The $3.9 billion transportation hub at the World Trade Center site is soon going to be open to the New Yorkers and tourists.
Called as “Oculus,” the pavilion, shaped to give a cathedral like appearance, will be open for the public from Thursday afternoon. The towering structure sits at the edge of the 9/11 memorial, with its white ribbed steel structure giving the impression of a bird in flight.
The train station that had the subway and New Jersey rail below the Twin Towers was destroyed during 9/11. Consequently, plans to build a new station that would assist normalize transit connections for the region were strategized. In addition, this station – as was planned – would also be an architectural point of focus to the redeveloped World Trade Center Memorial Site.
The way it has been designed, passengers inside the cathedral like space will be able to experience natural light filtering down. Another awe-inspiring feature of the transportation station is its skylight, which as Gizmodo notes will be open on warm days and every September 11.
“I’ve seen it from the outside,” commuter Zaticia Franklin said. “It looks very beautiful. I like it.”
“It’s nice, how could you not spend $4 billion and make it look good?” commuter Tom Vigorito said.
The designing was conceptualized by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, widely known for sculptural bridges and railway stations, and also the movable roof of the 2004 Athens Olympic Stadium, Wall Street Journal notes. The hub is set to be the most expensive train station on the entire planet. What’s more is that the corridor below is expected to become the most expensive hallway in the world. In terms of cost of its building, the transportation hub is set to overshadow the tallest building in the United States, the One World Trade Center, situated next door.
The hub will allow connectivity between the Port Authority Trans-Hudson trains to New Jersey. It will also include 11 New York City subway lines and ferry service. As many as 200,000 people are estimated to visit the hub every day, CBS News reports. With 200,000 square feet of potential rental space in the public atriums, it is being considered as an economy booster.
Nevertheless, the structure has been shrouded in controversy for quite some time. It received significant criticism in terms of its whopping $4 billion budget – the original budget was $2.2 billion. “That’s too much money. I can’t imagine spending that much money on something like that. It is ridiculous,” Franklin said. Vigorito had a similar opinion. “I know they wanted to make it a destination for tourists but I think it should just be functional and efficient for commuters,” Vigorito said.
It also faced heat regarding the delays it took (it is five years behind schedule), a contractor’s indictment for fraud and commuters criticizing that the 22,000 tons of steel that has been used for building is as much for decoration as for the support the structure requires.