Function, form battling it out at Fulton StreetBy
As part of the plans for rebuilding and redeveloping Lower Manhattan, the MTA has invested nearly $900 million in their plans to build a transportation hub at Fulton Street. With plans for 12 subway lines to be connected through the hub, the new Fulton Street will become the largest connecting station in the system, beating out the 10 trains that run through Times Square and the Atlantic Ave.-Pacific Street stop.
But as with any capital improvement campaign, the Fulton Street construction efforts have not gone smoothly, The New York Times noted today. With real estate costs exceeding expectations by nearly $100 million, some of the more ostentatious aspects of the Fulton Street hub may be scaled back. In particular, the showy dome that is supposed to cover the grand entrance may not be as showy as the original plans called for it to be:
The dome, intended to maximize the natural light entering the complex, would sit atop a 50-foot-high glass-enclosed building designed by the British architectural firm Grimshaw. The dome, which is called an oculus, was initially designed to be 50 feet high, taking the total height to about 100 feet, Mr. Nagaraja said, but it has already been scaled back to about 20 feet.
While it would seem obvious to cut back the size of the dome, which serves no function beyond aesthetics, some at the MTA wanted to scrap the planned underground connection to the R and W at Cortlandt Street and the E at the World Trade Center. But the MTA board would have none of that:
Yesterday, the authority’s board members landed firmly on the side of function over form, saying they would gladly sacrifice architectural beauty if it meant that subway riders could transfer between trains more easily.
“I won’t support a project like this that is going to discombobulate tens of thousands of passengers a day because you want to have a fancy roof,” said Barry L. Feinstein, a board member.
So as the Fulton Street hub stumbles toward its late-2009 completion, it does seem as though form of some sort will win out over the style. The Daily News notes that some connector tunnels may not be built because cash is tight, but somehow, I think the New York pols will find a way to dig up some more money for this project. We already have to wait two years beyond the original target date for completion. What’s a few more million dollars as well?