Santiago Calatrava's PATH Station Quietly Opens

John Hill
7. March 2016
All photographs by John Hill/World-Architects

Last week New York's $4 billion Transit Hub at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan partially opened to the public devoid of any fanfare.

World-Architects visited a few days after the "soft" opening of the station, which is now accessible only from the PATH trains from New Jersey and from the base of 4WTC designed by Fumihiko Maki, not directly from the street. Much of the grand "oculus" space is still off limits, including the mezzanines that seem to serve simply as platforms for photo-ops and selfies. Further, the shops that are intended to lines both the sides of the oculus and the concourses leading from it are not yet complete. Nevertheless, the scale of the Hub – "rivaling Grand Central Station in size," per the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the project's client – is impressive, sure to be a New York City icon once initial criticism dies down. For now it is, in the words of New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman, "an Instagram-ready attraction" for the city.

The ribs rise toward a central skylight with operable panes.
The central skylight reiterates the "Wedge of Light" in Daniel Libeskind's competition-winning World Trade Center master plan.
Cantilevered mezzanines (currently inaccessible) protrude into the space below each end of the skylight.
One World Trade Center, designed by SOM, is barely visible through the skylight.
Only from certain angles are the steel fins outside the building visible from inside.
Like other Calatrava buildings, there is beauty in the repetition of the structural ribs.

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