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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Transportation Hub
  4. United States
  5. Santiago Calatrava
  6. 2016
  7. World Trade Center Transportation Hub / Santiago Calatrava

World Trade Center Transportation Hub / Santiago Calatrava

  • 10:00 - 21 March, 2016
World Trade Center Transportation Hub / Santiago Calatrava
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World Trade Center Transportation Hub  / Santiago Calatrava, © Hufton+Crow
© Hufton+Crow

© Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow +57

  • Client

    Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Engineer

    Santiago Calatrava LLC
  • Architect and Engineer of Record

    Downtown Design Partnership
  • Principal Building Materials

    Steel, Concrete, Stone, Painted Metal Panels and Glass
  • More SpecsLess Specs
© Hufton+Crow
© Hufton+Crow

From the architect. The Transportation Hub is conceived at street level as a freestanding structure situated on axis along the southern edge of the “Wedge of Light” plaza. As described in Daniel Libeskind’s master plan for the site, the Plaza is bounded by Fulton, Greenwich and Church Streets to the North, West and East respectively and Tower 3 to the south. It links the procession of green, urban spaces that extend along Park Row from City Hall Park to St. Paul’s churchyard, to the gardens of the WTC Memorial and Battery Park along the Hudson River.

© Hufton+Crow
© Hufton+Crow

The arched, elliptical structure - the Oculus - is approximately 350’ long, 115’ across at its widest point and rises to a height 96’ above grade at its apex. The structural steel ribs that form the Oculus extend upward, like outspread wings, to form a pair of canopies that rise to a maximum height of 168’ above grade.

© Hufton+Crow
© Hufton+Crow
© Hufton+Crow
© Hufton+Crow

Access into the Oculus is provided through two entrances located at the east and west nodes of the building’s central axis at Church and Greenwich Streets respectively. The entrances open onto symmetrical stair landings with cylindrical glass elevators. From this level, visitors descend approximately 22’ to the Upper Concourse level where the elliptical interior space opens to its full dimensions (approx. 400’ x 216’), and where visitors have access to the MTA 1, R and E subway lines, Towers 2, 3 and 4, as well as retail galleries.

© Hufton+Crow
© Hufton+Crow

From the Upper Concourse, visitors descend another 20’ via escalators, elevators and stairs to the Concourse level. This level is the main retail level in the Hub and offers pedestrian connections to the Fulton Street Transit Center to the east, the PATH Hall and Brookfield Place to the west, and Liberty Street to the south. From the Concourse level – 160’ below the apex of the 330’ long Oculus operable skylight - visitors will be able to look up at a column-free, clear span. Although suggestive of motifs from many traditions (the Byzantine mandorla, the wings of cherubim above the Ark of the Covenant, the sheltering wings on Egyptian canopic urns), the form may be summed up, according to Calatrava, by the image of a bird released from a child’s hands.

© Hufton+Crow
© Hufton+Crow

The MTA 1 Line bisects the site below Greenwich Street. West of the 1 Line and 8’ below the Concourse level, visitors arrive at the Mezzanine level, which is dominated by the 65,000 sf PATH Hall. The 290’ long vaulted steel ribs span 35’ above the floor supporting the WTC Memorial gardens above. Along the northern edge of the Mezzanine level, below Fulton Street, the 325’ long West Street Concourse connects the Hub to Brookfield Place. The vaulted ribs along the concourse rise 30’ above the stone floor and are an extension of the PATH Hall structure. Passengers moving through the PATH Hall descend 15’ to the four 550’ PATH platforms below. The platforms still enjoy natural light transmitted from above through generous floor openings in the Mezzanine.

© Hufton+Crow
© Hufton+Crow

The project’s sculptural form is achieved through the modulated repetition of structural steel ribs which unify the complex composition, and provides dignity and beauty to the building’s sub-grade levels and pedestrian walkways. Between the ribs, glass allows natural light, a powerful symbol of hope and vitality, to flood the facility. Calatrava speaks of light as a structural element in the Hub, saying that the building is supported by “columns of light.” At night, the illuminated Oculus serves as a lantern in the reconstructed WTC site. On September 11th of each year, as well as on temperate spring and summer days, the Oculus’s operable skylight opens to bring a slice of the New York sky into the building, reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome. 

© Hufton+Crow
© Hufton+Crow

Oculus WTC Path Station from Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007, USA

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "World Trade Center Transportation Hub / Santiago Calatrava" 21 Mar 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Ragusa 01 · December 15, 2016

Lyon-Satolas Airport Railway Station CTRL+C, World Trade Center Transportation Hub CTRL+V, I am the best architect !!!!

HeywoodFloyd · March 23, 2016

The space has an undeniable sense of monumentality, but you can't help but think that a similar experience could have been arrived at through much more economical means. Any sense of serenity will surely be obliterated by the retail and associated signage currently planned for the perimeter of the space since what we are talking about here is essentially a mall to connect the ground level with the PATH platforms. The finishing on the underside of the escalators and on the ribs seems to be an unfolding disaster, similar to the issues with his project in Valencia. The asymmetry of the exterior in relation to the rationalism of the interior is incongruous at best, this is basically an object building shoe-horned into a fabric site. In the end the $4 billion price tag can't all be Calatrava's fault, but his needlessly complex design with it's massively scaled custom fabricated structural members certainly didn't help any.

DadaoJando · March 23, 2016

It's important to architectural culture and history that there is at least one architect that is extreme enough to choose wings over rational design

Hunter · March 22, 2016

What works as an art museum in Milwaukee doesn't always work as a transportation hub in Manhattan...

issam benseih · March 22, 2016 07:18 PM

I agree with you, note that the same concept of the "flying bird" was used in Lyon,France

Eric · March 22, 2016

I hope the City finds a better place, and method of including, that damned American flag.

mancio · March 22, 2016

How is even possible that poor architects like calatrava and hadid are so popular and valued. They are spreading their lame, expensive project all around the world and no one argue about that

Jack O'Neill · March 22, 2016

It looks as if these photos were taken for the defects list. Why is this being uploaded prior to actual completion of the project?

Taneli000 · March 21, 2016

At least one place in town where the people in New York would know where they are.

Eric · March 22, 2016 02:07 PM

If people in New York City don't know where they are, they need to make a bee line out.

jaaaaaaat · March 21, 2016

^ speaking of 'forcing a concept': i love the stucco'd escalators.

Jake Groth · March 21, 2016 07:11 PM

Those are the portion of the project that is completely unforgivable. The underside of the escalators is the architectural equivalent of 'tripping at the finish line.'

FC · March 21, 2016

those wings clearly demonstrate what happens when you force a concept onto a site.

maars · March 21, 2016 03:59 PM

Would you clarify?


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