By the Numbers: How We Built the WTC Transportation Hub and Oculus

The New York City World Trade Center Transportation Hub and winged Oculus that sits atop it was incredibly complex to build.

We developed this infographic to explain just how our workers did it:

2016 INFOGRAPHIC-WTCOculus

Check out the story of the construction – in our employees own words – here.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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A worker’s perspective on the Oculus and PATH Hall at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub

Over the last six years, our project team of 5,000 workers has logged more than 600,000 hours to complete the Oculus World Trade Center transportation hub, which opened March 3 in downtown Manhattan. We are so grateful to everyone who worked around the clock, seven days a week for their hard work and dedication to complete an iconic new structure connecting 11 subway lines, PATH rail system, Battery Park Ferry Terminal, the WTC memorial, WTC Towers 1, 2, 3 and 4 as well as the World Financial Center and Fulton Transit Center.

Watch to hear more from the team who built the Oculus and PATH Hall.

Here’s a perspective on the project from the people who built it, in their own words:

Paul (1)

 

“What Grand Central is to midtown, the Oculus is to downtown. It’s in the heart of the Financial District and will connect all the downtown workers to the rest of the tristate area.”

—Paul Orso, Senior Engineer

 

“The Oculus was a tough job to work on, but the challenges are what made it great. My family worked on the original Twin Towers so I was proud to be part of the next generation of construction workers building at the World Trade Center.”

—Steven A. Koch, Project Manager

 

“Downtown Manhattan was strictly business. Now it is becoming more residential and tourist focused. The World Trade Center is becoming a more central point and tying everything together adds to the area’s rejuvenation.”

—Steven Rosen, Office Engineer

 

 

“The Oculus is special to me because I worked at the World Trade Center doing the clean up after the towers dropped. I’m proud I was able to be part of rebuilding and bringing it back up.”

—Jimmy Beckett, Iron Worker

 

“I am so proud I had a part in building the Oculus. I always tell the team they should be proud of the project, their kids will be proud of it, and their family and friends will be proud of it.”

—Bobby Fennell, Iron Worker

 

 

“For a lot of the people that live in New York City, especially that were hit so hard by the tragedy that happened on 9/11, it’s great to see that New York City has come together to build something new here. To me this project says, ‘you could hurt us as much as you want but we’re gonna come back stronger than last time.”

— Hayden Weschler, Assistant Superintendent

Ryan Hirce

 

“I think a lot of people didn’t know what we were building at the World Trade Center because they couldn’t see, but as it’s opening up now, they’re saying, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’”

— Ryan Hirce, Superintendent

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Our top 10 blog posts of 2014

Between the MetLife Stadium we constructed hosting the Super Bowl, completing a Santiago Calatrava masterpiece and making major progress on one of the largest U.S. public-private partnerships, it’s been an exciting year for us! As we close out the final days of 2014, we’re taking a look back at our ten most popular posts here on Constructive Thinking. We can’t wait for what 2015 will bring.

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Here are those posts, in order of popularity:

1.  Ever wonder how an underwater tunnel is built? Check out this step-by-step guide to the process currently underway at our joint venture’s Elizabeth River Tunnels P3 in Hampton Roads, Virginia: How we’re submersing 16,000-ton segments to create Virginia’s newest tunnel.

2.  This year’s Super Bowl saw the Seahawks and Broncos face off in MetLife Stadium, which we completed in 2010. The Seahawks took home the Vince Lombardi trophy inside one of the nation’s most technologically-advanced and energy-efficient stadiums. Here’s How to build a stadium that can tackle the Big Game.

3.  Before we could immerse the tunnel tubes for Elizabeth River Tunnels, first we had to float the 16,000-ton hollow concrete segments 220 miles down the Chesapeake Bay. We recapped the incredible journey in photos: Virginia’s latest highway tunnel begins with a trip down the Chesapeake Bay.

4.  Our high-stakes concrete pour at Miami’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science required 25 hours of non-stop placement to complete the suspended, martini glass-shaped 500,000-gallon seawater aquarium tank without any cracks. Gizmodo was impressed by our team’s precision. Watch teamwork in action in a stunning time-lapse: Our team was neither shaken nor stirred on this epic concrete pour.

