Santiago Calatrava‘s World Trade Center Transportation Hub was nothing more than a series of beams and cranes until recently, but now the essence of the structure is finally beginning to emerge. The Port Authority released new images this week of the interior of the 800,000-square-foot structure (also known as Oculus), revealing white marble and soaring articulated ribs. All of that opulence doesn’t come cheap though as the project is turning out to be one of the most expensive train stations ever.
“The World Trade Center Transportation Hub is going to serve a critical, functional transportation purpose,” said Patrick J. Foye to the New York Times of the $3.74 billion dollar project that has come under much criticism for its expanding budget (originally estimated to be $2 billion) and extended completion date. “But it’s also going to be viewed as a grand public space.” Foye is the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the owner of the trade center site and builder of the hub, which will be serve 200,000 subway and PATH train commuters each day.
The Port Authority is also establishing plans to rent out sections of the hub for private events like charity fundraisers, art shows and, perhaps even weddings (these areas will be blocked off to public commuters of course). Special infrastructure, including screens, lighting and sound systems, will be installed to ensure that events are served the same level of dramatic effect as the design of the structure.
The multistory hub is so large that the equivalent of two-and-a-half Grand Central Terminals can fit inside of it. The project has doubled in costs as well as time, expanding from its originally estimated four-year completion date into ten years. Completion is set for 2015, however, the first PATH passenger platforms are slated to be in service by the end of this year.