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.
Posts tagged with "World Trade Center Transit Hub":
Seen staff mopping inside the World Trade Transportation Hub recently? No, they're not mopping up vomit from puking patrons sick at the sight of the Oculus' horrific detailing. No, no, they're mopping up puddles from leaks. In May, rain resulted in water drizzling down to elevators and balconies in both wings of the Oculus. At $4 billion, the transportation hub's leaks may even be more costly than the Russian kind the U.S. is currently more accustomed to experiencing. In early May, officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (the agency that owns the transit hub) blamed construction work going on at the adjacent 3 World Trade Center. At the time, legislators did call for an investigation into the issue as well. That didn't appear to do much, though. Perhaps, one supposes, the investigation slipped on some marble as the agency in a prepared statement on Friday, May 26, denied that the Oculus was indeed leaking at all. "There were no leaks in the Oculus this week," spokesman Steve Coleman said, despite a reporter witnessing the leaks with their own eyes. "We soak it up and drain it. It’s a lot of work. It’s nonstop," an Oculus mopper told the New York Post recently. "People do have accidents. Like the last rainy day, somebody almost broke their neck here on the marble,” the maintenance worker continued. The victim in question, a woman, was apparently walking down a set of stairs when she slipped on a puddle. "They slipped and they really hurt themselves because, you know, these are marble floors." Construction workers adding the final touches to Santiago Calatrava's billion dollar transit and retail behemoth have said building work was rushed. "Everything is not done so you’ve have to come back and do it,” Shawn Cumberbatch also told the New York Post as he was caulking an unsealed seam in the main room. "They just wasted a lot of cash over here. This should have been done. If they just took their time and got it right the first time, we wouldn’t have this problem." In April this year, two men sustained injuries after an escalator malfunctioned. Earlier in the year, a woman was killed in February when she fell off an escalator after reaching too far for her hat.
Today two men took an express ride to the hospital after sustaining injuries on an escalator at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. DNAinfo reported that the escalator near the Greenwich Street entrance malfunctioned this morning as the two men were onboard. The pair met an ambulance outside that whisked them off to New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital for evaluation. The incident is the second this year that have sent emergency crews to the mall and transit hub in Lower Manhattan. In February, a woman was killed when she fell off an escalator in Santiago Calatrava's creation after reaching too far for her hat.
Tomorrow, Apple will open their newest stores inside Santiago Calatrava's World Trade Center hub. Currently only Apple employees and construction staff are allowed inside the premises but The Architect's Newspaper (AN) was able to get a sneak peak. The store was designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson's San Francisco office. The firm is also behind the Palo Alto (Stanford) Apple Store, as well as six New York City locations: Upper West Side, Fifth Avenue, Soho, West 14th, Upper East Side, and the newest Williamsburg store in Brooklyn. With regards to their Midtown glass box design unveiled in 2006, the cubic creation spurred hysteria among Apple fans and the media, though the furore surrounding their latest Apple outlet has been slightly more subdued. For two years it's been confirmed this Apple Store would be part of the Westfield shopping complex; it will join eight other official Apple Stores across the five boroughs. The closest will be in Soho, a mere one-and-a-half miles away on 103 Prince Street. While Bohlin Cywinski Jackson doesn't specialize in retail design, the firm has established a pedigree of producing a minimalist aesthetic synonymous with Apple Stores across the globe. Here in Calatrava's all-white $4 billion “Oculus”—seemingly taylor-made for an Apple store location—the firm has not bucked this trend. Employing a glass wall that spans the store's frontage, the transparent entrance emulates their two previous designs for Apple outlets in the city. The result is, as always, a light and apparently spacious interior. Two large screens displaying products are placed at either end of the store, while Apple's typical wooden furnishings fill the open space. To the far left, a staircase can be seen heading to a floor above, however as of yet, there are no clues as to where this leads. For now, those dying to know will just have to wait until 12:00 p.m. tomorrow when the store officially opens.
