The original St. Nicholas Church was crushed on Sept. 11, 2001 as the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. Besides the towers of the World Trade Center, it was the only building destroyed by the attacks. The $20 million design dismisses the look of the old parish church it’s replacing altogether, proposing a new non-denominational bereavement center.
Readers may remember that the proposal for an Islamic community center and mosque on the site two years ago ignited furious debate. This new design proposal purposefully considers this pre-existing controversy: The church’s modern Byzantine design draws inspiration from traditional religious structures found in the east, many of which were of course used for Islamic worship. In fact, the dome will be comprised of 40 ribs, just like the dome of Hagia Sophia.
As Rev. Mark Arey, spokesman for the Greek Orthodox archdiocese stated, “The dome, invented by the Mycenaean Greeks, was a Christian form of architecture that was borrowed by the Islamic world,” he said. “There are going to be some wonderful teachable moments down the road.”
The new St. Nicholas is set to open in early 2016. Find out more about the design