The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which claimed almost 3,000 victims and completely destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City, will not be forgotten. In the meantime, the One World Trade Center, the tallest building in New York, the United States and even the Western Hemisphere, has been erected on Ground Zero and opened thirteen years after the attacks as the new landmark of New York City.
The 1 WTC is considered the most expensive and safest skyscraper on the planet and is particularly symbolic for New York City and the USA. Because the bluish shimmering super skyscraper owned by the port authority is intended to show that America will not let anyone or anything get it down. The viewing platform, the One World Observatory, on the 100th to 102nd floors is of particular interest to tourists.
One World Trade Center – figures, data, facts
- Building Height: 1776 feet / 541.3 meters (to the top)
- Height to the roof: 417 meters
- Top floor: 406 meters
- Depth: 61 meters
- Floors: 104
- Elevators: 73
- Usable area: 325,729 m2
- Floor area: 2300 to 3000 m2
- Structure: steel, reinforced concrete
- Facade: glass, aluminum
- Master plan: Daniel Libeskind
- Architect: David Childs (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill)
- Owner: New York and New Jersey Port Authority, Durst Organization (5% interest)
- Construction cost: $ 3.8 billion
- Location: World Trade Center Site
This is how the One World Trade Center got its name
The World Trade Center was originally an office complex in the Financial District on the southern tip of Lower Manhattan in New York City. The complex on the premises of the port authority PANYNJ (New York and New Jersey) consisted of a total of seven buildings: WTC 1 – 7. The heart of the complex were towers WTC 1 and 2, which were destroyed during the terrorist attacks on September 11th. WTC 7 also collapsed as part of the disaster and buildings WTC 3 to 6 were so badly damaged by the falling rubble that they too had to be demolished as a result.
WTC 1 was the name of the north tower. Accordingly, the One World Trade Center bears his name, with which one consciously wants to maintain a tradition. However, the location and style of the building are different. Actually, the super skyscraper should have been called Freedom Tower (“Freedom Tower”), however, by signing the first rental agreement with the Chinese company Vantone Industrial, the building owners decided to rename the building the One World Trade Center. Because it was feared that too much patriotism could hinder the marketing of the 1 WTC. A decision that was sharply criticized by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, among others.
“Ground Zero” – the World Trade Center Site
Around 50,000 people in 430 companies from 28 countries once worked on the World Trade Center site. In addition, there were sometimes up to 200,000 visitors every day who came to the restaurants in the twin towers and wanted to enjoy the view from the viewing platform. The World Trade Center complex covered 4.5 hectares (45,000 square meters) and comprised towers WTC 1-7. Under the plaza and large parts of WTC 4 and 5, Lower Manhattan’s largest shopping center was located on six basement floors. In addition, the World Trade Center subway station and a PATH line to New Jersey were major New York public transportation centers. There was also an underground car park for 2,000 vehicles under WTC 1-3. The old towers were 417 and 415 meters high and were officially inaugurated in 1973. The buildings with their imposing entrance halls primarily housed offices. So they were mostly office buildings.
After the complex was completely destroyed on September 11, 2001, the area owned by the port authorities had to be almost completely dismantled and dredged. Only in this way was it possible to recover the remains of the victims and to prepare a new building. The attempt was made to recover even the smallest parts of the body by sifting them out and to identify them genetically in order to offer the relatives the opportunity to bury at least one (small) part of the body according to the respective ritual.
However, it was not possible to identify all of the victims, which is why there has been repeated debate as to whether the World Trade Center site and the Fresh Kills excavation landfill, where the rubble and excavation of the towers are after the clearance in May 2002, as Memorial or grave for the many unidentifiable victims of the 2001 disaster. The now closed garbage dump is currently being converted into a park, in which a memorial is also to be created.
Today, in addition to the One World Trade Center with its popular viewing platform, there are a few other buildings on Ground Zero. Because there are also the Three World Trade Center (329 meters high), completed in 2018, and the Four World Trade Center, which opened in 2013, with 72 floors (297 meters high). The 7 World Trade Center, which opened in 2006, is 228 meters high and is not directly on Ground Zero, but directly north of it. Construction work is currently ongoing on the complex’s second tallest tower, Two World Trade Center, and the construction site is not expected to be completed before 2020. It is not yet known when and whether the planned Five World Trade Center will be implemented on the port authority’s site.
The 9/11 Memorial and the 9/11 Museum are also located on the site of the port authority and, after a long construction period, with the Oculus, which is well worth seeing, is the most expensive train station in the world. The Westfield World Trade Center replaces the former shopping center. The mall, which opened on August 16, 2016, is the largest of its kind in Manhattan.
Did you know, that…
… Ground Zero in the English military language is the designation for the explosion site of an atomic bomb or rocket above the ground and that hardly a New Yorker would ever use this designation for the World Trade Center site?
From the plans to the completion to the opening of the 1 WTC
Shortly after the disaster, it was decided that the area of Ground Zero should be built on again. However, the form of use remained unclear at first. It was discussed whether only a memorial or new towers should be built there.
In 2002 the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, LMDC for short, was founded to develop a plan for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center. As a result, an architecture competition was announced, in which Daniel Libeskind prevailed against 405 competitors in 2003. The original builder presented a design that combined the desire for a memorial with the construction of new towers and thus prevailed against world stars of the architecture industry such as Peter Eisenman, Richard Meier, Norman Foster and the later architect David Childs. And that although Libeskind had only completed a single public building with the Jewish Museum in Berlin at the time.
