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Architecture students get unique tour of spectacular Oculus building


Architecture students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) were given a behind the scenes tour of one of New York’s most recognisable buildings by the architect who designed it.

The first item on Architecture students’ #DMUglobal itinerary was to learn all about the architecture of the transport hub for Manhattan’s iconic World Trade Center, which is known as the Oculus.


Frank Lorino, chief architect of the Oculus, gave an in-depth talk summarising the inspiration for the design and the numerous challenges he faced during the 12 year project.

He then led the students around the building, explaining specific details of the Oculus’ architecture and outlining how the legacy of the 9/11 disaster influenced the way this building was designed, as well as how it is now able to function as one of the city’s most important modern transport hubs.

Nezamadin Azizi, one of the third year students who took part in the tour was blown away by the sheer scale of the project.

He said: “The architects talked all about the details and how the building was put together. The most interesting thing for me is the stairs, they look like they are floating but stand up quite well.

“There are a lot of things I can take away from this for my course, but one of the main things is the repetitive architecture, how it repeats all the way down and it’s quite beautiful.”

Another student, James Evans, added: “I found it interesting that from the plans the architects could point out the most interesting things from the building. When you build a building you can see your creation come to life.”

Oculus Tour

DMU’s Head of Architecture Simon Bradbury believes that this unique experience will provide the students with a range of academic benefits.

He said: “A really interesting lesson for the students was seeing the complexity of the project, all of the different engineers that were involved, all the different stakeholders and how you work together to get something of this quality complete.”

Following the tour of the Oculus, the Architecture students headed a few blocks further downtown for a tour of historical Dutch New Amsterdam.

The tour guide described the architecture of early New York prior to British occupation and showed the students some examples of the stunning buildings in the Wall Street area of the city and explored some of the rich history which is abundant in that district of Manhattan.

New Amsterdam Tour

Adarshini Burrun, another third year Architecture student, said: “It’s been an amazing day. It’s really great to see the history of architecture and how much it has changed.

“There are definitely things I’ve learned that I can apply to my course. My project in Berlin is an underground construction and we saw an underground building in the Oculus which is perfect, I can use the technology behind it for my design and take influence from it.”
Posted on Sunday 7th January 2018

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