Port Authority officials are currently working on repairing the damaged Oculus skylight at the Santiago Calatrava-designed World Trade Center Transportation Hub. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have already spent at least $50,000 on waterproofing the $3.9 billion dollar Manhattan transit hub's glass ceiling, according to The Wall Street Journal, and are expected to spend another $200,000 on repairs. The skylight consists of dozens of glass panels that run the 355-foot length of the Oculus's spine and are powered by a mechanical system with 130 motors that move each of the panels in sync, rather than as two static hemispheres. Officials believe that the retractable skylight began leaking on to the marble concourse in 2018 after a rubber seal that spanned the length of the roof ripped due to a system malfunction. As the software failed to work, workers were forced to repeatedly start and stop the program to get the skylight to open and close. Despite sealing the ring around the skylight with water-resistant tape, the agency expects to spend more on sealing the skylight with an actual waterproof membrane instead of a stopgap. The feature is designed to open each year during the September 11 commemoration, envisioned by Calatrava as a symbol of a dove being released from a child’s hand. The architect's initial proposal required that the entire roof pivot open but that idea was nixed after the building's soaring budget doubled from the initial $2 billion dollar estimate. One Port Authority spokesman said last Thursday that the agency is conducting an engineering analysis on how to permanently repair the skylight. “While that analysis is ongoing, we are taking prudent steps to better protect the skylight with a more durable barrier system,” he said. City officials had anticipated the skylight would be able to open for the 2019 memorial, however, it remained closed for the first time since the building opened in 2016.
Posts tagged with "Oculus":
Three years after the opening of the $3.9 billion, Santiago Calatrava–designed World Trade Center Transportation Hub, the complex’s crown jewel, the Oculus, is still leaking. According to the Wall Street Journal, the rubber seals around the Oculus’s 355-foot-long skylight, which is designed to open and close every year in remembrance of September 11, tore after the 2018 opening. In response, the Port Authority has used $30,000 worth of the infomercial-infamous Flex Tape to stem the leaks. Rather than the $32 million skylight splitting down the middle into two hemispheres, each of the skylight’s 40 panels uses its own motor and moves individually, in sync, to open. Or, that’s how it’s supposed to work; Port Authority spokesman Ben Branham told the WSJ that the software controlling each panel failed during an August 2018 test run and repeatedly rebooted. The same thing happened on September 11 of that year, and workers were forced to repeatedly start and stop the program to get the skylight to open and close. Port Authority officials first noticed the leak in November of last year, and reportedly patched the broken seals with Flex Tape soon after. However, the skylight began leaking again May 5. The Port Authority was unable to provide a cost estimate for the skylight’s repair but noted that it would replace the seals over the summer. This is far from the first time the partially-underground shopping center has battled with water intrusion. In 2017, rain and construction runoff from the adjacent 3 World Trade made its way into the complex, and in early 2018, buckets were placed below the skylight to catch errant leaks.
The Port Authority declines to celebrate the grand opening of the world's most expensive train station
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has declined to celebrate the March grand opening of the Santiago Calatrava–designed World Trade Transportation Hub. Why is the agency snubbing its own baby? Because it's monstrously over-budget. The $4 billion taxpayer-financed project cost $1.8 billion more than expected, and construction extended years over schedule. These issues have dogged Calatrava personally and professionally, and cast a shadow on his otherwise bright reputation. Pat Foye, the Port Authority's executive director, told POLITICO New York that the project's been a fiscal fiasco from the start: “Since I arrived here, I have been troubled with the huge cost of the Hub at a time of limited resources for infrastructure so I’m passing on the [now-cancelled opening] event.” The Hub is expected to serve 100,000 daily passengers, far fewer than the Port Authority Bus Terminal (230,000), Grand Central (750,000), and Penn Station (906,708). In a follow up statement, Foye was unequivocal about what New York's newest piece of public infrastructure represents to him: “The thing is a symbol of excess.” In an interview with AN last year, Calatrava delineated the project's design goals and ethos behind the Hub:
I tried from the very beginning to do that whole network of connections extending from the oculus as a single unit. So the character of the structural members you can see with the ribs, and a certain character in the paving, and a certain character in the front of the shops is already delivering a character that a person will see all the way through. So if you are in the oculus or the mezzanine, or in the other corridors to Liberty Street or the other internal streets towards Liberty Plaza, or towards Wall Street or towards Fulton, all these areas are marked with the same character. My goal is to create a space where as soon as I arrive in the transportation hub I know I am in the transportation hub, no matter what corner I enter from. Also, something that the corridor delivers is a sense of quality of spaces. I have built seven of the major transportation hubs in Europe, in Lisbon, in Lyon, in Zurich, in Italy, and so on. Getting out of this experience, it’s very important to create places of quality, because people behave according to that. You see after all the enormous effort to bring all the subways and the trains to this place and see to maintain the service through all the construction—why shouldn’t these places have a certain material and structural quality that you can enjoy in a day-to-day way, not just commuters but visitors who arrive in this place. I think the station will match with the tradition in New York of great infrastructural works, as you see today in Grand Central and in the former Penn Station. If it had not been demolished it would be recognized as one of the greatest stations worldwide. I hope people can see some of these material qualities in the East/West corridor.On the eve of the opening, New York architecture critics are divided on the aesthetic and functional value of the Hub. AN toured the Hub this afternoon, so check back here for our assessment. In the meantime, picture Calatrava riding a Zamboni, polishing the smooth white Italian marble floors world's most expensive train station.
Tonight, Monday, November 9, at New York's AIANY/Center for Architecture, AN Senior Editor Matt Shaw will be moderating a book talk between Janette Kim and Erik Carver, the authors of The Underdome Guide to Energy Reform, a new book released by Princeton Architectural Press. Stop by at 6:00p.m. tonight for light refreshments and beautiful drawings alongside a discussion about the future of ecologically minded architecture and urbanism. The Underdome Guide to Energy Reform is equal parts architect's handbook and toolbox for effecting environmental change with the built environment. The book maps different approaches to energy management and performance to examine their implications for collective life. Underdome catalogs a spectrum of positions argued for by a diverse cast including economists, environmentalists, community advocates, political scientists, and designers. In turn, it highlights in architecture questions of professional agency, the contemporary city, and collective priorities in the face of uncertain energy futures. Check it out on our events page here.
Amidst cost overruns and delays, the Santiago Calatrava–designed Oculus, the visual centerpiece of the $3.7 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub, has encountered another setback: leaky ceilings. According to the Port Authority, the water comes from the construction of Tower 3 and building crews spraying concrete as they break it up, to reduce dust. The spindly Oculus is a public event space that connects commuters with PATH trains and the subway. The main space is surrounded by two levels of restaurants and retail totaling 635,000 square feet. More than 100 high profile tenants, including Apple, Michael Kors, and Daniel Boulud, have leased space in the building. Barring additional delay, the project should open in the first half of 2016. Though Calatrava bristles when the media points out this project's shortcoming, the architect has had a strong year overall: last month, he was awarded the 2015 European Prize for Architecture. The awards ceremony, coincidentally, will take place at the World Trade Center on November 17. Attendees should bring ponchos, just in case.
This Boston architecture firm believes virtual reality could create a revolution in architectural rendering and model making
Showing off buildings may be a task that is no longer constrained to simple two dimensional paper or the slick rendering. Virtual Reality is quickly approaching mainstream and architecture firm Tsoi/Kobus & Associates is already taking advantage of the emerging technology. The Cambridge, MA–based practice is implementing software used by virtual reality games to place clients into computer generated 3D renderings in order to deliver a more immersive feel of what the future space might look like. In practice, clients can walk round virtual buildings using Revizto, a cloud system, which architects can invite their clients to use. The experience is made possible thanks to a pair of Oculus virtual reality goggles which allow the user to interact with his or her virtual surroundings in real time as well as providing a first-person view.
"All of this can be done before a contract for a building is even awarded and could eliminate the need for creating life-size physical mock-ups out of plywood—making the whole process much more efficient," the Boston Globe's Katie Johnston wrote about the still-in-development concept. One would have to speculate, however, on how much time it would take to fully mock-up a CG building compared to making a 3D model or rendering. It's likely only a matter of time before new architectural rendering software that speeds up the process catches up with the technology. Luis Cetrangolo, the architect responsible for implementing the idea, told Johnston that the experience could become dizzying after about five minutes, and so far only one client has been subjected to the software.