13. #3448


    Calatrava's real inspiration:

    They should paint it acid green and hot pink.

  14. #3449

  15. #3450
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Complex Design, Political Disputes Send World Trade Center Rail Hub's Cost Soaring

    Project is Eight Years Behind Schedule and At Least $2 Billion Over Budget

    by Eliot Brown
    Sept. 3, 2014

    Work continues on a new station at the redeveloped World Trade Center site in New York City.
    The project is at least $2 billion over budget. Associated Press

    The most expensive train station in the U.S. is taking shape at the site of the former World Trade Center, a majestic marble-and-steel commuter hub that was seen by project boosters as a landmark to American hope and resilience.

    Instead, the terminal connecting New Jersey with downtown Manhattan has turned into a public-works embarrassment. Overtaking the project's emotional resonance is a practical question: How could such a high-profile project fall eight years behind schedule and at least $2 billion over budget?

    An analysis of federal oversight reports viewed by The Wall Street Journal and interviews with current and former officials show a project sunk in a morass of politics and government. Those redesigning the World Trade Center—destroyed by terrorists in 2001—were besieged by demands from various agencies and officials, and "the answer was never, 'No,' " said Christopher Ward, executive director from 2008 to 2011 of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the project's builder.

    Why that happened is more difficult to untangle. The Port Authority, run jointly by the two states, has long been known for political infighting. City, state and federal agencies, as well as real-estate developer Larry Silverstein, also joined in. In public and private clashes, they each pushed to include their own ideas, making the site's design ever more complex, former project officials said.

    These disputes added significant delays and costs to the transit station, which serves as a backbone to the bigger 16-acre redevelopment site, connecting the World Trade Center's four planned office towers, underground retail space and the 9/11 museum, the officials said and oversight reports show.

    When completed in 2015, the station is on track to cost between $3.7 and $4 billion, more than double its original budget of $1.7 billion to $2 billion.

    Top officials at the agency say the project will be a boon for lower Manhattan when it opens, and they are committed to finishing the job. But now that the price tag has run so high, they question whether it should have been scaled back earlier.

    "Did you need to build the $3.7 billion transportation hub to achieve the meaningfulness of the World Trade Center redevelopment?" asked Scott Rechler, vice chairman of the Port Authority since 2011. "In hindsight, I don't know if I would have come to that conclusion."

    The high cost has been attributed by many public officials to its ornate and complex design by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. His plans proved far more difficult to build than anticipated, the Port Authority has said, requiring, for example, the manufacture of enormous steel spans overseas. Even daily maintenance will be costly. A recently opened hallway has white marble floors where workers remove scuff marks with sponges on sticks. Mr. Calatrava, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

    But current and former officials who worked on the project, a terminal for the PATH commuter rail system, said in interviews they believed demands, disagreements and poor coordination among the many parties working on the World Trade Center site spurred hundreds of millions of dollars in overruns.

    Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for example, insisted the memorial plaza be finished by the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The request added more than $100 million to costs and months of delay, said Port Authority officials, because once the plaza was built, a large swath of the underground terminal below the plaza had to be built without use of cranes or other large equipment. Workers had to move materials by hand.

    Marc LaVorgna, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, said completion of the plaza was "extremely important to the 9/11 families, important for the entire city and, frankly, the country," adding the ex-mayor stands by his decision.

    "The fact that the station is a national symbol for government waste has everything to do with its original design and limited purpose," Mr. LaVorgna said.

    Conflicting goals among agencies were a major cause of delays and added costs, an analysis by the Journal of monthly oversight reports by the Federal Transit Administration shows. The agency is funding $2.87 billion of the train station project.

    One dispute, estimated by former Port Authority officials to have added between $300 million and $500 million to the cost, was over the No. 1 subway line, which runs through the site. The Port Authority wanted to build a new line rather than face the engineering complexity of excavating below an operating subway to build the terminal. The plan would have eliminated the final two stops of the No. 1 line during construction.

    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates New York City's subways, argued the plan would cause service complications across the system as well as isolate lower Manhattan.
    George Pataki, then New York's governor, sided with the MTA, a decision he said was critical to the area's revitalization.

    The result was that engineers had to suspend No. 1 tracks on an elaborate scaffolding while workers excavated another four stories below.

    Critics note the under-construction station serves just 35,000 PATH passengers on an average day—less than a fifth that ride out of Pennsylvania Station in midtown Manhattan, and a third of the number who use commuter rails from the city's Grand Central Terminal.

    Early backers of the World Trade Center redevelopment bristle at such criticism, saying all of the project's parts, including the rail terminal, were needed for a first-class facility that would honor 9/11 victims.

    The terminal's delays and cost overruns were "certainly unfortunate," said Mr. Pataki, a driving force in the early years of the World Trade Center redevelopment. "But I think 50 years from now, people are going to say, 'Wow, they did it the right way.'"

    Mr. Pataki, an influential backer of the rail terminal, sought up to $1.7 billion in federal funding in 2003 to rebuild the terminal with a grand design.

    Support for the project outweighed efforts to cut back plans. "Once there was both political and a public embrace of the concept, it became inviolable," said Charles Maikish, who ran the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, which warned of surging costs in 2007. That spring, work slowed in heavy rains because contractors at the site hadn't agreed how to pump out excess water, federal documents show. The MTA and Port Authority declined to comment.

    The train station's budget grew to $3.2 billion by 2008, when the Port Authority acknowledged substantial delays and improved coordination.

    Costs continued to swell, in part because connecting the station with other facilities proved more complex than expected. Disputed costs with neighboring components of the site cost the hub an extra $140 million, federal documents from 2011 show. Port Authority officials say costs have since stabilized.

    The most expensive train station in the U.S. is taking shape beneath Ground Zero,
    including billions in cost overruns. Peter Foley for The Wall Street Journal

    But the overruns have affected commuters and travelers elsewhere, the agency said. Because federal support money has been capped, cost overruns for the rail terminal are paid by the Port Authority.

    The project has contributed to the agency's strained finances, former officials said. Tolls for the agency's bridges and tunnels that connect Manhattan with New Jersey have more than doubled in the past decade. John F. Kennedy International Airport, La Guardia Airport and the Newark airport—also operated by the Port Authority—face budget constraints.

    Port Authority officials acknowledged that the train station has prevented other investments, though they said they were moving forward with such projects such as a new La Guardia terminal as the World Trade Center project winds down.

    "The PATH hub absorbed much of the revenue that should have gone to the airports," said Mitchell Moss, director of New York University's Rudin Center for Transportation. "Airline passengers are subsidizing the infrastructure for New Jersey commuters."

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