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Thread: WTC Transit Hub - by Santiago Calatrava

  1. #3751


    I agree. If it were more seamless then it would have fared better.

  2. #3752

  3. #3753


    When are they supposed to be closing down the temporary access?

  4. #3754
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    New York City


    probaby around the same time as the second avenue line opens downtown

  5. #3755


    New York Daily News
    March 12, 2016

    A love letter to the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub: It soars and inspires


    View Gallery

    Not every place needs to be, or should be, utilitarian. (SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES)

    With the opening of the aptly named Oculus, the spiky centerpiece of the PATH World Trade Center Transportation Hub, criticism has rained down on the redevelopment of downtown Manhattan.

    I enthusiastically dissent.

    New Yorkers now have a new way of looking at the entire site — as well as the controversy and billions of dollars it took to create it — and can see that it is a place both of great height and of great heart.

    While the colossal Trade Center towers are visible from great distances, architect Santiago Calatrava scaled the Oculus to human beings. The train station acts as a viewfinder, reframing the surrounding structures and casting them in a new light.

    Just stand on Church Street and look west. The station joins an immense cabinet of curiosities along the east-west axis — the 9/11 Memorial with its leafy green canopy, the jaunty Pavilion, the glittering base of One World Trade Center and, further west, the Winter Garden — that contrasts with the corporate grid of nearly 11 million square feet of commercial space above them.

    The ensemble is singular, the only place in the world that does double duty as a commemorative precinct and an office complex. That it emerged from a morass of red tape, intense scrutiny, cost overruns and the tightest security measures ever implemented makes it more extraordinary still.

    A lot of ink has been spilled on the total cost: about $15 billion, money that many believe should have spent elsewhere. The budget crept skyward, subject to the rising costs of materials and labor, security enhancements and the need to complete the memorial by the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

    But the push and pull of multiple public and private agendas yielded better buildings than a lesser struggle would have, and provided the psychological means of reconciling the losses suffered there. Opinions were voiced, fantastical ideas were proposed, lengthy debates raged. In other words, democracy ensued.

    Progress at the site was uniquely bound and slowed by this preponderance of good will, a smothering of noble intentions that caused as many problems as the more tangible factors of time and money. Yet it was the only way we could get here.

    The Trade Center site’s three towers, soon to be four, stand perfectly groomed in bespoke corporate suits that cloak their audacious structural innovations. They will still look fresh in 20 years, unlike other buildings, more precocious, that will age quickly.

    The exception is the exuberant Oculus. It takes the form of an arched bridge, its two parallel arches reaching up 160 feet to a skylight that runs its length. Dramatic steel rafters cantilever out from the arches and extend to their full wingspread of 140 feet. With its lofty ceiling and sunlit marbles, the interior is a secular cathedral of sorts, a luminous space that will elevate the daily commute for thousands.

    But its unruly silhouette, its steel structure exposed, also reframes understanding of the minimalistic skyscrapers that surround it. Those tall sentinels guard what's at their feet — people and buildings alike — and intimate what is felt but unseen: grief, but also soaring hope.

    The initial opening of the Oculus was regrettably a muted affair. The Port Authority should indulge in justifiable pride. While it has made mistakes, it has also pulled off a miracle downtown. The exposed steel of the Oculus echoes the Trade Center’s metaphoric steel — the many individuals who gave it their all for the past 15 years.

    Given the challenges, it’s a miracle that anything was built, but it was because so many people cared so much.

    Despite Manhattan Island’s finite acreage and demand-driven market, the city needs buildings that make you stop in awe and reflect on what human beings are capable of. Not everything has to be utilitarian, or should be.

    As architect Philip Johnson once told me, “Nobody ever asks what the Statue of Liberty cost.”

    Dupré is author of the forthcoming book “One World Trade Center: Biography of the Building.”

    © Copyright 2016 All rights reserved.

