The new Fulton Center subway hub will finally open to the public. The MTA celebrated the opening of the $1.4 billion transit complex, now the biggest transit hub in NYC.
Situated in the heart of Lower Manhattan, MTA’s Fulton Center is designed to be a catalyst for the redevelopment of the area. Handling an average of 275,000 passengers per day and linking nine subway lines, the station complex is one of New York City’s busiest underground transit interchanges.
The MTA appointed Arup, with Grimshaw, to develop designs for a new transit hub, with re-engineered platform and passenger access below ground. The Transit Center is organised around a grand civic space at its core.
This atrium design is topped by a glass oculus and defined by a hyperbolic paraboloid cable net, stretched within a cone, developed in partnership with artist James Carpenter.
Fulton Center’s most prominent architectural feature is the slanted, hyperboloid domed atrium of glass and steel that serves as the main complex. Stretched within that structure is its sculptural centrepiece, a dramatic cable net whose reflective panels will bounce natural light down to the lowest level of the atrium.
Arup’s structural designers applied parametric modeling tools to work out the sculpture’s complex, non-uniform geometry. The cable net’s unique, curving lines come from a system of tensioned cables, connected at thousands of points via a standard, universal component.
Each individual connection is subject to unique stresses based on its position within the cable net. Even minor changes to the overall design of the cable net would change its overall geometry and affect the individual components.
The technique links building information modelling to the power of parametric design, by which individual components are defined by their geometry, not their actual size.
The result was a flexible, interactive “real-time” model of the structure. In this manner, the impact of changes to even a single structural attribute would be instantly reflected throughout the overall structure and its subcomponents, allowing for rapid design assessment and validation.
This cable net supports an inner skin of filigree metal reflector panels, optimised to capture and distribute year round daylight to the deepest levels of the transit centre. The planning of the building is organised to streamline the transfer of passengers around the central space, providing an intuitive means of wayfinding.
Location: New York City, USA
Architect: ARUP and Grimshaw & Partners
Partners: HDR / Daniel Frankfurt, Page Ayres Cowley Architects, Lee Harris Pomeroy Associates
Area: 26,000 sf
Client: MTA Capital Construction, New York City Transit
Photographs: Tod Seelie