Fulton Center Subway Station to Open This Monday with Its Impressive Oculus

November 6, 2014

Fulton Center via Grimshaw Architects

It’s a busy couple of weeks for the Financial District. On Monday, Condé Nast moved in to One World Trade Center, and this coming Monday, November 10th, at 5:00pm, the Fulton Center subway station will finally open.

The new station, which connects ten subway lines, was first conceived in 2002 as part of downtown revitalization efforts following 9/11, but also because the station had needed improvements for decades. It was initially supposed to open in 2007, but funding hurdles and escalating costs delayed the progress. More recently, Hurricane Sandy and systems testing problems pushed back the opening further. But the $1.4 billion transit hub is now ready to welcome commuters and dazzle them with its giant 120-foot-tall oculus.

Fulton Center, Fulton Center oculus, Grimshaw Architects, James Carpenter

Grimshaw Architects and Arup Architecture are responsible for the overall design of Fulton Center, but James Carpenter, the same architect responsible for 7 World Trade Center, created the 90-foot-wide, circular oculus that serves as a giant skylight in the center of the space. The glass oculus holds a web of steel cables that descend down like a cone and are adorned with 1,000 diamond-shaped pieces of aluminum that reflect and scatter light downward. These sky reflectors took up 1-2% of the overall budget.

Not only does the oculus system reduce the need for electric lighting, but it acts as a reservoir for rising heat, lessening the need for air conditioning. Additionally, if a fire ever were to break out, smoke would rise to the oculus and allow for a safe exit below.

Fulton Center, Fulton Center oculus, Grimshaw Architects, James Carpenter

Fulton Center, Fulton Center oculus, Grimshaw Architects, James CarpenterThe oculus under construction, via MTA Flickr

Fulton Center will welcome 300,000 people daily; it boasts 65,000 square feet of retail space on three circular levels behind the oculus netting. Those behind the project hope it will make the locale a destination similar to Grand Central, instead of merely a transportation stopping point.

[Via Curbed]

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