REX CLADS «MYSTERY BOX» WORLD TRADE CENTER PERFORMANCE ARTS CENTER IN TRANSLUCENT MARBLE

 Architecture studio Rex has revealed the translucent-marble-clad Perelman Performing Arts Center at New York’s World Trade Center site.

Located alongside One World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, the Perelman Performing Arts Center by Rex comprises a cubic structure with thin marble cladding. Davis Brody Bond served as the executive architect on the project.

The thin stone allows for light to pass through, creating ambient light inside during the day and a glowing effect at night. Natural patterns in the stone were arranged to create a relatively symmetrical pattern across the facade.

The marble was sandwiched between glass panels, which help shelter the interior from noise. The translucent material was also chosen for its ability to let light in while masking the activity within the building.

Rex has completed the Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center site

«It was made pretty explicit to us that you shouldn’t see any kind of commercial activity from the memorial,» Rex founding principal Joshua Ramus told Dezeen.

«The idea of coming up with translucent marble was that it was pure, elegant, respectful of the site right next door, but then would have the ability to assert itself at night when it was operational.»

The need to respect the adjacent memorial to the destroyed World Trade Center buildings was not the only challenge of the site.

It sits on top of four storeys of city infrastructure, including subway systems and an access ramp for a port authority building. Due to this, the primary spaces of the Perelman had to be lifted 21 feet (6.4 metres) above street level, marked on the outside by a black plinth below the marble structure.

On top of that, the architecture studio had to deal with the existing foundation leftover from the cancelled Frank Gehry building initially planned for the site.

«All the below-grade infrastructure was built based on Frank Gehry’s design,» said Ramus.

«So we had to come back in and retrofit or reverse engineer the structure and find any place that we could thread the structure down through what was built. His building was twice the size of ours.»

The studio found the seven load-bearing columns left by Gehry’s project and «played a game of twister» to support the new building. This constraint led to the dramatic cantilevered entrance to the structure, which Ramus said many people mistakenly thought was a design «conceit», adding that if they were to have a cantilever, it might as well be dramatic.

In addition to the structural complications, the site also led to challenges in the program for the performance areas, an aspect that Ramus said was central to the conception of the building in general.

«Everyone talks about the facade, but the thing that is super interesting is the reconfigurable auditoria,» he said………..

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