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Critic: Calatrava's WTC Train Station Already a Failure

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As the soaring bird-like design for his World Trade Center PATH station has been endlessly pared down over the years due to budget concerns and other troubles at Ground Zero, Santiago Calatrava has maintained his cool?happily redesigning signature elements to trim costs and repeatedly telling reporters what an honor it is just to be involved. But New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff feels Calatrava's pain and goes to bat for the Spanish starchitect, using the unveiling of a new model of the revised design to praise Calatrava's skill and problem-solving while shredding pretty much everything else about the project?including its placement at the WTC (creating too long of a connection to the MTA's Fulton Transit Center), the excessive retail added to the Grand Central-inspired underground "Great Hall," the forced tweaks to the design and the overall limited use of the station.

Calatrava doesn't come away completely unscathed, with Ouroussoff criticizing the limited number of entries and the fact that there's no way to get to the street directly from the train platforms, but in the end Ouroussoff pins the blame on forces greater than Calatrava. The "seeds of the design's failure were there from the very beginning," he writes, and the PATH station just "reinforces the likelihood that one day, decades from now, when the site is finally completed, it will stand as a testament to our inability to put self-interests aside in the face of one of America’s greatest tragedies."
· Post-9/11 Realities Warp a Soaring Design [NYT]
· World Trade Center PATH Station coverage [Curbed]