World Trade Center church by Santiago Calatrava

Santiago Calatrava's World Trade Center church illuminated for first time

The St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has been illuminated in New York as construction nears completion.

Currently under construction in Manhattan, the church is being built as part of the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

World Trade Center church by Santiago Calatrava
St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was illuminated for the first time

The building will replace a 19th-century church of the same name that stood at 155 Cedar Street and was destroyed on 11 September 2001.

It was illuminated during a service that recently took place outside the church to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the attacks, which resulted in the collapse of the 110-storey World Trade Center towers.

World Trade Center church by Santiago Calatrava
It is under construction next to the 9/11 Memorial

The church is being built on top of the World Trade Center Vehicle Security Center alongside the 9/11 memorial that stands on the site of the former twin towers.

Its shape was informed by Byzantine architecture, in particular the Hagia Sofia and the medieval Greek Orthodox Chora Church – both in Istanbul.

Priest outside illuminated church
A service was held outside the church to mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks

Set around 25 feet (seven metres) above street level, the church's central feature is a drum-shaped structure topped by a dome.

Made from steel and concrete, this part of the church is clad in thin sheets of Pentelic marble so that it can be illuminated to appear like a beacon at night.

Although it was recently illuminated, construction of the church is still progressing and the facade is not yet complete.

The building is expected to open around halfway through 2022.

World Trade Center church by Santiago Calatrava
The form was informed by Byzantine churches

The St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church will join a number of buildings that have been built on the site over the past 20 years including the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, which was also designed by Calatrava.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Dezeen explored how the site was rebuilt.

We also spoke to Daniel Libeskind, the architect who masterplanned the rebuilding, who said that "everything changed in architecture" after the attacks.

Photography is courtesy of GOA / Dimitrios Panagos.