The Winter Garden Atrium is a 10-story glass-vaulted pavilion on Vesey Street in New York City's Brookfield Place office complex. Designed by Diana Balmori, the Atrium was originally constructed in 1988, and substantially rebuilt in 2002, the Atrium houses various plants, trees and flowers, and shops. The rear of the building opens onto the World Financial Center Plaza and the North Cove Yacht Harbor on the Hudson River.
The Winter Garden Atrium, along with the rest of the Brookfield Place (formerly World Financial Center), was designed by architect César Pelli in 1985. Completed in 1988 at a cost of $60 million, the Atrium was originally connected to the World Trade Center via a 400 ft (120 m) pedestrian bridge that spanned West Street.
The Atrium was severely damaged in the September 11, 2001 attacks as almost all the glass panes were blown out by the dust clouds and debris caused by the collapse of the Twin Towers, but was rebuilt during the first year of the Financial Center's recovery. Reconstruction of the Winter Garden required 2,000 panes of glass, 60,000 square feet (5,400 m²) of marble flooring and stairs, and sixteen 40 ft (12 m) Washingtonia robusta palm trees at a cost of $50 million. Reopened on September 17, 2002, the Winter Garden was the first major structure to be completely restored following the attacks. President George W. Bush was present at the reopening ceremony.
The pedestrian bridge was destroyed in the same attacks and was replaced by windows facing the former site of the World Trade Center.
Since its construction, the Winter Garden Atrium has hosted concerts and symphonies as part of the World Financial Center Series. Upon its reopening in 2002, the atrium held ballets, concerts, a performance by the Big Apple Circus, and a production of The Downtown Messiah, a modern interpretation of Handel's classical oratorio, directed by Richard Barone.
In the spring of 2003, an exhibit documenting the recovery process of the World Trade Center was installed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation in the Winter Garden. The exhibit included early designs of Libeskind's Freedom Tower. Later that year, the eight finalists in the competition for the new buildings had their designs unveiled and displayed in the atrium.
The Winter Garden continues to serve as a venue for art exhibits, music, and shows, as well as hosting movie screenings during the TriBeCa Film Festival.
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