Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Bess Adler/Thornton Tomasetti.
We provided structural design, façade engineering, and blast design services for a new shrine to replace a church destroyed in the September 11 terrorist attacks. We worked in conjunction with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in planning for and constructing this facility. The new church, which is located at the eastern end of Liberty Park, will include a meditation/bereavement space and a community center for visitors.
Steel and Concrete Structure
The structure is composed mainly of reinforced concrete and features an exposed structural steel dome over the nave, which consists of 40 separate ribs that cover a span of 55 feet. A concrete drum at the main roof level supports this expansive dome. The church sits atop below-grade service areas for the adjacent World Trade Center complex. A thick concrete transfer slab under the church’s structure distributes the loads down to the column grid, leaving the service areas undisturbed.
The dome and drum form a double-skin façade, composed of thin panels of white translucent marble encased in laminated glass. The outermost layer functions as a glowing translucent rainscreen system, which will be lit from within the rainscreen cavity at night. The inner layer will serve as a weather barrier and allows light to diffuse from the interstitial and exterior spaces into the interior areas.
The façade engineers used advanced computational modeling to rationalize the dome and vault panelization, which allowed for use of an economic façade system with flat glass and stone panels in unitized aluminum frames.
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