New York City’s newest transit hub, Fulton Center was recently opened to the public. Appointed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Construction Company as lead architect in collaboration with prime design consultant Arup, Grimshaw has designed a dynamic transport environment that will streamline connectivity and enhance the user experience for 300,000 daily transit passengers.

Considered as a major project amidst the surging redevelopment of Lower Manhattan, the Fulton Center transit hub is a vital link to this commercial centre and its growing residential sector, ultimately connecting eleven New York City Transit subway lines and easing access to PATH trains serving New Jersey.

Inspired by the ambience and activity of Grand Central Station, Grimshaw endeavoured to design a similar environment for transit customers and visitors, creating a new entry point to downtown New York. According to Grimshaw Project Partner Vincent Chang, by providing a dramatic, light-filled civic space and incorporating the historic Corbin Building, the transit centre represents a microcosm of Lower Manhattan’s evolution.

The Fulton Center is organised around a large-scale atrium contained within an elegant, transparent facade. Design highlights include tapered steel columns inspired by the historic neighbourhood’s cast-iron buildings; open design providing unimpeded customer movement and sightlines across a level ground plane extending from the major thoroughfares of Broadway and Fulton Street; carefully aligned entrances and exits allowing the streetscape to permeate the building, defining clear and efficient pathways to all trains; and brighter, widened passageways with clear signage connecting the complex array of platforms.

A conical dome tops the transit hub’s 120-feet high atrium and is truncated by an angled glass oculus oriented to the southern sky, redirecting natural light deep into the transit environment in an effort to humanise the space and orient passengers. Sky Reflector-Net (2013) is the work of an engineer, architect and artist; a collaboration with Arup, Grimshaw and James Carpenter Design Associates, commissioned by the MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design and MTA Capital Construction Company. Held aloft below the oculus, the artwork paints an ever-changing image of the sky across the atrium interior.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the new station has simplified travel for subway riders, and is a beautiful public space for visitors and commuters to enjoy.