Image: Time Magazine
The new One World Trade Center, formerly the Freedom Tower was the subject of controversial debate before construction. Some wanted the grounds of the destroyed Twin Towers to remain in its state of destruction as a memorial; others wanted to build another tower, to show that we are strong. Both sides came to a compromise. The final agreement was to keep a little of both sites. They would maintain ground zero as a memorial to the lives lost, while two new World Trade Centers would be built around it.
The project of One World Trade Center began on April 27th, 2006 (the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Empire State Building’s opening). The names of the two architects who designed One World Trade Center were David Childs and Daniel Libeskind. These men designed a new building. Compared to the old building it would be “more magnificent, more spectacular than it ever was”, said Larry Silverstein, the man who owned the lease to the World Trade Center site at the time.
On December 16th, 2006, there was a ceremony held in Battery Park City. There, citizens were invited to sign the first thirty-foot beam installed in the building. By December 2010, that one beam, turned into fifty-two floors. By the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the building reached eighty-two floors.
In 2009, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey changed the name of the Freedom Tower to One World Trade Center because they felt that it was “easiest for people to identify with”. This change occurred after signing a twenty-one year lease with the building’s first tenant, a Chinese real estate company called Vantone Industrial Co.
On July 4th, 2011, the tower was illuminated during construction with the colors of the American flag, the same way it was on September 10th, 2001. One World Trade Center has been illuminated many times since then.
One World Trade Center is on Fulton Street. It is in the center of the World Trade Center Complex, built upon on a 185-foot solid concrete, windowless base. This is to support it from any potential ground-level danger such as car bombs. In the middle of the tower, it forms a perfect octagon created by eight tall isosceles triangles.
One World Trade Center has eighty-six above-ground floors, seventy-eight of which are intended for business purposes. The top story of the building is numbered #104, although the structure only contains ninety-four floors in total. Floors one through nineteen are part of the base. The offices in the building do not start until floor twenty and end on floor ninety. In the middle of the office floors is a sky lobby, placed on the sixty-fourth floor.
Stories 100 through 102 are observation decks. The actual viewing deck is on floor 100. While floor 101 consists of a food court and floor 102 has room for events. Similar to the empire state building, visitors have a separate entrance than the tenants and all people who enter must go through some form of security screening.
The top floor of One World Trade Center is 1,368 feet (417 meters) above the ground. It is considered the third tallest building, depending on whether you call the top a spire vs. an antenna.
Overall, the impressive structure that was built is a beautiful tribute to September 11, 2001. It allows us to remember those who lost their lives, honor those who gave their lives to save others, celebrate those who survived and the resilience of New York City and our country.