There’s already a lot that has been said about the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, designed by Santiago Calatrava (too much, we think). New York Times architectural critic Michael Kimmelman, most recently called it a “soaring symbol of a boondoggle,” and also even less flattering, a “Pokémon.” The grossly over-budget and perennially delayed station did not even get a formal ribbon cutting ceremony, due to the ongoing controversy over its price tag.
From an architectural perspective, we find all of this quite humorous given that the less inspiring Fulton Center Transit Hub, just a block away, was proclaimed by the MTA “among New York City’s great public spaces,” akin to “a downtown Grand Central.” At the opening, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said “Forget the Grand Central clock. They’re going to come here.”
At any rate, even if this station is at its functional essence simply a shopping mall and PATH station, we still believe it will stand the test of time – a very expensive gift to the commodified, corporatized downtown Manhattan that did not quite get the architecture a site of tragedy perhaps deserved. Even Benjamin Kabak of Second Avenue Sagas, who has written a series of informed takes on the station, gave his first impression today: “It is certainly a sight to see.” We agree, and are pleased to showcase the photography of Untapped Cities’ photographer Ben Helmer, taken yesterday when the space was open to the public for the first time.
Here’s a 360 degree video on YouTube, move your cursor around the image to see beyond the frame: