With the final rafter installed on Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub the New York Times has done a deep-dive on how, exactly, the long-delayed structure ended up costing close to $4 billion. While the hub ultimately looks more like a stegosaurus than a dove taking flight, as Calatrava originally envisioned, it is undeniably a head-turning piece of dramatic architecture. But one that will be forever grounded by the reality of its staggering price tag. To find out how the Hub's budget soared right along with Calatrava's ambition, the Times conducted two dozen interviews and pored through hundreds of pages of documents. In the end, the Times said the problems go “far beyond an exotic and expensive design by its exacting architect, Santiago Calatrava.” The site's complexity, the hub's changing designs, security concerns, the lack of consistent oversight, and the price of labor and materials all slowed things down and increased costs, but, above all else, the $4 billion cost comes down to politics, politics, politics.
Posts tagged with "World Trade Center Transit Hub":
After years of delays and nearly $4 billion in costs, One World Trade Center is officially open. Earlier today, about 175 Condé Nast employees walked past a scrum of reporters and into the SOM-designed tower where the media company has leased 24 floors. By early next year, Condé Nast is expected to have all of its 3,400 employees within the building. Still, less than 60 percent of the 1,776-foot-tall tower has been leased. A few hours after the Condé Nast employees arrived for work, AN went down to the World Trade Center site to check out One World Trade's lobby. The multi-story space is clad in white marble, which according to the New York Times, comes from the same quarry that was used when constructing the original Twin Towers. These expansive white walls are partially covered with artwork and colorful columns of light caused by sunlight passing through the lobby's translucent glass fins. The lobby connects to Calatrava's $4 billion Transit Hub through a subterranean passageway, and to the September 11 Memorial through a street-level entrance. One World Trade's observation deck, known as the One World Observatory, is expected to open this spring and will be accessible through a separate entrance on the lobby's western side. That entrance comes with a small public plaza which, as of today, looks like an afterthought as it is just an expanse of concrete and a few trees. The opening of One World Trade comes as the long-delayed, over-budget, 16-acre World Trade Center redevelopment continues to grow and connect into the city grid. The Maki-designed 4 World Trade Center is officially open, the final wings are being welded onto the Transit Hub, and Richard Rogers' stalled 3 World Trade Center is restarting its climb. At the same time, construction shedding is coming down and sidewalks are reopening, making the entire complex feel a little more concrete.
Earlier this week, AN went up to the 67th floor of the recently-opened 4 World Trade Center to get a progress report on the 16-acre redevelopment taking shape below. Inside the wide-open and raw space, Larry Silverstein, the site’s developer, told reporters that his vision for a new World Trade Center had finally become a reality. “I’ve gotten a bit of a reputation as a wild-eyed optimist,” he said in front of a wall of windows. “But even I have to admit that I didn’t see all this coming.” Noting that it had been 13 years since the attacks, he went on to refer to the anniversary as the site’s “bar mitzvah.” From high up in Fumihiko Maki’s celebrated 4 World Trade it’s easy to see how much has changed at the World Trade Center site over those 13 years—and how much still needs to get done. Looking straight down the tower’s western edge, you can see the pools of the 9/11 Memorial Plaza which opened in 2011 and the adjacent 9/11 Memorial Museum that came on-line three years later. Next to that is Calatrava’s bird-like transportation hub where workers could be seen busily welding on the structure's skeletal wings. That project is scheduled to open in the second half of 2015, years behind schedule and at a cost of nearly $4 billion. A few blocks north of the winged creature is 7 World Trade, the David Childs–designed building that opened in 2006 and is fully leased. Across Vesey Street is another Child's tower—the site’s centerpiece—the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade. After years of delays, the building is expected to open some time this fall. As of now, the tower is about 60 percent leased. The same can be said for 4 World Trade. "I am both humbled and inspired by the process. It is never an easy process, and why should it be?" asked Daniel Libeskind, who crafted the site's masterplan. "This is New York City, there are so many stakeholders, so much to be done, and so much to think about." But there is obviously so much more to be done still—so many missing pieces in Libeskind's plan. Just this month, the board of the World Trade Center's performing arts center announced it had scrapped Gehry's decade-old design for the project. The board told the New York Times that is currently looking for a new architect to take over. And then there is Calatrava's other project at the site, the new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which is still a few years off. While looking straight down from 4 World Trade shows how much has been rebuilt since 9/11, looking straight out reveals how much has not. The Midtown skyline that served as a backdrop for the event's speakers may have been impressive, but it was a blatant reminder of what has not been accomplished since the Twin Towers came crashing down. Because, at this point in the reconstruction process, employees in 4 World Trade Center shouldn’t have an entirely unobstructed view of Midtown—there should be two other glass towers in the way: 3 World Trade by Richard Rogers and 2 World Trade by Norman Foster. Silverstein said that the former should be completed by 2018, but as for 2 World Trade Center, it’s anyone’s guess. In a fact sheet distributed by representatives of Silverstein Properties, the tower's completion date is conspicuously left off.
