Hudson Terminal included two 22-story Romanesque skyscrapers above the H&M station.:326 The buildings were designed by Clinton and Russell architect James Hollis Wells and constructed by contractor George A. Fuller.:326:123 Purdy and Henderson was responsible for structural planning.:437:123 Located on what would become the site of the World Trade Center, Hudson Terminal’s skyscrapers preceded the future complex in size and function. When the buildings were first opened, the height and appearance of the city’s skyscrapers were still hotly debated, being criticized for their volume and density. So many of the early 20th century skyscrapers were designed with towers, steeples, or domes above a dense base, while others were divided into two structures, such as the Hudson Terminal.
The complex occupied most of the lot bordered by Cortlandt Street to the south, Church Street to the east, and Fulton Street to the west, with the northernmost building addressed as 50 Church Street and the southernmost as 30 Church Street. Hudson Terminal was also close to several low-rise buildings to the west on Greenwich Street. They were called the Fulton and Cortlandt buildings respectively, and were collectively called the Church Street terminal. These buildings were separated by Dey Street, as the city government would not allow the street to be closed.
The Hudson Terminal buildings, along with 49 Chambers, were the first skyscrapers in the city to have an “H” shape, with courtyards inside providing light for the offices.:392 The complex’s lot originally occupied it. a total area of 6,500 m2.:326 According to the Engineering Record, the Fulton building occupied a plot of 48 by 47 m, while the Cortlandt building plot measured 65 by 52 m.:121 However, the New-York Tribune published different measurements, 48 by 55 m for the Fulton Building and 65 by 57 m for the Cortlandt Building. By the mid-20th century, annexes had been added to both buildings, resulting in a combined total area of 7,971.3 m2.
The design of the two buildings was similar. The first to third floors were parallelograms in the plan, with the buildings above the third floor assuming an “H” shape. The courtyards of both skyscrapers faced north and south, while the corridors on each floor of each building extended eastward along Church Street.:326–327 The courtyard of the Cortlandt building spanned across the street. 9.8 by 23.2 m, while that of the Fulton building measured 14.6 by 9.8 m. The wings on each side of the courtyards were asymmetrically wide.:121 The roofs of the buildings rose to a height of 84.05 m.:121 Small “towers” with pitched roofs on both sides. buildings brought the total height to 93 m.
The facade of the skyscrapers was encased in Indiana limestone below the 50th-floor cornice, and with brick and terracotta from there.:121 The original design included Doric columns beneath the roof cornice. When built, the first four floors were made of polished granite and limestone; with each ground floor section made of glass. The top six floors of each building were covered in light-toned terracotta as per the original plan.:328 The ends of each building also had strips of terracotta in the same shade. Arches connected three of the six upper floors.:328 Due to the asymmetrical dimensions of the skyscrapers, the Fulton Building had eighteen spans facing Church Street and nineteen spans facing Dey Street, while the Cortlandt Building had twenty-eight spans. two stretches facing Church Street and twenty opposite Cortlandt Street.
The two buildings were connected by a pedestrian bridge above the street on the third floor of each building. Another bridge connecting the 17th floor of both skyscrapers was approved and built in 1913, shortly after the complex opened.
Altogether, the buildings contained 16.3 million bricks, 13,000 lamps, 15,200 doors, 5,000 windows, and 4,100 tonnes of terracotta, as well as 120,000 m2 of partitions and 31,000 m3 of concrete arches. The buildings also had several kilometers of pipes, water and gas piping, wooden planks, moldings and electrical wiring.