The first marble slabs have begun installation on the curved central wall of Santiago Calatrava‘s St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in the Financial District. Located by the intersection of Greenwich Street and Liberty Street on the elevated Liberty Park, the structure will serve as the new home for the long-established church that was formerly located to the west of the park’s footprint at 155 Cedar Street. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is developing the project, which sits directly to the south of the original 16-acre World Trade Center complex and rests above the subterranean ramps and southern entrance to the Vehicle Security Center.
Recent photographs show the marble façade following the wide geometrically pleated structural frame that makes up the curved edges of the church. Vertical metal strips are now also attached to the northeastern corner that will hold up additional slabs. This entire side of the edifice sits mostly in the shade year round, except for a handful of days in the early summer in the late morning and sunset hours, so we’ll have to wait until the marble walls go up on the other three sides to see how bright they shine in the sunlight. Each slabs appears to be finished with an off-white tone with a fairly even color distribution and subtle veining.
Meanwhile, a couple of the skylight panels were spotted covered in thin black 3M film. These will let natural light into the interior space below, but for now this section of the dome will remain covered until more of the church progresses.
Other work awaiting completion in Liberty Park includes a final set of staircases against the northern profile of Caltrava’s Church. Renderings show an arched cutout below with a doorway that might lead visitors underneath the church, possibly to an elevator for more direct ADA-compliant accessibility than the long ramps on the eastern edge of Liberty Park to the main doors.
Santiago Calatrava’s architectural concept for the church was inspired by Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia and Church of the Holy Savior of Chora. A painting of Jesus Christ will adorn the underside of the dome’s highest point.
No finalized completion date has been announced for the church, though banners on the construction fence read “Coming 2021.”