A Design Problem

The Oculus at the World Trade Center has as its signature design element exposed truss work that – to me, anyway – greatly resembles the skeleton of a stegosaurus. Whether or not that design is good aesthetically is not really a topic I want to debate. But there’s a usability issue that I noticed the other day, as I was descending an escalator: portions of the trusses are really filthy because they are obviously not cleaned because they are difficult to get to.

The picture above shows the main floor and parts of some of the truss work below the upper mezzanine. (The blank white area at the top is the fascia of the mezzanine level floor framing.) The trusses sort of loop under the mezzanine, and at each truss there is a diagonal brace that runs from the truss up to the mezzanine underside. The only way to get to the tops of those braces is from a very tall ladder on the main floor or using a broom with a very long extension handle. Here’s a close up:

How much dust build-up is required to get those riverbed patterns forming?

I’m not blaming the maintenance workers: it would never have occurred to me that they needed to dust such an odd, diffficult-to-reach place. But a design that creates such places where they are visible is a design that has a maintenance problem.

Scroll to Top