The World Trade Center becomes tallest NY building again
In the ten years since September 11 there has been much debate and many delays in the construction of the new One World Trade Center (previously known as The Freedom Tower), but now the tower is well underway and Monday the unfinished skeleton of the building reached a height of 1,250 feet. This just barely hits above the roof of the observation deck of the Empire State Building, but it shows that the One World Trade Center will be the tallest building in New York.
Construction will continue until the roof of the structure reaches a height of 1,368 feet, making it the same height as the north tower of the original World Trade Center. After the completion of the roof, a 408 ft cable-stay mast will top the tower. As a result the structure will reach the symbolic height of 1,776 feet, paying homage to the year of American independence while simultaneously making it the tallest building in the United States and the third tallest building in the world. That milestone is still a long way off though as it will take about a year to bring the structure to its full height.
The construction process of this long awaited building has been difficult. A symbolic cornerstone of the One World Trade Center was laid in 2004 during a ceremony three years after the terrorist attacks. After that construction was stalled until 2006 due to money, security, and design. After the foundation was laid for the structure the first beam was welded in during another ceremony where the public was invited to sign the steel beam before it was erected as the first real sign of structural building on the site. The public has put a lot of attention on the progress of this building, which shows how this structure captures an effort to memorialize and rebuild after the attacks on 9/11.
Regarding the design of the tower the architect, David Childs focused on the importance of symbolism and aesthetics as well as functionality. He released a statement saying:
We really wanted our design to be grounded in something that was very real, not just in sculptural sketches. We explored the infrastructural challenges because the proper solution would have to be compelling, not just beautiful. The design does have great sculptural implications, and we fully understand the iconic importance of the tower, but it also has to be a highly efficient building. The discourse about Freedom Tower has often been limited to the symbolic, formal and aesthetic aspects but we recognize that if this building doesn’t function well, if people don’t want to work and visit there, then we will have failed as architects.
On site of the One World Trade Center there will also be three other high rise office buildings and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Below ground there will be tenant parking and storage, access to trains, and even retail space. However, visitors hoping to visit the site once it reaches completion will be facing procedures similar to going through an airport. State of the art protective features built into the structure will work in tandem with incredible security measures that are being put in place for all traffic coming in the form of the underground roadway or by foot. Also 400 surveillance cameras will be installed so if you visit the memorial or the tower be sure to smile for the cameras.
Despite architectural debates about the legitimacy of the towers claim to the title of tallest building in the US and delays in construction, the One World Tower promises to be a building that carries more heart and significance than other skyscrapers that make up the New York skyline. It will be a symbol of the resilience of the America spirit and a memorial to one of the nation’s most tragic days.