The centrepiece to the new World Trade Centre in New York will partially open to the public tomorrow.
The new landmark “Oculus” building leads to the main section of the transportation hub, a below-ground complex. When fully completed, more than 250,000 daily commuters and millions of annual visitors are expected to pass through the hub which will be a part transit centre, part shopping mall and part tourist destination.
The Oculus building was designed by Spanish architects Santiago Calatrava and erected by contractor Skanska through a joint venture constructing the overall hub.
The structure, which comprises 10,500t of structural steel, has been designed to resemble a bird being released from a child’s hand. The wings are supported by white steel ribs interspersed with glass strips, all arranged in an elliptical shape. The interior is column-free with the central core stretching 49m high and 107m long. Running the length of the Oculus’ spine is a skylight that will open annually on 11 September to honour the memory of the 9/11 victims.