NEW YORK – Some 21 years after it was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States that brought down the Twin Towers in New York City, the new St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church rising in its place is among the most eagerly awaited architectural openings of 2022.
In a review by the site Galerie, the design by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was among the nine most anticipated of the year because of its soaring mixed-use transit center – known as the Oculus – and a replacement shrine for the congregation.
It was seven years in the making and is sheathed in the famed Greek white Pentelic stone and features translucent cutouts that the site said emit a hypnotic glow at night in an almost mystic and religious sense.
The overall design was inspired by Byzantine churches, particularly the revered ancient Hagia Sophia in Constantinople which was turned into a mosque by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Calatrava even matched the number of ribs in Aghia Sophia’s dome.
The original church was in a three-story row house dating back to the 1830’s and was destroyed in the collapse of the Twin Towers in the aftermath of their being struck by commercial aircraft plowed into them by terrorist hijackers.