The skylight that crowns Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub once again opened for the anniversary of 9/11. The opening allows for the “Way of Light” to pass through the main hub of the transit hall at 10:28 a.m.—the moment that the North Tower of the WTC collapsed on September 11, 2001.
The path along which the light travels inside the hall symbolizes “the light that continues to shine through after the darkness of the tragedy,” says a spokesperson for the Oculus.
The retractable skylight wasn’t originally part of Calatrava’s design for the Oculus. He initially wanted the “wings” of the building to open and close, mimicking the action of a bird in flight. That plan was eventually nixed due to financial and budget concerns.
The “Way of Light” memorial is a more subtle and poignant moment, allowing the building itself—and Calatrava’s “bird in flight” concept—to shine without spectacle, in keeping with the solemn tone of the day.