After working for 10 years Santiago Calatrava’s idea finally spread its wings, literally and figuratively speaking. So far, only part of the building is open for visitors; but by the end of the year the whole terminal will start functioning and citizens will be able to access not only the subway but intercity railway too.

Calatrava is a Spanish neofuturistic architect, structural engineer, sculptor and painter. He’s known for his unique design and engineering works and has received multiple awards for his unlimited talent. World Trade Centre Terminal in New-York is not architect’s first work while building this type of constructions; his creations are: Stadelhofen Railway Station in Zurich, Alameda Bridge and Metro Station in Valencia, Liege-Guillemins railway station in Belgium and many more.

World Trade Centre is a terminal station in lower Manhattan. It serves as a terminus for four subway lines, also as an intercity railway station, connecting New-York and New-Jersey and accommodating at least 50000 commuters per day. Station was built in 19th July, 1909, under the name of Hudson Terminal; it was torn down and rebuilt as World Trade Centre in 1971. This place was destroyed after terrorist attack on 11th September; in 2003 temporary station began functioning until architect’s idea was fulfilled and new building with original form and design was built.

The terminal consists of an elliptical winged pavilion, which is called Oculus and below it, under the ground is an extensive network of subway and railway lines. Hall is paved with white marble flooring and is ringed by two levels of retail space. It’s planned to open them by the end of the August. There are viewing platforms and glass elevators in the western and eastern sides of the Oculus.

Architect intended to evoke a bird, so the building has a skeletal appearance of wings; originally was planned to make an operable roof, so that pavilion’s “wings” would create effect of flight and strengthen buildings image, but because of the costs this idea remained unrealized. Inside the pavilion, an operable skylight stretches 100 meters along the roof. It will be opened on 11 September each year in memorial for those who died after terrorist attack. The sides of the building are glazed.

Work on Oculus’ exterior is complete, but interior is not yet finished, that’s why only part of the station is available for public. Project’s cots increased to 3.9 billion dollars, which is twice what was intended in the beginning. Architect was often criticized because of this but it didn’t stop him to finish one of the architecturally valuable building in the world.

Terminal is radically different from other buildings around it. It excites viewers and is predicted to become loved space for public gathering. Expectations that the building will fully compensate its cost over time are real.

Despite the good appraisal, the building was criticized immensely for its costs or forms; only time will show us if the critics were right. Until then we just have to wait for the terminal to start functioning properly and capture New-Yorkers hearts.



Author: Meri Khamkhadze



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