5.  The Calatrava-designed Innovation, Science and Technology Building at Florida Polytechnic University is one of the most striking and challenging buildings we have built. This fall the university, the first STEM-focused college in the Sunshine State, welcomed its inaugural class of students. You don’t want to miss these pictures: This Calatrava masterpiece comes to life exactly as envisioned.

6.  At Skanska, we’re engaging with our clients to find ways to use building information modeling to improve the whole life cycle of buildings, not just during design and construction. For a facility owner, utilizing BIM for operations and maintenance uses can have substantial benefits. Here are Five ways virtual modeling can improve facilities management.

7.  Airports play an essential part in our economy and our lives. And yet, in the U.S. many of our airports have gone decades without major upgrades. MacAdam Glinn, national director of our Aviation Center of Excellence, examined the economic and consumer forces shaping our airports in the infographic The evolution of airports: trends in aviation construction and on NPR.

8.  Public-private partnerships are becoming increasingly important financing solutions for the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. While much attention has been focused on how P3s can help cities and states move forward on transportation projects, there’s growing interest in using P3s to improve such social infrastructure as courthouses and hospitals. Learn more in P3s aren’t just for transportation – here’s how they can help with public buildings too.

9.  As we work toward an Injury-Free Environment®, it’s essential to understand the potential hazards and the kinds of behaviors that can lead to harm. For Safety Week 2014, we crafted a visual reminder of what is at stake and what can be done to prevent accidents: It’s work, not war: How to prevent deadly harm in construction.

10.  From tunnel-boring machines to laser scanners, our teams get to build with some rather incredible equipment and technology. In downtown San Francisco, for example, we’re using two giant crawler cranes to assemble 24,000 tons of structural steel for the Transbay Transit Center, known as the Grand Central Station of the West. That steel weighs about the same as 111 Boeing 747-400s! Learn more in: Get to know the newest additions to the San Francisco skyline.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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This Calatrava masterpiece comes to life – exactly as envisioned

This Saturday, Florida’s first STEM-focused college, Florida Polytechnic University, will mark its formal opening and the beginning of the 2015 school year. The Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building that is the centerpiece of the campus was designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava and built by Skanska, as part of a collaborative team of numerous design and construction partners.

You might be impressed by the project’s facts: this 160,000-square-foot structure was completed on-time and within the strict $60 million budget. This was accomplished despite such immense challenges as 90 percent of the structure being on a radius and having to find a way to build never-done-before louver arms that rise up to 12 stories above grade, and then hydraulically lower – all to ensure the optimum amount of daylight enters the building. And importantly,  there were no lost-time injuries over the four years of work,  thanks to each team member staying highly engaged.

But what made this project really special was the intense trust developed between the designers and our construction team, how every craft worker understood they were creating a structure of which they could be forever proud, and how through our team’s hard work to truly understand Calatrava’s intent for the project so they could convey that to our trade partners, the IST building has been delivered exactly in line with Calatrava’s original vision. It’s rare that that happens, even more so on a project like this.

“Completing this project makes my team and I feel extremely happy and at the same time somewhat sad,” said Chuck Jablon, the Skanska vice president who has overseen this project from the beginning. “This Skanska team wishes it would never end. We felt challenged every day and each day brought our team closer together, as everyone had different skill sets that we all relied on to overcome the greatest of opportunities. I am most proud of each and every one of my Skanska team members and look forward to see how they continue with the knowledge and experience gained on this magical modern marvel of the 21st century.”

So before the crowds arrive for tomorrow’s celebration, we invite you to explore this building.

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The butterfly-like aluminum louver arms are raised to let in the evening sun. Of the design, Jablon said, “You can’t tell me that this design hasn’t captured you. Calatrava captures your curiosity on the drawings alone. Then, when you start building it and you see it evolve, he gets your heart. And when the building is far enough along so you can see the full design realized, he’s damn sure captured your soul.” (Credit for all photos: Macbeth Photography)

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Construction was a collaborative process, in which Skanska focused on engaging all the stakeholders in the construction and design process from beginning to end. As Scott Judy of ENR writes, we worked to “break down traditional silos of silence between the design and construction team.”

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Inside, the roof’s exposed underbelly reveals concrete rakers that converge at an apex containing a skylight. A grand staircase takes center stage. Throughout the building, the concrete is clean and crisp – which required tremendous attention to detail and concrete craftsmanship from our team.