  6. #3756
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002


    I had a precious hour free last Thursday morning, and I chose to spend it checking out the latest additions to the downtown transit world - the new WTC Station's Oculus and the Fulton Street Transit Center. A beautiful day as I emerged from the Chambers Street Station, my unreliable (but indestructible) Olympus TG2 camera in hand - blue sky and the rising sun caught perfectly by the WTC's glass as I walked into the main entrance of the WTC PATH Station

    Of course walking into the main entrance there is no way to get to the Oculus. From what I can tell there are only two ways in - from an understated connector from WTC 4, and a circuitous route through the grand hallway from WTC 1. The WTC 1 connector is still stunning to walk through, even though it isn't fully finished and I've walked through before. From there you have to go upstairs, double back on the second level overlooking the main walkway, through a warren of construction corridors, and finally to a an entrance hall from which a gleaming white room can be seen in the distance - so bright and white you could be walking up onto the ice at a major arena on hockey night.

    My anticipation hit its peak as I mounted the steps. A cathedral seemed like a more apt comparison as The Oculus opened up around me as I rose up the steps

    That was pretty much the peak of the visit. Standing in the middle of what is essentially a corridor connecting PATH to WTC 4, with sterile walls, a bright white floor, and a ceiling whose ribs could be mistaken for the undulations of an inflatable roof at a glance... the skating arena comparison seemed apt.

    The true nature of the ceiling is more apparent when you look not straight up - but to the sides - through the glass on the east you can see the rising WTC 3, and to the west - Stern's masterpiece at 99 Church

    I lingered for a moment before stepping into the corridor leading to WTC 4 - looking back through the Oculus, WTC 1 rose like a ghostly tower.

    Its hard to judge the new station when it is in just its preliminary opening stages - construction walls still up and no reason to linger. But I fear the critics are right - Grand Central Terminal's central waiting room is fed by all sides by ramps, elevators, stairs, and corridors. What feeds into this? From what I can see... nothing... and no amount of architecture can fix a design problem like that. I hope my fears are overblown - and the stunning experiences that Calatrava got right - the magnificent hallway to WTC 1 and the grand entrance stairway into the Oculus, are duplicated as more of the station opens.

    I have no reason to ride on PATH, but I plan on visiting the Oculus again - this time at the magic hour - when the sun is low, the shadows long, and the sky lit by streamers of pink clouds. For a space so open to the light, it could be transformative. I hope.

  7. #3757


    Good pictures! I think the 1WTC corridor is almost finished, but apparently a media wall is being installed.

  8. #3758
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Jersey City


    Excellent pictures indeed! Any word on when the WTC Hub will connect to Fulton Street Transit Center?

  9. #3759
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Broomfield, CO


    The connection isn't quite so direct. You end up dumped out on the downtown R (Brooklyn bound, at this point) platform. You'd then go down a level to the Dey street passage that would connect you to the larger portion of the FSTC.

  10. #3760
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002


    Amusingly, the best map I can find of the planned connection (Doesn't seem to be open - at least, I couldn't find it from the WTC/PATH side) is right here on Wirednewyork if you try googling for a map

  11. #3761

  12. #3762


    The Nation
    April 6, 2016

    The Cathedral at Ground Zero

    Understanding the prosody of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub’s construction also requires an accounting of its extravagance.

    By Michael Sorkin

     The World Trade Center Transportation Hub, designed by Santiago Calatrava, January 19, 2016. (AP)

    Proportion—the relationship of parts to wholes—only makes architectural sense when it’s joined to scale, the actual dimension of things. For millennia, from Vitruvius to Leonardo to Le Corbusier, an idealized body has been used to make this connection. Hence the commonplace phrase “human scale,” merging aesthetic and practical desires. These are clearly revealed in forms and feelings at the extremity, like the half-height floor in Being John Malkovich, too tiny to stand up in, or Albert Speer’s Volkshalle, big enough to hold an army and generate its own weather.

