Arup Design Team Announces Installation of Sky Reflector-Net at Fulton Center

New transit center slated to open June 2014

Aug 07, 2013, 14:20 ET from Arup

NEW YORK, Aug. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Arup, a multidisciplinary engineering and consulting firm with a reputation for delivering innovative and sustainable designs, announced today the installation of a reflective cable net structure that will help orient future passengers who pass through the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of New York's Fulton Center. Sky Reflector-Net (2013), an integrated artwork, is an artist, architect, engineer collaboration with James Carpenter Design Associates, Grimshaw Architects, and Arup, commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design and MTA Capital Construction Company (MTACC). Sky Reflector-Net expands the architectural expression of the central meeting place within the Fulton Center, and provides engineering and technical functionality in the operation and security of the facility.

Opening in June 2014, the Fulton Center is a modern subway interchange that revitalizes post 9/11 Lower Manhattan. It is an important hub for the more than 300,000 transit riders who pass through the Center's 11 subway lines and New Jersey PATH connection each weekday.  The Center reunites six formerly separate subway stations in the blocks around the World Trade Center, City Hall Park and Broadway. Central to this effort is the major historic preservation and restoration of the landmarked Corbin Building as an entry and retail pavilion.

In 2003 Arup was appointed prime design consultant to the MTA, and since then has led and delivered a wide range of multidisciplinary design services as well as overall planning and project management for the $1.4 billion transit center project. As architect for the Center's superstructure, Grimshaw Architects designed a three-story glazed pavilion set around a central eight-story dome structure. At the summit, a 53 ft. diameter circular skylight known as the oculus is inclined to the southern sky and decorated with glass lenses, to capture light and redirect it deep into the station below. The dome interior contains a delicate cable net structure lined with polished aluminum shields that further enhance the luminous quality of the space and reflects the sky scene above.

Following MTA's public art competition to commission an artist for the Fulton Center, the winning entry by JCDA built upon the architectural concept established by Grimshaw Architects and Arup that envisaged a reflector designed to drive sunlight downward. Through a design collaboration between Arup, Grimshaw Architects, and JCDA, this concept was refined into a steel cable net structure supporting nearly 1,000 coated aluminum infill panels using flexible, universal node connection assemblies.

Composed of 112 tensioned cables, 224 high-strength rods and nearly 10,000 individual stainless steel components, the design of the steel cable net sculpture emphasizes simplicity of construction and optimal performance in all environmental conditions. Arup developed 815 unique scenarios based on the possible permutations of air pressure, indoor temperature, and building movement within the Fulton Center dome. Each scenario produced a slightly different cable net shape. The net will assume these shapes over the course of its lifetime as the environmental conditions within the space change. The Fulton Center cable net is a powerful example of the capacity of a large tensile structure to define a landmark public space.

Additional project team members working on the broader Fulton Center project include architect and historic preservationist Page Ayres Cowley Architects, architects HDR | Daniel Frankfurt. Engineering firm Schlaich Bergermann und Partner contributed to concept phase design development.  Sky Reflector-Net installation is being led by Enclos, with fabrication and material provided by Tripyramid Structures, and the general contractor (GC) for the Transit Center construction package is the Plaza Schiavone Joint Venture and GC for the Corbin Building Judlau Contracting.

About Arup
Arup is the creative force at the heart of many of the world's most prominent projects in the built environment and across industry. Its engineers and consultants deliver innovative projects across the world. The firm was founded in 1946 with an enduring set of values that fosters a distinctive culture, intellectual independence and collaborative approach. The people at Arup are driven to find a better way to deliver better solutions for their clients. (


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