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The complex rooftop system is supported by a concrete ring beam – 72 inches deep and 30 inches wide – that encircles the interior of the second floor’s grand common area. On the building’s radii, each column rotates on another angle. This building has about 300 radius points, with an incredible 90 percent of everything done on a radius. As Jablon said, “You see the radius – do you feel it?”

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Calatrava designed the building to inspire students with a sense of optimism: “My first aim is to make an inspirational environment for the students and the professors and everyone working here.”

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Executing this design required forging a sincere bond between Skanska and Calatrava’s team. “This has been one of the best relationships I’ve had professionally with a contractor,” said Frank Lorino, chief architect of Calatrava’s New York office. “It hasn’t been without disagreement, but we know we’re both working for the same goal – the highest quality of project possible for the means that we have.”

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The building’s exterior is wrapped by a pergola of lightweight aluminum trellis that covers walkways and gathering spaces. In addition to being visually stunning, the pergola also helps the building function efficiently, reducing the structure’s solar load by 30 percent.

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The building’s amphitheater showcases the team’s craftsmanship. So much of the building’s detail is understated: from the rotation of the columns, to the quality of the concrete pours and the challenging patterns cut into the floors. As students embark on their STEM education, they’ll appreciate the work that went into achieving these features even more.

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Jablon and the Skanska team relished the building process. “I wanted to do it,” he said. “If you’re a builder, this is what you dream about doing in your career. It’s an opportunity to take your experience and your knowledge and gather people you’ve worked with throughout your career and say, ‘Friends, we’ve got one. We’ve got what we’ve been dreaming about our whole career.’ That’s what it is about.”

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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At Florida Polytechnic University, building under the spotlight

Many have built designs by noted architect Santiago Calatrava, but few – if any – have delivered these highly complex structures within the clients’ budget and schedule goals, and through a smooth construction process. After all, if a starchitect designs the building, won’t the project be so complex that it’s destined to be late and over budget.

Skanska is proving that notion wrong as we near completion of the 160,000-square-foot Innovation, Science and Technology Building in central Florida, the centerpiece of a new campus for Florida Polytechnic University. Projects don’t get much more complex than this, with 90 percent of the building on a radius; the glazed roof covered with operable louver arms that will reach up to 12 stories above grade to regulate light into the building; and a soaring cast-in-place concrete structure that required the highest standards of craftsmanship. All this was done on a $60 million budget.

“We’re proving the naysayers wrong,” said Chuck Jablon, Skanska vice president. “Our team is getting this project in budget without compromising Calatrava’s design.”

While it’s been under construction, this building has been in a Dodge Ram commercial, has developed a popular mascot – Kittiago Calatrava (the team’s adopted kitten) – and has been the subject of scores of media attention. Here’s a recap of some of what the media has to say about this compelling project:

Pictures are worth a thousand words, but to really get a feel for the building take a look at these videos:

This video shows Santiago’s vision for the Florida Polytechnic University campus and the Innovation, Science and Technology (ITS) building.

ABC Action News takes a look at the new university’s construction.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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A Q&A with architect Santiago Calatrava

Bill Flemming, president of Skanska USA Building, met with world-renowned designer Santiago Calatrava to discuss the successes of our two joint projects: Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Fla., and, in New York City, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and its dramatic Oculus entrance structure.

Florida Polytechnic University 9-5-13 04

Florida Polytechnic University

Flemming: Santiago, in your opinion, what were some of the successes of the Florida Polytechnic project that stand out to you the most?

Calatrava: One of the main successes of this project is how my team and Skanska worked together to deliver a price certain design and construction process for such a complex building. Effective collaboration is the key to success. It shows that great things can be built.

Flemming: When you are dealing with a complex project like Florida Polytechnic – or the Oculus– what is the most important characteristic you desire in a contractor?

Calatrava: I have always respected contractors and admired their capacity to deliver. When working with Skanska on the Polytechnic project, we could not believe how easily you were able to attack the most complex components. There were never any problems that couldn’t be addressed. And in the end, you gave us better solutions. This project is an exceptional project. And it will be completed under budget.

That is truly exceptional.

Oculus

The Oculus entrance at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub

Flemming: Getting to price certainty is a real challenge in this industry. What do you think the best solution is?

Calatrava: When the architect and builder work together, the owner always benefits. If you, as the contractor, give us the chance to design something better, we will take that opportunity. When you are working hand-in-hand, the building will only be more innovative.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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