     That the sweet spot in human scale isn’t fixed suggests that spaces have to be socially and psychically proportionate, whether to conduce feelings of cozy domesticity or to induce shock and awe. The churches built by the conquistadors were meant to dazzle the natives into docility, much as the great European cathedrals embodied the mightiness of the divinity and the smallness of its subjects, dwarfed by vaulted ceilings reaching to the heavens. This capability isn’t always negative; it can also celebrate and inspire with grandeur, loftiness, and numinous space without end. Chartres is indisputably fabulous, and without it culture would be bereft. But while it may be wonderful as an architectural absolute—much as the pyramids were to their age or the interstates to our own—a Gothic cathedral’s utility is limited by its relative unsuitability for secular purposes. We would not instinctively think to build one for, shall we say, the entrance to a local stop on the IRT. Or would we?

    In Flaubert’s Dictionary of Received Ideas, the entry for “railway stations” states: “Always go into ecstasies about them: cite them as models of architecture.” With the completion of Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus—that remarkable creature at the World Trade Center that’s effectively an entrance pavilion for the PATH train to New Jersey and several subway lines—the utility/expression chestnut is set for a thorough roasting. Finally open after a decade of construction and the expenditure of nearly $4 billion (including $655 million for “administrative costs”), the Oculus is at once incredible and infuriating. It’s a black hole for bucks, a stunningly autonomous monument, and a medium of creative displacement—a vortex that has absorbed the imaginative energy that might have been expended on its surroundings (the vanishing Ground Zero arts center or those mediocre office towers) or elsewhere (a new Penn Station and Port Authority Bus Terminal, the renovation of who knows how many subway platforms, or the desperately needed renewal of the system’s creaky, century-old technical infrastructure and frail capacity). The Oculus struggles to symbolize both the purity of its strictly artistic utility (which is to say, its lordly functional superfluity) and something more ineffable still.

    Calatrava has produced a building that is singular but not recondite, a train station and a cathedral. It’s a glistening white steel rib cage, 160 feet high and 392 feet long, enclosing a nave-like space with a volume greater than Grand Central Terminal’s main concourse and a distinctive surmounting crown. Dense rows of vertical ribs alternate with lofty glass to envelop the great room and then turn outward to become gigantic spikes— pituitary versions of those radiating from the Statue of Liberty’s crown—that sprout from the building like enormous porcupine quills or the bones of a pterodactyl’s wings. The mixed metaphor—it’s a bird! It’s a plane! A phoenix! A stegosaurus!—speaks to the irresistibly biomorphic character of the building and its formal originality. It is a real rara avis, albeit one with a strong family resemblance to other members of the Calatrava bestiary.

     The Oculus sits at a canny remove from scenes of both spirituality and mass movement, at once neutralizing and absorbing their purposiveness. The 9/11 memorial pits and a new Greek Orthodox church (also designed by Calatrava) are not simply across or down the street but inaccessible from within its gleaming lantern. This arm’s-length distance makes the Oculus’s spirituality pagan: It occupies the space initially meant to have been evanescently illuminated by Daniel Libeskind’s “Wedge of Light,” a marker of time offered as an equivalent to Abu Simbel or Stonehenge, but trivialized by the banality of the erstwhile framing and enabling office-tower architecture that limned its solar slot. Likewise, the Oculus isn’t exactly a train station, but rather a centroid that organizes pathways to a series of more autonomous stations at varying distances and relations—a distributed aggregation of tracks that may rival Penn Station’s but, individually, are miniatures in relation to the huge space. Much of the power of the Oculus comes from this disproportion: the enormous and beautiful uncolumned space that shelters the little stairways down to the PATH’s five tracks, with the Broadway local crossing overhead in a massive tube supported by monster trusses.