A tipster shared with us the above view of Santiago Calatrava's World Trade Center Transit Hub receiving the final piece of its giant steel arch. According to the tipster, "they JUST set the final tooth on the World Trade Center Transit Hub to complete the supporting structural system. Once welding is complete they will proceed with installing the "wings," the cantilevered outriggers that complete the structural form." Looks like this thing is about to soar.
Santiago Calatrava’s soaring World Trade Center Transportation Hub is still a year from completion, but major developments are happening as his winged-structure preps for flight. Earlier this week, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unveiled the first platform of the new World Trade Center PATH Station. And what a platform it is. To get a sense of it, picture the typical New York City subway platform in all of its glory. And now picture the exact opposite. That is the new Platform A. Calatrava’s signature beams are canopied like fabric above gleaming marble floors. The bright lighting, LED signage, and all that white marble give the subterranean station an incredible airiness. It is pristine – and not just for a public transit station. This week’s unveiling comes four months after the transit hub’s $225 million, 600-foot “West Concourse” opened to the public. For those trying to do the math, that's $375,000 a foot. And while that pricey marble might be aesthetically pleasing, it could certainly be a problem when it rains. After already spending so much money, those New York-New Jersey commuters better hope the Port Authority has some cash left over for rubber mats.
Santiago Calatrava has been ordered by a Spanish court to pay $4 million for problems plaguing a municipal building he designed in Oviedo in Northwest Spain. While the final fee is lower than an initial ruling, such legal problems have become something of an unfortunate calling card for the Spanish architect. The Palacio de Congresos de Oviedo was completed in 2011 and features the soaring forms and white ribs that tend to populate Calatrava's work. The suit stems from issues involving the construction of the building as well as the project's final budget, which exceeded original estimates. Calatrava's fairly loose interpretation of budgetary restrictions has come under fire throughout the architect's prolific career. He is also in the midst of a legal battle regarding an opera house in Valencia whose final cost of $455.6 million—four times greater than its original budget—was not enough to ensure structural stability for more than a decade. Part of Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences that the architect had a major role in designing, the concert hall is the biggest fish in a sea of problems besetting the complex. Practicality has also not always been a strong suit for the architect. Bridges in Venice and Bilbao have both developed reputations for the extreme slipperiness among other issues. An airport he designed for the latter city was found lacking in a sheltered arrivals hall, a problem that Calatrava himself was forced to remedy. And the list continues. Assuming all goes according to plan, by 2015 New Yorkers will be able to witness what may be the zenith of the troubled beauty that has come to define Calatrava's works. The World Trade Center Transporation Hub represents his avian aesthetic at its most striking. However, the project's completion date is six years behind schedule, while its initial budget of $2 billion has since swelled to $4 billion.
The World Trade Center Transportation Hub by Santiago Calatrava is the architect tells us "the image of a bird in flight." Yesterday we took a look at the interior retail corridor that will connect with the soaring transit hub oculus, but the structure has now just appeared above the scaffolding surrounding the entire Trade Center site and its looks nothing like a soaring bird but the bare bones of a beached carcass. It can only get better!
While Santiago Calatrava's soon-to-bo-soaring transportation hub at the World Trade Center is just not starting to rise from the ground, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has given us a glimpse of what's been going on underground, complete with the classic articulated ribs that make Calatrava's train stations so dynamic. And look at all that marble! Sure beats your standard New York City subway stop. This view is actually part of the east-west connector that will eventually be lined with retail shops.
It'll be at least 4 years before Santiago Calatrava's scaled-back, over-budget World Trade Center PATH station is completed (though as our upcoming feature on Lower Manhattan showcases, everything's been a long time coming, but it seems to have finally arrived). Still, from the start of the interminable process, we've had some of the flashiest renderings around to tuck us in at night. Now comes an illustrated video courtesy the Journal's Metropolis blog that gives us our clearest view yet of just what's planned, as well as what Calatrava meant when he told the New Yorker a while back that he was striving for something akin to Grand Central—a truly great room where the interiors, not the exteriors, would be what truly matters. If this video is any indication, despite all the cutbacks, he's succeeded grandly.