The “Way of Light” shines in New York

Nick Myall
Monday 11 Sep 2017

The anniversary of September the 11th is marked at Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus in New York with the symbolic “Way of Light”

It has been 16 years since one of the most devastating days in US history. Almost 3,000 people died when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Centre skyscrapers, the Pentagon, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.

The symbolic “Way of Light” moment in the World Trade Centre Hub happens every year on the morning of Sept 11th. In accordance with Santiago Calatrava’s design, the WTC Hub was oriented on the WTC site so that every Sept. 11th at exactly 10:28am the sunlight makes its way across the Oculus floor, through the skylight, exactly along the axis of the building, starting at the time the last tower fell (this is why the building is not totally perpendicular to Church Street). 

The “Way of Light” is the path along which the light travels inside the main hall of the Oculus, through the open skylight, symbolizing the light that continues to shine through after the darkness of the tragedy. It’s a very simple and poignant moment where the Hub is entirely illuminated and sun-drenched in natural light. One of the most beautiful days/times of the year in the Oculus.

The rebuilding of One World Trade Centre is now almost complete. The tower stands 104 stories and 1,776 feet tall (including its somewhat controversial spire, which shines every night) and which initially opened in 2014. Its design is the creation of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s David Childs. At the top of the building is One World Observatory, which opened in May 2015 and has since welcomed more than three million visitors.

Meanwhile, rebuilding continues at the Ground Zero site. The third of four planned office towers is on course to open next year, as is a Greek Orthodox church next to the World Trade Centre that was crushed by the South Tower’s collapse, while work towards a $250m (£190m) performing arts centre also continues.

Plans were also announced this spring to transform a grassy clearing on the memorial plaza into a walkway and area dedicated to 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, including those who died of illnesses years after being exposed to smoke, dust and ash at Ground Zero.

Nick Myall

News editor

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