    * * *

    Let’s set aside the build-one-battleship-or-10,000-schools argument that’s been at the heart of virtually everything written about the structure to date: That argument is both conclusive and concluded. Instead, let’s consider the poetics of the Oculus’s assembly and tectonics. I really like the big beast as both object and space, and already feel sad about its imminent squishing between the two crappy towers that will flank it. If only it could just walk—or fly—away! Indeed, Calatrava had originally wanted its wings to flap, and I sympathize with his disappointment that this motility was value-engineered into stasis.

     Calatrava is both beloved and reviled for the anatomical literalism of so much of his work: the balance, joinery, rigidity, and rhythm of the skeletal. Because the Oculus is so expressively “ornamental”—larded with flourishes, enormous and otherwise, that do nothing but please the eye—it fudges the boundary between architecture and sculpture, prompting some of the same questions raised by that high priest of art-world avoirdupois, Richard Serra. Serra’s work demands to be seen as more than merely sculptural in its modulations of space and passage, and derives much of its power from the threateningly massive heft of all that Cor-Ten steel. As with the Calatrava, much of the impact of Serra’s sculpture has to do with the chest-thumping weight of those Torqued Ellipses and precariously leaning, dangerous walls. But Calatrava and Serra riff differently on functionalism’s asymptotic parsimony: With pieces like Tilted Arc, Serra goes for the massively minimal, whereas Calatrava madly multiplies structural members and coyly conceals and reveals which ones are actually bearing the load.

    The very careful—even maniacal—engineering of Calatrava’s designs suggests a crucial difference from Gothic cathedrals. Although they frequently collapsed during, and after, their construction, those churches were far and away the most structurally advanced architecture conceived for a period of close to two millennia, right out there at the edge of the possible. Their height, span, complexity, and lightness were amazing and—given the pure seat-of-the-pants, trial-and-error structural calculation involved—astonishingly daring. Despite its visual and spatial affinities, the Oculus is very different. Calatrava, who trained as both an architect and an engineer, has always stressed the expressive import of structure, most famously in his often magical bridges and stations, works that embody engineering’s highest technical, economic, and artistic aspiration: elegance.

    Still, this bird’s a turkey—so expensive, heavy, and dense with structure, and so willing to blur the line between the functional and the decorative, that understanding the prosody of its construction also requires an accounting of its extravagance. The design isn’t simply highly conservative in terms of its relationship to risk (balancing risk and means is the key dialectic of structural performance); it is also flagrantly, expressively profligate in its conservation of materials, an inescapable responsibility in any 21st-century construction. According to Calatrava’s firm, the amount of steel used weighs in at an astonishing 15,250 tons. (For comparison’s sake, a “mere” 50,000 were used to build 1 World Trade Center, the continent’s tallest building.) The distinguished structural engineer Guy Nordenson argues that this gives the Oculus what may effectively be the largest carbon footprint, per unit volume, of any building on the planet. And Donald and Bernie, take note: All that steel comes from Europe!

     But let us assume for the moment that there is some virtue in extravagance, and that the Oculus has redeemed the artistic potential squandered at Ground Zero. Let’s further assert that vast expenditure on public works is the hallmark of a great civilization, that the game is not zero-sum—i.e., the savings realized by removing a quill or two would not be applied to a housing project in Brooklyn—and that the thing can be judged artistically sui generis. Still, the time and expense laid out do count in that critical calculus; after all those years and cash, the thing should be close to perfect. Here arrive my reservations: I find the Oculus tremendous and beautiful, but not quite right. I am disturbed that, about two-thirds of the way out on the rows of quills, there’s a steel tube that joins them all together, a stiffener and a spacer. Really? Tens of millions spent on that imported steel and those ribs can’t fly solo? And what about the funky fireproofing that kills the precise angularity of the metal beneath? Or the inaccessible beams and crannies that are sure to turn the now-pristine thing into a permanent museum of dust?

