Beneath the Wings: Random Moments Along the Oculus Edge

Seating dividers give visitors a sense of personal space along each side of the World Trade Center Oculus. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Aug. 03, 2018


Soaring ribbed wings, inspired by the image of a dove taking flight, is the trademark architectural feature of the Oculus at the World Trade Center. But Santiago Calatrava's design has a down-to-earth, people-side as well.

Running the length of each face of the elliptical structure, which inside serves as both a mall and busy transit hub, is seating: 56 individual nooks. One row of marble benches, more than 300 feet long, looks north onto the Oculus Plaza. The other, just opened in June, faces south toward 3 World Trade Center. Rounded vertical extensions of those towering steel ribs descend to ground level, serving as dividers that provide a sense of personal space in an ever-changing human landscape all its own.