August 05, 2008 By Sam Lubell
Santiago Calatrava’s design for a transit hub at the World Trade Center site in Manhattan has been scaled back. On July 1, shortly after revealing that virtually all of the construction projects at Ground Zero were behind schedule and over budget, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced it was cutting out a signature element of Calatrava’s elliptical-shaped building: a hydraulic system that would allow its ribbed steel wings to open and close. The operable roof was intended to allow natural light and air into the building.
Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub
The cost for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub has fluctuated between $2 billion and $3.5 billion. Port Authority executive director Christopher Ward said in an unusually blunt assessment of the situation at Ground Zero that the removal of the hydraulic system potentially saves hundreds of millions of dollars. In regards to modification, Ward said it’s “a tough choice, but it’s the right choice. And it’s reflective of the kinds of choices we simply must make in the coming weeks and months if we are to establish priorities and intermediate milestones, to which we can be held accountable.”
The rest of the transit hub design remains intact for now, but according to a 34-page report to New York Governor David Paterson, other modifications are being considered, including replacing long-span arches in a mezzanine with “a more traditional, column-supported structural approach.”
Calatrava wasn’t surprised by the announcement. In a statement released by his firm, he said they are working with the developer to ensure the project is built, and “are continuing to work collaboratively to find potential changes that will save time and money while preserving the integrity of the original design.” The recent alteration, he says, “is just the latest example of many changes we have recommended to accomplish that goal.”
With its spectacular soaring design, the new World Trade Center (WTC) Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) Transportation Hub promises not only to bring architectural beauty to downtown Manhattan but also to significantly improve mass-transit connections throughout the region. Designed by celebrated architect Santiago Calatrava, the transportation hub will feature pedestrian concourses to existing and future transportation services. Construction on the project began in September 2005, and according the Port Authority, it will be operational by 2011.
Located close to the northeast corner of the WTC site at Church and Fulton Streets (between Towers 2 and 3), the transportation hub is designed to accommodate 250,000 pedestrians per day – which corresponds to projected ridership numbers for 2025. (The temporary station can accommodate up to 50,000 daily pedestrians.) The transportation hub’s innovative design features retractable 150-foot-high, glass-and-steel “wings” that will allow natural light to pass through to the rail platforms 60 feet below street level.
The new WTC Transportation Hub will include:
A multi-story central transit hall designed in the style of Grand Central Terminal, incorporating a lower concourse, an upper (balcony) concourse, a public waiting area, and first-class retail amenities.
Enhanced permanent PATH facilities and services incorporating three full-service extended 10-car platforms, as well as an additional platform to accommodate service needs and five tracks.
An integrated network of underground pedestrian connections from the lower and upper concourses, which will lead to adjoining New York City Transit subway stations and the proposed MTA Fulton Street Transit Center through the Dey Street Corridor. Pedestrians also will be able to access locations on and around the WTC site, including the five WTC office towers, the Memorial and Museum, Hudson River ferry terminals, the World Financial Center, PATH trains, 13 subway lines, and the proposed JFK rail link.
Retail facilities of approximately 200,000 square feet within the transit hub and the pedestrian concourses to accommodate a wide variety of restaurants and stores.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), is building the 800,000-square-foot hub. The FTA has committed approximately $1.92 billion toward the more than $2 billion project, with the Port Authority investing the difference. The full-service, regional transportation hub will replace the temporary WTC PATH station currently in place. A slurry wall currently being built around the PATH station will provide the foundation for the transportation hub’s below-grade levels.
In 2003, the Port Authority opened its first temporary entrance to restore service to the WTC site. In June 2007, a second temporary entrance opened on Church Street, replacing the initial entrance. This entrance will be in place until early 2008, when it in turn will be replaced by a third temporary entrance on Vesey Street near West Broadway. The shifting of the entrances allows the Port Authority to maintain consistent service to the WTC site during construction of the permanent transportation hub’s main, ground-level structure.