Robert Gillings on One World Trade Center, Development and Features

One World Trade Center, Development and Features

In 2002, planning began for a new World Trade Center. The planning was not just to replace the fallen icon, but to memorialize it. The process began with an open design competition that was rejected. In December 2002, a second and more open competition took place and Daniel Libeskind was chosen as the winner. Larry Silverstein was the lease holder for the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 attacks. He made his intent to rebuild the World Trade Center soon after 9/11. July 4, 2004 a symbolic cornerstone was placed where Freedom Tower would be built. Construction would not begin for two years because many disputes occurred between Mr. Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The new building would be called Freedom Tower. Finally, on June 28, 2005, the final design was accepted. The original design was altered many times.

On April 26, 2006 consensus over money, design, and security was finally reached between the two parties. The cornerstone was removed and demolition and construction began on June 23, 2006. The first 30-foot steel beam was installed at the base of the new World Trade Center in a ceremony on December 19, 2006. People were invited to sign the first installed beam of Freedom Tower. By November 2007, 400 cubic yards of concrete had been laid as foundation for Freedom Tower. In 2009, the Port Authority officially changed the name from Freedom Tower to “One World Trade Center”. During its construction, 1 World Trade Center was illuminated for special occasions. The colors of the American flag lit up the sky on Flag Day, Independence Day and on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.

Costs to construct the new World Trade Center were estimated at $3 billion in 2007. The cost had risen to $3.9 billion by 2012. At that time, it was the most affluent structure in the world. $1 billion of funding for the building came from insurance money that Larry Silverstein received, the state of New York contributed $250 million, and $1 billion came from the Port Authority. Today, One World Trade Center is principally owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Durst Organization is a real estate company that owns 5% of the equity of 1 World Trade Center. They assisted with construction supervision of One World Trade Center. Currently, they oversee the building for the Port Authority. The Durst Organization manages leasing, property management, and tenants.

One World Trade Center surpassed the Empire State building’s height. The tower’s full height is 1,776 feet high making it the tallest building in New York City. The cornerstone has also been replaced. On May 10, 2013, the final piece was lifted to the top of One World Trade Center making it the fourth tallest building in the world. On November 12, 2013 One World Trade Center earned the title of tallest building in the United States.

One World Trade Center has refocused from being a financial space to a world-class business and social hub. Here you will find meeting and event rooms, common areas, a game room, and a café. Floors have a creatively designed layout with open ceilings and large floor to ceiling windows. 70% of One World Trade Center is leased and providing a home for an eclectic mix of tenants. Among those tenants you will find tech companies and magazine publishers. That leaves 30% of the building available for lease. In total, One World Trade Center has 103 floors. 71 of those are office floors. The floor space ranges from 2,860 to 4,400 square feet.

One World Trade Center stands on 185 feet of windowless concrete for security reasons. The stair wells and elevator shafts are 3-foot thick reinforced concrete. The windows are equipped with blast resistant glass. Sustainability is also a feature of One World Trade Center. A good portion of the interior is built from recycled materials. It is one of the most environmentally viable skyscrapers in the world.

Robert Gillings is an award winning writer, producer, actor architectural designer, philosopher and financial consultant. See his submission to the WTC Memorial Competition here.

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