Matt Crawford knows white Italian marble.
"Is it expensive? A hundred percent yes, it's expensive. Is it going to be very difficult to maintain? A thousand percent, yes.
"Would I have maybe picked white marble? Probably not, but I'm also not a designer who dreamed up this place, and if you didn't pick marble and (chose) something darker in color, I don't think it would be as beautiful."
There is little debate that the Oculus, the concourse and retail area for the World Trade Center transportation hub, is a striking architectural creation, but what you may not know is the amount of care and money put into the building's floor and how that cost increases yearly.
Crawford supervised a significant portion of the installation, working with his team to make sure each luxurious slab of imported Italian marble was installed properly.
Crawford is a site supervisor with Gem Roofing and Waterproofing, one of the two contractors hired to lay the 290,000-square-foot stone floor throughout the complex. Various contractors managed the marble installation in the areas near the transit platforms while Gem Roofing and Waterproofing handled the central section. Crawford says the marble has had its share of trouble, including problems with staining. Two incidents stand out.
"A control joint between the street and the Oculus began leaking," Crawford said. "The rebar underneath the floor began to rust and stain the marble. Soon after one of the sprinklers for Tower Three was left on and flooded the Oculus with almost 20,000 gallons of water. All the construction in the area also affects the Oculus."
Once construction is completed at the Oculus and 3 World Trade Center — an 80-floor skyscraper being built next door — damaged marble tiles will be replaced and the entire floor will be re-honed, a process similar to refinishing a wood floor. Re-honing will cost about $50,000 per year and will likely become a part of routine cleaning and maintenance.