A few days ago the Oculus, new World Trade Centre PATH Station opened to the public with, of course, not lack of noise.
Apparently, after 12 years of works and with the cost of $4.4 billion, this is the most expensive station ever built, and no need to say that so many opinions, positive and negative, has been spread in these days about the new Calatrava’s masterpiece. Someone complained about the use of public money, like Michael Kimmelman on the Times
“And at first blush, Mr. Calatrava’s architecture can almost — almost — make you forget what an epic boondoggle the whole thing has been.”
someone talked about the useless symbolism of the opera, like Julie V. Iovine in the Journal
“The Hub is the apogee of a kind of architecture that wows rather than elevates, …heavy symbolism is not the same as resonant architecture.”
as usual, you can’t make everybody happy.
Yes it was a veeeery expensive project. Yes it was a loong project. Yes it probably was an abuse of public money. I also personally think that instead of a dove being released from a child’s hands it looks more like a spined dragon’s back coming out the cement but we, as The Arils Bowl, are with the “Beauty will save the world” philosophy and with this belief I’m more incline to agree with Goldberg on Vanity Fair
“This place cost billions of dollars of public money, and it’s still a shrine to the commercial marketplace. I wish it were otherwise. But that doesn’t destroy the impact of the architecture, or negate the fact that this is the first time in a half a century that New York City has built a truly sumptuous interior space for the benefit of the public.”
The thing is that I grew up in Florence, where beauty is all over. I was surrounded by amazing buildings, gorgeous statues and beautiful paintings. There are so many beautiful things that you stop notice them ‘cause you’re just used to it. Of course we are talking about different styles and ages but coming to New York, with how much I love the city and still admitting that it’s full of great historical buildings etc, for most of the times you find yourself surrounded by big grey concrete skyscrapers with not much personality and not much to enjoy, when talking about look. That’s why I agree with Goldberg when he talks about the importance of the aesthetic for the benefit of the public.
Santiago Calatrava is, as many architects and engineers, an artist. He is also a sculptor but I think that what he does with achitecture is simply amazing. He plays with geometry and light in a magistral way. The very first time I read about him I was on a train through the station of Reggio Emilia. I’ve been so amazed by the greatness and at the same time the lightness of the architecture around me and how the sunlight was filtering inside that I had to know who was the author of what seemed to me a God’s gift (if I ever believed in God).
One of the reasons why I really appreciate architecture in general is that most of the time you can just enjoy it for free, it’s around you, you don’t always (almost never) have to pay something just to walk in or around and take a look as for a painting in a museum.
The work of an architect is like a gift to humanity.
You would object that public money has been spent for the Oculus, which means that New Yorkers and not only paid for it at least once, giving to the rest of the world the chance to enjoy another great masterpiece for free.
So Thanks New Yorkers and Thanks to whoever paid taxes for it to be done. We appreciate it!