The $32M skylight of the World Trade Center’s Oculus is leaking

May 13, 2019

A rubber seal that runs along the middle of the retractable skylight of the World Trade Center’s Oculus has ripped, causing leakage, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The tear may have stemmed from the reopening of the skylight during last year’s anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, according to the Port Authority, which owns the World Trade Center site.

Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the Oculus is oriented in a way that allows sunlight to cross the floor. The skylight, which cost $32 million to construct and contains 224 pieces of glass in 40 panels, reopens every September 11 at 10:28 a.m., the same time the North Tower fell in 2001.

The Port Authority spent $30,000 this winter filling leaks along the skylight’s center with a sealant. But, according to the WSJ, the structure leaked again last week.

Original designs from Calatrava called for both sides of the transit hub to open up to 50 feet to simulate a bird’s flapping wings. But because of exorbitant construction costs–the Oculus’ final price tag hit $3.9 billion– the idea was abandoned.

“Clearly it is unfortunate the skylight is damaged,” Chris Ward, the executive director of the Port Authority, told the WSJ. “IT pales in comparison to the cost savings we achieved by eliminating the opening and closing of the whole Calatrava structure.”

The agency plans to replace the skylight’s rubber seal this summer, ahead of this year’s reopening on 9/11. The cost to fix the leaks is not known as of yet.

[Via WSJ]


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