The Times' buildings maven David Dunlap reviews the impact of the long-awaited oculus at the long-awaited (sensing a theme here?) Fulton Center transit hub. The structure that lines the conical dome, "a curving, 79-foot-high net of reflective aluminum diamonds set in a stainless-steel tracer," is designed to let light into the shops and restaurants in the oval atrium aboveground and even into the subway platforms and tunnels below. The brainchild of glass-using and light-bending wizard?okay, we mean architect?James Carpenter, the oculus's lining is officially, and oh-so-sexily, called the "Sky-Reflector Net." Meant to serve both artistic aims and functional-for-passengers purposes, it cost $2.1 million of the center's total budget of $1.4 billion. The net was hung in May, and the diamond panels were just installed last week, when Dunlap went to have a look.
"The net's 8,500-square-foot surface will change constantly, supplemented by prismatic glass blades suspended at the top of the dome that will scatter light rays through the interior," writes Dunlap, who is ultimately fully wooed by the expensive architectural statement. "...And that gets to things the 'Sky Reflector-Net' may provide that transportation officials cannot measure: delight, astonishment, perhaps even awe?the 'Wow' factor... when the weather was clear, it appeared almost as if the whole sky had been folded into the dome." Click through for the latest photos, and check out the many renderings and views of the oculus and the net's raising below.