On a recent trip to New York City, the one building I wanted to see was the Oculus at the World Trade Center designed by the legendary Santiago Calatrava. In his signature style, the white ribbed structure allows for light to come into the space where deep below the surface lie two levels of shopping and a subterranean rail station.
When you enter, it doesn’t matter which entrance you choose as there is a floating platform so visitors can capture that perfect image of the two sides rising to the sky as it peaks at a horizontal sliver skylight.
As I was visiting during the holiday season, they projected snowflakes on the interior of the building to create even more movement throughout the space, making it even more grandiose than it already is.
As many people shuffled through the space, either trying to catch their train or looking for the latest fashion trends, I would recommend using it as a space for contemplation. Find a quiet spot on the ground floor and just look up and admire the architectural feast being presented to you. Calatrava is a mad genius.
“Although suggestive of motifs from many traditions – the Byzantine mandorla, the wings of cherubim above the Ark of the Covenant, or the sheltering wings on Egyptian canopic urns – the form may be summed up, by the image of a bird released from a child’s hands,” says architect Calatrava.