The 1973 World Trade Center twin towers by Minora Yamasaki were not great buildings but in various light conditions or in the dark of the night they would take on a mute sculptural quality that New Yorkers now remember with fondness or nostalgic reverence. Now something quiet similar may be happening with the replacement to the tower—One World Trade Center. In certain light and atmospheric conditions the top floors of the building seem to glow like a bright incandescent light build.
A couple weeks ago, we took a look at the trippy designs of the newly unveiled observation deck for Lower Manhattan’s One World Trade tower, rapidly adding to its antenna that will take the building to 1,776 feet. But while those renderings were long on the multimedia-rich halls that will presumably be filled with long lines waiting to get to the top, the big unveil was a bit short on the actual view. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has corrected that, however, posting a new photo taken from the very top of the tower, and we’re not disappointed. Note that Cass Gilbert’s 1913 Woolworth Building, appearing as just another tower in the center of the photo, was once the world’s tallest until 1930. See you in line for the view in person!
Look out, there’s been a major announcement at the World Trade Center. No, really. Look out and see all of New York City at your feet, from the 100th through 102nd floors of One World Trade. While the lines are sure to be long, plenty of multimedia on the way to banks of high-speed elevators should provide some entertainment and history lessons. Beginning in 2015, visitors will move through trippy video hallways, into a cave-like foundation room. After a quick 60-second elevator ride up 100 floors showcasing the vertical growth of New York, doors will open onto the One World Observatory and its mesmerizing 360-degree views from floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s certainly not an experience for those with vertigo. The facility will be operated by Legends Hospitality and is expected to generate $875 million in revenue over 15 years. Admission prices to get to the observation deck have not been released.
For the eleventh anniversary of September 11, The Architect’s Newspaper has been reviewing progress at the World Trade Center site. Last Thursday, AN visited SOM’s One World Trade to survey the view from the 103rd floor and check in on construction of the tower’s spire. Friday, a trip to the top of Fumihiko Maki’s Four World Trade on Friday showed the less-publicized view of the site. From both vantage points, the hum of activity—both from construction crews and visitors to the memorial plaza—was readily apparent.
Of particular interest were substantial developments at the Vehicle Security Center, where a new entryway on Liberty Street will send security measures beneath a new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. It was heartening to read in today’s New York Times that the conflict between Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg over the Memorial Museum, reported here last year, was resolved in time for ceremonies this morning.
For all the talk of delays, an extraordinary amount work has been accomplished. As a tribute, AN has compiled a video montage showing continued progress at the site on this historic day.
One World Trade continues to rise with the spire yet to come. Today, the Port Authority gave AN access to the 103rd floor. In a mad dash we took a few hundred photos, which we quickly whittled down to these 34. What’s missing are the sounds: workers shouting, metal clanging, and Queen’s “We Will Rock You” playing from a radio on the ride up. Tomorrow, we’re stopping by to visit One World’s little brother, Four World Trade.
Literally in the shadow of One World Trade is a memorial for September 11 that has been overrun by tourists since the days after the disaster. Its quiet dignity has been maintained, outlasting the dozens of hawkers who sold Twin Tower replicas just a few feet away. The memorial bears but one name, “Mary Wife of James Miles,” who died on September 11, 1796.
Today’s New York Observer weighed in on the New York Post‘s claim that tourists are turning the September 11 Memorial into a glorified playground. “When the construction barriers finally come down, the lines will be gone, people will come and go as they please. They will pray and they will play, and that is how it should be,” wrote the Observer’s Matt Chaban. As the debate continues as to what constitutes appropriate behavior at the memorial, one need only walk one block east to take in two century’s worth of history on how New Yorkers memorialize.
One World Trade has had a good week. Condé Nast officially signed on the dotted line yesterday. Several of the interested parties from the Port Authority to Cushman Wakefield took out two full page ads in The New York Times congratulating themselves on a job well done. But back at the site, something slightly less tangible occurred. It’s purely subjective of course, but over the last week it seems that One World Trade finally reached the “wow” factor. There’s no getting around it anymore, the building is huge. Of course, throughout the site there’s plenty more to see…