On March 3, Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub opened with much anticipation and mixed reviews. AN reached out to New York’s architects, designers, and engineers to hear their thoughts on the structure. “Gliding through the bleached and sanitized carcass of Santiago Calatrava’s new transit hub is an uncanny experience. Its gleaming white halls are luxury conduits connecting the PATH and subways to several key consumption-and-speculation nodes of Lower Manhattan: The offices of Condé Nast, the WTC observatory at One World Trade Center, the shops at Brookfield Place, and a new shopping center in Calatrava’s above-ground “Oculus.” All of this is held up by rough-surfaced, exposed, bone-like structural supports. In other words, it is a cross between an Apple Store and the Dinosaur Hall at the Museum of Natural History. A generous observer of the space might imagine that the hub’s skeletal uncanniness has a critical quality, that it might lay bare the surrealism of inequality in today’s Manhattan; that even our most fervently styled immersions in consumption, connectivity, and convenience can’t forestall death in the form of slow digestion by an alien animal. (We could even imagine this as the inverse of what once happened at the site: Before the first World Trade Center was built, the district housed the meat and vegetable vendors of the Washington Market. We digested them, now they digest us?) I suspect that might be too generous though. You would have to set aside the pretentiousness and poor scale of the Oculus above ground. And then there’s the unavoidable symbolic misfire of such casual and surreal reminders of death on a site of recent carnage. Perhaps this might have made a decent upgrade for Penn Station (and its slimness could work on that site, wedged on a closed 33rd Street). But, at the site of the former WTC, the symbolism of a skeletal building is astoundingly off. Nonetheless it is difficult to discount the power of being in such a clean, well-lit transit space. For a moment I felt I was in Europe, in a place where infrastructure is taken seriously, and where public spaces receive real architectural attention. What if a New York subway platform had even a fifth of the gleam as the Hub’s PATH platform? What if the state funds directed to the Port Authority for this project had gone to the MTA instead? The hub’s [two billion] cost overruns may have scared off public officials who might otherwise push for bold architectural approaches to public space. But how could the Hub’s gleaming corridors make us hungry for more sophisticated infrastructural architecture? What if this was just one of many redesigned and renewed public spaces in New York, serving not just as bait for corporations and tourist attractions, but for all of us?” — Meredith TenHoor, associate professor of architecture, Pratt Institute “Though a favorite animal has always been the porcupine Though Jersey residents deserve a ceremonial Manhattan welcome Though prayers go up every trip through 1909 trans-Hudson tubes Though grateful that Rockefeller threw the PATH train a bone in exchange for building World Trade When we see people squeeze themselves on the escalator shelf Public space built to deny its public Like hired help at someone else’s white party Making way before incessant marble sweeping and recorded announcements: “Escalators are for passengers only, always hold children by the hand” Or maybe communal residents in St. Petersburg palaces You have easy targets for dismissing architecture’s potential for the universe Multibillion architectural Leviathans on Ground Zero stage Quasi-public funds spent quasi- democratically At least Calatrava’s dove got away” — Hector Design Service “Writing about Calatrava’s WTC PATH station as though it is new is odd. It is certainly not new to anyone who has lived or worked in lower Manhattan over the past four years. Point of fact: The spiky terminal is actually starting to feel familiar. When it was new to the block, the protruding ribs were steel gray and the multiple welded seams were easily visible to the naked eye. Now it’s white and seamless. We are getting used to its strangeness, a familiar fate for lengthy projects—culture changes faster than the construction schedule of an iconic public work. This familiar view aligns with the fact that the public’s experience of most iconic structures is focused on the outside. Here, the outside is the inside and there is a betting chance that the inside will exceed the impact of its exterior form.” — Claire Weisz, architect, WXY “No wound can be healed by a sugarcoated monument to excess that is disconnected from the trains below and pretends to fly. It is embarrassed by the intestinal complexity of our infrastructure and our lives, thinking of New York as a World’s Fair. The pain of losing the twins is only magnified. Yet this is not simply a big mistake by a big name in a big town. The mistake was the idea of inviting such a designer to this site, the idea that we need to be distracted, and the misdiagnosis that we needed an overwhelming visual anesthetic.” — Mark Wigley, professor, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation “Most of today’s criticism regarding the very large budget of the World Trade Center PATH station is intrinsically related to 9/11, local political problems, and Hurricane Sandy. We can’t blame Santiago Calatrava for any of these events, but some of his design choices seem out of place. He demanded column-free spaces and well-crafted steel parts, which, while they did impact the budget, resulted in favor of a better public space. How the large interior will be used is not yet known, but its iconic value, as well as unique character will be cherished by New Yorkers soon. The fact that a third of the steel had to be manufactured in Italy simply shows us that North America’s construction industry is embarrassingly far behind technologically. However, Calatrava should have reconsidered the design of the Transit Hub after he knew that his operable roof would not be feasible. This is not the first time an architect or engineer has encountered such a situation and good designers ought to be nimble enough to alter the narrative or design strategy of a project when value engineering becomes a new reality. The visual metaphor of a pigeon taking off may well have significant symbolic value for the site, but once the kinetic aspect of the project disappears, one is reminded of Icarus and his unfortunate predicament. The cantilevering steel members appear far more gratuitous now that the structure is arrested in a non-dynamic state. There is no question that New York gained a high-end transportation terminal next to one of its most important memorials and is ready for increasing numbers of commuters to and from New Jersey. Whether its commuters really needed to be bathed in marble remains to be answered. It was an expensive endeavor with a complex history, but it also yielded an amazing new public space for the city.” — Duks Koschitz, associate professor of architecture, Pratt Institute “It’s a great space for future fascist rallies. I envision the room filled with dupes raising their right hands. Yet the aspiration to elevate the public sphere, elsewhere missing, is also here. Some might say, “The space is a little too slick for Trump I’m afraid.” But you could easily chintz it up with some gold leaf and little-fingered slogans.” — Stephen Zacks, urban critic and journalist
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.
