In lower Manhattan, especially today when President Obama was in town to lay a wreath, the world’s media was fast talking about Ground Zero. Very few call it the World Trade Center. The GZ term is so widely used that few think twice about it.
And yet, just yesterday, a contingent of men and women responsible for rebuilding the World Trade Center braved the cold rain for a conference hosted by the Building Trade Employers Association (BTEA) and found themselves struck on the semantics of just those words. The event brought together the builders and suppliers of the 16 acre site for an update on building progress. Very little was said about the momentous events of the past week or the impending presidential visit, which, like the rain, was going to slow down work. This was a group with a singular focus: rebuilding.
BTEA President and CEO Louis Coletti introduced speakers who in turn discussed a particular aspect of the project. But when one speaker referred to One World Trade as “the Freedom Tower,” Chris Ward, the executive director of the Port Authority grimaced, held up his index finger to signify the number one and said, “It’s One World Trade.”
It’s been a couple of weeks since we stopped by the WTC site. The most striking aspect from the street remains the speed with which glass surfaces begin to rise. It seems like only yesterday that three stories of glass wrapped around Tower One. Now with ten stories completed, the quartz-like surfaces start to take shape. At the Memorial Museum, Snohetta’s glass has flown up in what seems a matter of days. The facade already reflects the grove, whose trees continue their own march toward West Street.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer pulled together a stellar panel of World Trade movers and shakers to update the community Wednesday night, but the crowd wasn’t impressed. Chris Ward, executive director of the the Port Authority, was joined at the podium by LMDC Chair Avi Schick, DOT Lower Manhattan Commissioner Louis Sanchez, Downtown Alliance President Elizabeth Berger, president and CEO of the memorial Joe Daniels, State Senator Dan Squadron and Congressman Jerry Nadler. Silverstein Properties’ Malcolm Williams breezed through a PowerPoint update detailing progress of the four towers at the site. Ward’s presentation showed the robust ribs of the Calatrava structure from underneath the plaza. But Sanchez’s presentation outlining plans for the accommodating tour buses took on the most scrutiny.
At first glance, it seems that the riot of square white panels suddenly appeared on the base of One World Trade, but photos from the past few weeks show that they were going up all along. Closeup shots taken today reveal metal bolts protruding out from the panels. The curtain wall fasteners for the metallic scrim?
Each week, AN plays tourist at the World Trade Center construction site. Here’s the latest.
Last night’s snowstorm was a dud when compared to the Boxing Day Blizzard. But a half hour walk around the WTC site reveals just how much extra work the weather can add to a day’s labor. By noon, workers were still shoveling out of the mess, removing snow laden tarps and generally slogging through the grayish black mess.
As there are few visible changes on the facade, this week’s photos focus on the reinforced concrete at the base of the tower. With much media fanfare, the NYPD opposed initial designs for security reasons. The resulting redesign introduced a fortress-like base and core, which is now visible from the street level. Eventually, the concrete will be shielded behind a metallic scrim, not unlike the one seen next door on Seven World Trade. For now though, pedestrians can glimpse the exposed base to get an idea of the tower’s extraordinary strength.
[ As the World Trade Center continues its ascent, The Architect's Newspaper will be checking in each week for signs of progress at one of the country's most exciting construction sites. ]
The blizzard did little to deter holiday crowds from flocking to the World Trade Center this week. With few office workers in town, hundreds of tourists crushed onto the slushy sidewalks of Church Street. From behind St. Paul’s Chapel, a cacophony of languages could be heard. Construction moved forward with few signs of delay or disruption from this week’s snow and by Wednesday afternoon the site was humming as usual.