Work Progressing on Santiago Calatrava’s St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in the Financial District

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Photo by Michael Young

Construction has topped out on the Santiago Calatrava-designed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church the Financial District. Located by the intersection of Greenwich Street and Liberty Street in the elevated Liberty Park, the structure will replace the original church of the same name located at 155 Cedar Street, which was destroyed on 9/11. The symmetrical architectural design was inspired by Istanbuls’ Hagia Sophia and Church of the Holy Savior of Chora. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is developing the project, which is positioned across from the original 16-acre World Trade Center complex.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Rendering by Santiago Calatrava.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Photo by Michael Young

Recent photos show the state of work on the structure, where the construction of the glass dome is progressing. The dome is made up of individual panels spanning the 40 ribs of the frame and topped with a cross at the pinnacle. Crews can be spotted on outside tending to the exterior assembly. Part of the dome will feature a series of 10-foot skylights.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Photo by Michael Young

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Photo by Michael Young

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Photo by Michael Young

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Photo by Michael Young

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Photo by Michael Young

Work is also progressing on the main entrance on the western side facing Liberty Park and a set of staircases going down to Liberty Street. Wooden boards temporarily cover the stone pavers already laid underneath.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Photo by Michael Young

Just a short walk within the park from the structure is Fritz Koenig’s The Sphere, which once stood as the fountain centerpiece in the plaza of the original Twin Towers.

The Sphere, designed by Fritz Koenig. Photo by Michael Young

The underside of the dome is planned to feature a colorful circular painting of Jesus. On the exterior, the curved walls will be clad in 1,000 eight-inch-thick Pentelic marble slabs, and the corners of the structure will be covered with solid, opaque slabs. Two panes of glass are planned to surround the white marble and create an envelope translucent enough for the church to be lit by diffused natural light during the day and for the interior lighting to radiate through at night.

The church is rendered to be illuminated at night with a warm glow, much like the architectural plans for the nearby Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center that is also expected to feature an external marble enclosure.

A completion date for St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church has not been announced, though sometime in 2021 is conceivable if construction continues at its current pace.

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7 Comments on "Work Progressing on Santiago Calatrava’s St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in the Financial District"

  1. Oh, so has construction finally resumed on the church? Great!

  2. A nice segment on the history and “future” of St. Nicholas was on ‘Sixty Minutes’ last Sunday. All eyes will be on its construction and completion.

  3. I remember the old one. They should have rebuilt it exactly as it was.

  4. I agree with BBMW. The original church was beautiful in its simplicity. While I am glad that they are finally getting around to rebuilding it, I don’t like what they are building.

  5. Do they have a congregation?

  6. the structure does not match the skyscrapers beside it why they did not build a cathedral to be beside these high buildings , you can not even feel like it takes that long time to be built , in any orthodox country in East Europe it will take a couple of years to build better than this one . now it is more the 20 years did not complete yet . American orthodox from Egypt

  7. Antoinette Marie Zographos | January 28, 2021 at 4:35 am | Reply

    I don’t know if Comments are still available but I wish to address some previous comments.
    #1. If not for Gov. Pataki, the church would not have been rebuilt because it was not part of the rebuilding plans.
    #2. Prior to 9-11, it was a little wooden church with an unpretentious exterior yet blessed in the interior with gifts from the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, thus part of early 20th century history was lost.
    #3. Because it was a place of solitude, it was a refuge for all the harried workers of the NY Trade Center that included more than the twin towers. The new church is designed to resume that special haven for the financial district.
    #4. Once its rebuilding was approved, even the Port Authority began referring to it as the Trade Center’s shrine when it had been a small church for the Orthodox Christians living in the area.
    #5. It will resume being that congregation’s church but with millions visiting annually! So a replica of the original is not possible.
    #6. As for a cathedral replacing it, Eastern Orthodoxy has certain rules, some restrictive.
    Let the new St. Nicholas learn to manage itself after 9-11-22 w3hen it reopens as we, around the world, never knew its existence on September 10, 2001, the day before we watched in horror the collapse of the towers, some smaller buildings, and the lives lost within them.
    #7. If you do not have friends and family who lost their lives that day, maybe you’ll remember that one of the city’s tourist destinations was the North Tower’s restaurant, Windows on The World, and its bar and cafe, all critically acclaimed for their food and drink. As one once described it, their real ‘entree’ was Manhattan! Windows lost 96 that day some being rich diners being served by lowly waiters and busboys.
    So, for those families who had nothing to bury, St. Nicholas will be a shrine to their lost souls, finally, a place to visit and mourn, a new reason to visit even if it is made of marble , the same used to erect the Parthenon that is neither listed as one of the 8 ancient or modern wonders of world, so unique it is.
    Let its construction be the absent cathedral.

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