St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church & National Shrine is officially open
World-renowned architect and engineer, Santiago Calatrava, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and Greek Orthodox Church officials celebrated the historic reopening of the new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine. It was the only religious structure destroyed on 9/11. Spanish-born Santiago Calatrava was tasked with redesigning the building entirely, creating a space that directly addresses the traditional Greek Orthodox liturgy while honoring the Church's connection to the greater World Trade Center Memorial site. The St. Nicholas Church is the second completed structure at the World Trade Center campus to be designed by Santiago Calatrava; thew first is the World Trade Center Transportation Hub.
Calatrava's design for St. Nicholas Church was heavily influenced by Byzantine architecture and landmarks, specifically a mosaic in Hagia Sophia, the Virgin Mary as the "Throne of Wisdom."
The entire exterior of the structure was intentionally made of Pentelic marble to parallel the Pentelic marble that makes up the Parthenon in Athens. The exterior of the church consists of four solid stone-clad towers that ultimately form a square shape, which hosts the dome-like building. The corner towers and two west-facing towers are clad in alternating large and small horizontal bands of white and gray marble reminiscent of the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora, Turkey.
Calatrava collaborated with DLR Group on the lighting design for St. Nicholas Church to allow the church to read as solid stone by day, and then glow "by the light of 10,000 candles" at night, while also carefully balancing supplemental lighting with the ever-changing natural light within the church interior.
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine is the culmination of Calatrava-designed projects at the World Trade Center Campus, joining the WTC Transportation Hub – commonly known as "the Oculus" which opened to the public in 2016. The downtown architectural landmark has become one of the most photographed structures ever, responsible for bringing in tourists and helping reenergize the lower Manhattan area.
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