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The Theater Machine: An Example of Below-Grade Infrastructure | Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center


photographed by
Iwan Baan
materials provided by
edited by
Park Jiyoun

SPACE March 2024 (No. 676) 



Interview​ Joshua Ramus principal, REX × Park Jiyoun 



Park Jiyoun (Park): As a key piece in Daniel Libeskind’s master plan for the post-9/11 World Trade Center site, could you explain the role of the Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center (PAC NYC) within the mater plan? 

Joshua Ramus (Ramus): In the Libeskind’s master plan, there are office centres and public buildings (an iconic new transportation station and a performing arts centre). Embracing the restorative power of art, PAC NYC is the cultural keystone and final public element in the master plan. A producing house for music, theatre, dance, opera, and film, PAC NYC has a pure form – rotated and elevated to accommodate complex below- and at-grade constraints – and is wrapped in translucent marble. 



Park: Unlike the surrounding buildings, which were designed using transparent glass curtain walls, your building is finished with translucent marble curtain walls. 

Ramus: The entire 117ft (35.7m) marble-glass skin is a single, supple drape suspended from the top of the building that satis...

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REX (Joshua Ramus)

Design team

Alysen Hiller Fiore, Maur Dessauvage, Adam Chizma


251 Fulton Street, New York, U.S.


culture and assembly facility

Site area


Building area




Building to land ratio


Floor area ratio



steel frame

Exterior finishing

marble, glass

Interior finishing

walnut plank

Structural engineer

MKA (Jay Taylor), Silman (Nat Oppenheimer)


Sciame Construction (Frank Sciame)

Design period

2014 - 2020

Construction period

2018 - 2023


500 million USD

Façade engineer


MEP, IT, fire protection

Jaros Baum & Bolles

Joshua Ramus
Joshua Ramus is the founding principal of the internationally acclaimed architecture studio REX. He leads the design of all the firm’s projects, which have been widely lauded in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, Vogue, New York Magazine, and Time.