St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 2022
The Oculus isn’t Santiago Calatrava’s only work at the World Trade Center. A few paces to the south, the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church rises from the terraced landscape of Liberty Park. The original church—which stood at 155 Cedar Street in the shadow of the South Tower—was the only house of worship destroyed on 9/11. Not without its own controversies and setbacks, the new $95 million shrine finally opened to the public in December 2022.
Inspired by Byzantine architecture, in particular Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, Calatrava has called the 4,200-square-foot Saint Nicholas “scaleless… an abstract thing, like a large sculpture.” Colorful icon- ographic murals painted by a Greek monk, Father Loukas from the Xenophontos Monastery in Mount Athos, adorn the interior walls of the five-story-tall cylindrical domed nave. Like the Performing Arts Center across the memorial plaza to the north, the church features a translucent marble exterior that glows at night.