WTC Oculus

March 3, 2017

the grafton marble floor at the oculus at the world trade center

We are a proud supplier of Grafton Cloud Marble, the signature white stone for the World Trade Center (WTC) Transportation Hub designed by Santiago Calatrava.  Grafton Cloud Marble was specified after an intensive 5 year stone and quarry selection process.  Over 350,000 square feet of honed finish cut-to-size Grafton Cloud Marble was used for the floors, walls, stairs and benches of this graceful structure.

Mr. Calatrava describes ‘light as a structural element’ in his Oculus design: both in capturing the ‘wedge of light’ of each September’s autumnal equinox – culminating when the skylights open for 102 minutes on September 11th, but also in creating a light-filled, cathedral-like entry point to the city. He also speaks of aiming, through architecture as art, to elevate the experience for the every day worker passing through, while conceding its ‘technically ambitious’ design required the ‘will’ of New York to accept the challenge.

The Oculus design is sculptural and elegant but also – as a transportation hub – highly functional in its brightness, allowing natural daylight to flood through all levels and eventually to the PATH train platform, approximately 60 ft below the street. Long connecting corridors are ‘at once imposingly cavernous and celestially illuminated’. Finding a white stone that would stand up to the incredible demands of the use was paramount.

Grafton Cloud Marble was chosen for this demanding application because it is the highest quality, most beautiful white marble in the world.  The stone is very strong, hard and dense and has extremely low absorption rates.  It is an excellent choice for both exterior and interior applications.  Its brilliance and clarity is unmatched by any other white marble in the world. The Oculus design was ambitious in many ways, and the stone was no exception.

Although a massive project in scale, the stone was highly selected: each and every piece used in the project was laid out and blended by the architects in Italy.  Also, a large percentage of the project was cubic and curved, requiring complex geometry and CNC machining with very precise tolerances.

Craig Markcrow, President of Vermont Structural Slate