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Skylight of World Trade Center Oculus Will Open Each Sept. 11

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Santiago Calatrava's $4 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub may be drastically over-budget and years late, but the project is a "glorious boondoggle" that keeps on giving. In 2008, Calatrava's plan to create a movable structure that would—to keep up with the Bird In Flight descriptor of the central Oculus—unfurl its wings got the axe amidst budget concerns. But the New York Times says that the Oculus will indeed open itself to the elements. While not to the same degree that Calatrava once envisioned, the Oculus will be topped by a 355-foot-long operable skylight that will range from 12 feet wide at its most slender ends to 22 feet wide in its center.

The skylight won't be opened on just any sunny day; its use will be deeply symbolic. The Times explains,

Each Sept. 11, the skylight will be opened to the elements for 102 minutes, Erica Dumas, a spokeswoman for the authority, said. That is how long the 2001 terrorist attack lasted, from the time the first jetliner hit the trade center at 8:46 a.m. until the collapse of the second tower at 10:28 a.m. In the towers, on the ground and in the hijacked planes, 2,753 people were killed."In all weather conditions, the public will experience a subtle sense of man's vulnerability, while maintaining a link to a higher order," Mr. Calatrava said on Friday of the annual remembrance.

The skylight is built with 224 pieces of glass in 40 panels that will be cantilevered from the surrounding steel skeleton. When the skylight is opened, its panels will retract into pockets in the roof.
· Retractable Skylight in World Trade Center Oculus Takes Final Form [NYT]
· Calatrava 'Treated Like a Dog' Over World Trade Boondoggle [Curbed]
· Calatrava's World Trade Center Hub Is a 'Glorious Boondoggle' [Curbed]
· All World Trade Center Transportation Hub coverage [Curbed]