Apr 222011


White Steel:

The organic form of Calatrava’s spectacular structure emerges from its sunken oculus  at Ground Zero.

Rendering of World Trade Center Transportation Hub


Rndering of World Trade Center HubInternationally renowned architect Santiago Calatrava has established his acclaim with breathtaking feats of engineering supporting organic skeletal building forms.  His celebrated structures include bridges, museums and perhaps most notably, transportation facilities.

Among his latest undertakings is the Transportation Hub at Ground Zero in New York City.  At the present stage of construction, this project is slowly emerging from its below-grade foundations. This creation will add a unique element to the Ground Zero re-construction.  For millions of visitors, the soaring work will be the entrance to the Memorial and to historic and hallowed grounds.  Calatrava’s conception utilizes his trademark display of organic structural components.  Universally reminiscent of animal bones, the soaring asymmetric composition also evokes a primitive bird-like creature.  It is however the enormous scale of this endeavor that pioneers new challenges for the Spanish architect.

A giant concourse, mezzanine and platform will be enclosed column-free by the arching ribs.  Copious daylight will enter through glazing placed between these white bones.

The ambitious project will connect Hudson River ferry terminals, PATH trains, 13 subway lines, and possibly a direct rail link to JFK International Airport.  Projected cost (already hundreds of millions over budget) is $3.2 billion.  The project is badly behind schedule; completion is presently anticipated in 2014.

“The building is built with steel, glass, and light.  They will all be equal building materials.”

–Santiago Calatrava


Construction Progress March, 2013



Architect's Rendering of the Concourse at the WTC Transportation Hub

Architect’s Rendering of the Concourse



Related Posts:

Supertall – Freeedom Tower Progress 2012

More about the World Trade Center Transportation Hub:

Video Renderings – Exterior

Video Renderings – Interior

Ground Zero Construction Webcams

The site of the Hub construction is at the lower left of the first webcam image.



Criticism and Comparison:

The WTC Transportation Hub will introduce a new design language into the heart of New York’s architectural legacy.  Exciting as it may be, Calatrava’s sculptural creation will stand unrelated to  prior traditions of the site.  The site is an urban one; perhaps the most urban location of all sites throughout the world.  Yet the Hub’s design speaks an organic language which relates more to nature than to the historic context of straight edges and grid geometries.  Does the exquisite beauty of this piece outweigh its possibly inappropriate contextual placement?

Air Force Academy Chapel

A final comparison:  The Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs (left) was built two generations ago by Robert E. McKee of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Numerous differences notwithstanding, does this structure foreshadow some of the architectural concepts of Calatrava’s Hub?  As with the Hub, daylight at the Air Force Chapel filters between opposing spike-shaped structural members.  The structural concepts of both buildings relate metaphorically to motion and velocity.



is principal of an architecture firm in Santa Fe, New Mexico which has been crafting elegant sustainable designs for homes and buildings since 1992.



  5 Responses to “World Trade Center Transportation Hub by Architect Santiago Calatrava”

  1. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with helpful info to paintings on. You’ve performed an impressive process and our entire community will likely be thankful to you.

  2. Everything that Calatrava designs ends up costing way much more than what it was “expected” … happens all the time. It is my only critizism to his job, which is amazing, but allways out of the budget he said.

  3. It looks like a Venus flytrap after catching a fly!

  4. Many communities are also crafting new public-private partnerships to help spur development in key locations, especially around train stations and other major transportation hubs. For example, in Boston, the city government and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority are collaborating with private developers who have agreed to build a new Silver Line station in South Boston as part of a larger World Trade Center complex. The Washington, DC, area has also embraced this model by partnering to support development at several local Metro stations, such as the station in Bethesda, Maryland.

  5. Officials with Toronto-based Ceres Global Ag Corp. said construction of a proposed $90 million transportation hub is expected to commence this spring, subject to permits, approvals and agreements with project partners.

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