Tuesday night at a ceremony on the 33rd floor of World Trade Center 7, high above his World Trade Center Transportation Hub, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was awarded the European Prize for Architecture by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture. The accolade is awarded to architects each year who have made substantial contributions to the field. Last year's winner was Alessandro Mendini, who was given the award at a ceremony in Milan. In the crowd was a host of construction industry professionals, each with a table. Calatrava and his family had a table in the front, and Calatrava was giddy as the representatives of the Chicago Athenaeum and European Centre praised his long and prolific career. The highlight of the night was then he was presented with a crown made of olive leaves from the Parthenon in Athens. Calatrava gave a short lecture about his work, from his first projects in Zurich and Spain to his over 50 bridges around the world. He explained how he was trained as an engineer, but was eventually inspired by the human form and eyebrows, which evolved into his signature reptilian style.
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.
World Trade Center Transportation Hub World Trade Center, Manhattan Downtown Design Partnership; STV, AECOM, and Santiago Calatrava A team from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey wowed the crowd of lucky Archtober fans this morning with a full-length tour from the Hudson River to the beating heart of the new World Trade Center. Robert Eisenstat, the chief architect at the Port Authority Engineering Department, was joined by Thomas L. Grassi, a program manager on the World Trade Center construction, and a number of others along for the ride. These dedicated people, along with many others, have been working on the site since “the day.” Today was a little reminiscent of that day, over 14 years ago—a crisp sunny day with only wisps of clouds. It is hard to visit the site at all, for some of us. But now because of the sublime poetry of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub—they call it the “oculus”—a brighter future can be imagined. It is a futuristic creature born from the construction chaos that still defines the neighborhood, with white, spiked ribs rising up like the barbs of a chalky peace dove’s feather. Peace is not easy. I kept thinking, we have to tell the crowd how complicated this all was, how many levels, how many logistical nightmares, how many times its seemed like it could never be completed. I have to do my thing about how architects are problem solvers, which of course is true. But some problems are spiritual ones, hard to put in the brief for a nearly $4 billion transit integration project. This is where the architect’s special poetry comes in. Whatever you may say about this project, and there has been a lot of negative press with Santiago Calatrava certainly taking some knocks along the way, it is uplifting. The spirit soars; the room has an ineffable majesty of great architecture that defies easy explanation. While the Port Authority was getting its “network cohesion” out of the tangle of subway lines and trans-Hudson modalities, it also got a cathedral that looks like the waiting room for heaven. Cynthia Phifer Kracauer is the managing director of the Center for Architecture and the festival director for Archtober: Architecture & Design Month NYC. She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989–2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell. After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson, held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. Tomorrow: Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center, Entry Building, and Arch.
After all these years (read: delays), the public will finally be able to check out the grand oculus in Santiago Calatrava's $3.9 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub—starting next month. The New York Times reported that beginning in June, a north-south passageway with direct views onto the building's main attraction will open to "limited pedestrian traffic." The entire building won't fully open until the end of this year, or early next year so don't get too excited. And you can always walk through an already open portion of the Calatrava station connecting to the Brookfield Place towers. The Times also noted that the World Trade Center redevelopment is set to check off milestone after milestone over the next few weeks and months. —The second of four PATH platforms in the Transportation Hub will open on Thursday. —Soon after that, a floor-to-ceiling barrier will come down as well. This will allow commuters to marvel at the immaculate space set beneath those already-iconic soaring white ribs, or wings, or spikes, or whatever you want to call them. —And on May 29th, the One World Trade Center Observatory will open, offering panoramic views to anyone willing to shell out $32 a ticket. As for 2 World Trade Center, well, we're still waiting to hear if Norman Foster's design will be replaced with something from Bjarke Ingels.
The Real Deal recently scored an interview with Santiago Calatrava, the so-called "symphonist of steel" behind the upcoming (and wildly over budget) World Trade Center Transit Hub, and the nearby Saint Nicholas Church. In the interview, Calatrava explained how New York City's building code impacted the two projects’ designs, offers his thoughts on the World Trade Center master plan, and comments on the construction quality of the Transit Hub. Overall, the controversial architect lavishes praise on just about everyone—from Daniel Libeskind to Larry Silverstein to the Port Authority.
The World Trade Center Transportation Hub—or as its designer Santiago Calatrava likes to think of it, the "bird in flight"—is just blocks from AN's office, so we get to walk by and watch it try to take off regularly. But in the weeks before the holidays, odd “struts” started to be welded between the structure’s giant fins or blades. Not only do these lateral supports detract from the elegance of its long thin blades, I don’t remember seeing them in the renderings of the station. So I went back through every image I could find online and none show these connectors. In many of the renderings, the overlapping of the transit hub's fins obscures where the connectors would have been located. The renderings fades into solid white, obscuring those areas from clear view. Could it be that these were added later in the design process or did Mr. Calatrava know all along that these were needed to help support the weight of the fins? What do you think? Do they compromise the design?