    As structure, the Oculus is made like a bridge—even though it doesn’t function as one—and perforce becomes a slightly i*ronic reflection on the techniques of bridge-building. Each of the long sides holds a structural arch, and the huge ribs that appear to support these arches lean in to provide a hybrid of walls and roof before taking, as they pass the line of the arch, a dramatic outward turn to form those sideways-soaring wings or quills—a pure, flamboyant, “superfluous” ornamental expression, despite weighing thousands of structurally challenging tons. However, although the arches are symmetrical, the quills are not: Each side is different, reversing the pattern of the other. This eccentric loading and the variable length of the ribs as they rise to meet the curve of the arches mean that much computer power has been spent on the design of the hidden base: an oval ring embedded at grade that acts as the bottom chord of a giant Vierendeel truss that stiffens those walls against the wind and for self-support.

    * * *

    The most self-consciously witty aspect of the structure is the continuous, operable glass skylight that runs the length of the building’s ridge line, forming a gap between the two arches (for my money, this should have been left unglazed, like the eponymous oculus in the Pantheon in Rome). These are actually joined, and carried, only at their ends, where they land on massive buttressing knuckles, the push-me/pull-you beastie heads through whose mouths the building is entered at street level. The long sky-lit slit defies the visually induced expectation that the ribs are holding things up and that the two long sides of the building should thus be joined together across this seam to form a series of A-frames—a very sturdy and conventional configuration that would be made stronger still if the arches were linking the row of frames together. The absence of this joinery reveals that the arches really are bearing the load that one assumes is being carried by the ribs. One imagines, too, that the ribs and flying quills are in near equipoise, relieving the expected rotational stress on the ring-base caused by those long cantilevers. Calatrava gives plenty of further hints about the limited role of the ribs by not bringing them down to the lowest level of the building and instead bending them into a rhythmic filigree, a curlicue caesura that seems barely connected to the walls! Here Calatrava plays cheerfully with the line between the fussy and the butch, deliberately marking his system as very different from the compressive clarity of a cathedral’s buttresses, which bulk up progressively as they head earthward and plunge resolutely into the supporting ground.

     The Oculus is further distinguished from Chartres by its organization of movement. The main circulatory action in a cathedral is singularly directional: enter at the back of the nave, move toward the altar, pray, reverse. There’s generally a secondary route around the perimeter—lined with shrines, confessionals, fonts, chapels—that can be accessed without traversing the main axis (an array prosaically repeated in the Oculus with a two-tiered ring of shops). Whereas cathedrals—*towers and crypts notwithstanding—are invariably slightly elevated continuations of the ground plane, the primary grade of the Oculus is two levels below the street. The privileged movement plane is subterranean, and the Oculus functions diagrammatically as the head of an octopus, with tentacular extensions radiating to four transit nodes (including the much more concentrated nexus at Fulton Street, its own ambitious dome made ever so sad by the drama down the block) and to the lobbies of surrounding buildings, often over fairly long distances. And unlike a cathedral, for which the ground is a single plane, the multiple levels of this space are inelegantly joined by a plethora of escalators and stairs that look seriously underscaled. This is nowhere more unsatisfying than at the ends of the nave, where entries from ground level lead to klutzy cantilevered escalators that, switching back and forth, are more tease than celebration of the glorious axial view. Many wedding couples will be photographed on the intermediate landing.

    I admit to being among those who had argued for a no-build solution at Ground Zero, for turning the entire site into a great space of public assembly—a wanton display of democracy’s greatest physical freedom. My concerns about the partition of commerce and commemoration are not relieved, alas, by the final results. However “spiritual” Calatrava’s astounding building may be, thick demising walls separate without acknowledgment the money-changers from the more literally sacred environment of the adjoining temple: the 9/11 memorial and museum. All those glistening Italian-marble corridors that the Oculus organizes are lined with retail, retail, and more retail, their deluxe white in blinding contrast to the memorial’s somber black. Conceptually, the complex is a glorious reinstatement of exactly what existed there before 9/11: an underground shopping mall brought to us by our old friends at the Westfield Corporation. Step aside, Woolworth Building—*this is the true cathedral of commerce!

