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.
It is not uncommon for projects to change over time, but the performing arts center planned for the World Trade Center site has undergone many iterations. It has been tweaked, downsized, refocused, delayed, and at one point, possibly re-located to another site. Now, the New York Times reported that the center has been whittled down from a four-stage arts complex housing multiple cultural organizations—including the International Freedom Center, Signature Theater, the Drawing Center, and the Joyce Theater—to a multidisciplinary arts space with just one main stage. The Joyce Theater is the only remaining organization that will still be part of the center, though it will not be based at the World Trade Center site as previously planned.
The next step is to find an artistic director who can oversee center and curate its programming. Frank Gehry has been working on the design of the center, but the recent changes have called for him to scale it back. Once costs and programming are nailed down, the preliminary board will move forward with fundraising efforts. Right now, though, it looks like the center won’t open its doors until 2017 or 2018.
Almost a year ago, reports surfaces that, without an anchor tenant, the 80-story Three World Trade tower by Pritzker-winner Richard Rogers of Rogers, Stirk, Harbour + Partners would be lopped off at seven stories. Without an anchor tenant signing up for at least 400,000 square feet of space in the $300 million tower, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey will not guarantee the project’s debt. Mayor Bloomberg is optimistic, though, telling the New York Post last week that the tower is “closer than anyone realizes” to landing that all-important tenant, which could be GroupM, a subsidiary of advertising giant WPP. The Post said the company is interested in 550,000 square feet of the tower’s 2.8 million total square feet. If a deal is signed and construction continues, the tower could be complete in 2015.
Bloomberg also delivered the not-unexpected news that Norman Foster’s 88-story Two World Trade tower will likely remain a stump for the near future. SOM’s One World Trade and Fumihiko Maki’s Four World Trade are expected to be finished by the end of the year. In the meantime, take a look back at Silverstein’s blockbuster video rendering of the complete World Trade Center site.
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.
At a panel discussion on architecture journalism held at the Center for Architecture last month, the New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo griped that The New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman had yet to weigh in on the 9/11 Memorial. Indeed, even the Times‘s go-to architecture reporter Robin Pogrebin had to concur. She noted that she too had raised the question. Nevertheless, World Trade Center reporting—let alone criticism—can be a full time job. Although Pogrebin continues to report on the cultural venues slated for the site, the architectural aspects of the project have been the province of David Dunlap from the get-go.
With the topping of Four World Trade today at 977 feet, Dunlap once again provides a highly detailed report, as he did two weeks ago in his analysis of the grossly altered designs of One World Trade. Standing in the shadow of One World Trade, Dunlap notes that architects Fumihiko Maki and Osamu Sassa have no problem with his building being labeled “the biggest skyscraper New Yorkers have never heard of.” “Subtlety extends one’s appreciation,” Sassa told the Times. Kimmelman, meanwhile, has made a trip to the area, but to review a glass canopy, “in the shadow of One World Trade Center no less.”