    And yet… I was able to tour the site a number of times during construction, and the sheer ingenuity of the logistics, as well as the fiendishly complex challenges of dealing with the massive ruin, with trains running across the site without surcease, with an astonishing tangle of infrastructure, with the mammoth 24-hour movement of people and materials, all make this a breathtaking achievement. Perhaps it’s the dedicated workers and engineers—whose labor made this transformation possible, and whose contribution invisibly undergirds all that hypertrophied form rising above the surface—to whom we should truly turn in admiration, gratitude, and celebration.

  13. #3763


    Here's an article that breaks down the costs for the white eleph..., er, stegosaurus.

  14. #3764

  15. #3765


    Commercial Observer
    May 5, 2016

    Westfield Bringing Fashion Pop-Up Market to WTC Oculus



    Targeting professionals as well as tourists, Westfield is bringing a fashion-focused pop-up marketplace to its World Trade Center mall, Commercial Observer has learned. It will be “a curated program designed to complement seasonal and event-related programing within the Oculus,” according to mall marketing materials obtained by Commercial Observer.

    There are 12 pop-up indoor sites earmarked for retail merchandiser units, RMUs, or cart concepts, as per the pop-up information. Plus there are five exterior pop-up locations that are each approximately 48 square feet.

    “Pop-up at Westfield World Trade Center will focus on artisanal, first-to-market and emerging brands, and be comprised of both rotating feature pop-ups as well as longer-term retailers in our pop-up flex units,” Westfield indicates.

    There are apparently two pop-up types: those that are “experiential and transactional open-layout concepts, lasting anywhere from one day to one month,” and what are called “pop-up flex units [which] will be comprised of artisanal and local retailers, with leases longer than one month.”

    Nearby at Brookfield Place, Brookfield Property Partners has included a few retailer pop-ups, like Sugarfina and Burberry (the latter which had a truck in addition to its more permanent store). But the company has a broader interpretation of “pop-up,” according to Michael Goldban, senior vice president of retail leasing at Brookfield.

    “The other component I think we do really well is more of these cultural events, which we view as pop-ups,” he said, “like the America’s Cup [which is coming Downtown this weekend]. It’s one huge brand activation happening here. Our arts and events programs are short-term duration pop-ups.”


    And Brookfield plans to “have this as part of our offering,” at its Manhattan West development. “It will be Brookfield Place 2.0.”

    Pop-ups are “about landlords trying to improve the experience of their projects,” Mr. Goldban said. “In general, it’s just a smart thing to do because it gives the customer more reasons to come to the shopping center.”

    CO reported yesterday about a number of retailers who are heading to Westfield World Trade Center, which spans below grade at four towers at the World Trade Center (although there is some above-grade space in 3 World Trade Center and 4 World Trade Center) and has as its centerpiece the Oculus, the Santiago Calatrava-designed PATH station.

    Meanwhile, The New York Times reported today that Westfield will be hanging a 280-foot-long electronic billboard “along the main wall of an east-west underground gallery” connecting the Oculus to Battery Park City.

    Retail broker Robin Abrams of Lansco, who has not marketed space at Westfield World Trade Center, said of the pop-up marketplace: “I think it is great and becoming the norm to program projects with a pop-up venue to support new ideas [and] retailers. It brings energy to the retail environment and supports the existing retail. Consumers are fickle and are always looking for new brands and new experiences. The pop-up program supplies that.”

    She also noted that “rather than have vacancies, the pop-ups allow developers to have a fully-tenanted center, and to try new concepts or brands that may be successful and transition to long-term tenancy. These programs make it possible for start-up retailers to operate a store with minimal risk, and bring a special and unique tenant mix, that changes on a regular basis.”

    A spokeswoman for Westfield didn’t respond to a request for comment.


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