However, the construction was delayed again and again because the plans of Libeskind did not meet with the leaseholder of the WTC site and chairman of the real estate company Silverstein Properties, Larry Silverstein. Silverstein leased the World Trade Center in July 2001, signing a 99-year lease.
Silverstein criticized the insufficient usable area of the Freedom Tower, which was below the area of 4,000 square meters per floor and thus also below the total area to be rented for offices, which in WTC 1 comprised a total of 418,000 square meters. Silverstein therefore brought in the architect David Childs from the Owings and Merrill (SOM) architecture firm to complement Libeskind.
Initially, this should only have done the fine work based on the plans from Libeskind, but there were major differences of opinion between the City of New York, the New York Port Authority and Larry Silverstein, which ultimately led to Childs being appointed sole architect by Silverstein and Libeskind was demoted to a consultant. Among other things, it was criticized that star architect Libeskind had little experience in building skyscrapers. Libeskind then filed a lawsuit against Silverstein with a New York regional court, as Silverstein refused to pay the fee of 682,015 euros demanded by Libeskind, as Libeskind did not provide him with proof of the hours worked.
As the new builder, Childs kept changing Libeskind’s original design and ultimately redesigned the building from scratch. What remained of Libeskind’s futuristic and symbolic design was more or less only the symbolic height of 1776 feet (541.32 m), which commemorates the year the United States declared independence.
The new plan by builders Childs and Silverstein was presented to the public on June 28, 2006. The foundation stone was laid on the construction site on July 4th, 2004. However, the 20 ton gray-black granite stone with an inscription that commemorates the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11th had to be dug up and relocated shortly after the laying because of a new security concept on the construction site.
Larry Silverstein and the World Trade Center conspiracy theories
Silverstein and the World Trade Center share a long history. As early as 1987, Silverstein had the 7th WTC completed, his most ambitious property to date. And even then Silverstein would have liked to have the towers, but only had the chance to win them from 1998. It was the largest real estate transaction in US history when Silverstein signed the 99-year lease on July 24, 2001. Then came the attacks and the conspiracy theories, as some assumed that Silverstein was involved in the disaster or that it was knowingly staged by the USA because he had previously insured the complex against terrorist attacks and Silverstein happened to not be in at the time of the attack Building located.
Work on the construction site of the future One World Trade Center began on April 27, 2006. In late 2006, the New York Port Authority took over One World Trade Center, while Silverstein kept the other towers. The port authority owns the site and also had the twin towers built.
On January 9, 2007, the first steel elements and steel girders were installed on the port authority’s construction site. The first construction work on the core of the building began on February 1st, and from the beginning of 2008, work on the building’s foundation and subsoil was primarily carried out on the construction site. Most of the foundation work was completed in August of that year.
The above-ground floors were started on the port authority’s construction site in October 2009, and the 54th floor had been reached by the turn of the year 2010/2011. The 100-story mark was broken on the construction site on March 31, 2012 and in February 2013 the construction site was finally so far that the installation of another mast section had made it the tallest building in New York City. The last component was finally installed at the topping-out ceremony on May 10, 2013, as part of a ceremony, which brought the symbolic height of 1776 feet to the fore.
However, the official completion of construction was not celebrated on the construction site until November 3, 2014. All areas of the One World Trade Center, including the viewing platform, have been open to the public since May 29, 2015.
The 1 WTC – a state-of-the-art structure with sophisticated safety precautions
The result is an ultra-modern skyscraper with a viewing platform in the form of an elongated square antiprism, the roof of which is rotated 45 degrees to the square base. There are eight triangular areas on the outer facade, four of which point with their points upwards and four with their points downwards. The upper square is so much smaller that when you look at it it fits exactly into the lower one, which means that the four triangles that point upwards are kept vertical and not overhanging. The lower square corresponds to the floor plan of the 20th floor. The floors below form the base of the building.
This base, which forms the first sixty meters of the building, is, like the facade, completely clad with stainless steel and very solid special glass, which is supposed to reflect the surroundings of the One World Trade Center. Elevators, stairwells, supply shafts, toilets and cables are located in the middle of the building and are surrounded by massive concrete walls, some 91 cm thick. This makes it possible to enjoy the view outside the building core 360 degrees along the glass panes that extend from the floor to the ceiling, without columns or walls obstructing the view.
A solid foundation made of concrete provides support, which almost 60 meters into the ground. The walls of the foundation are made of 91 centimeter thick concrete and a steel corset. At 417 meters, the height of the building itself corresponds to the height of the old north tower. Above it is a kind of ring to which the spire is held with steel cables, which illuminates the sky of the Big Apple with a beam of light at night. Inside the building there are 104 floors on an area of over 325,000 square meters. 70 of them are office floors. There are 73 elevators in the core of the skyscraper, 54 of which are used to transport people.
Highest security concept for the One World Trade Center
After the attack (9/11), safety was of course of paramount importance in the construction of the new tower. As a result, after concerns about the safety of the skyscraper were raised in June 2005, the construction plans were once again fundamentally revised and additional safety precautions were added. The plan was to create a structure that is bombproof, but still does not lose any of its aesthetic beauty.
For this purpose, special glass and special steel were installed in the entire 1 WTC and the steel girders were additionally painted with a thick layer of fire protection coating, as the inadequate fire protection of the steel parts in the towers could have played a major role in the collapse of the towers.
Elevators, stairwells, supply shafts and lines are located in the building core and are protected by thick concrete walls. Each stairwell is also kept very wide so that the building can be evacuated quickly in the event of a disaster.
In addition, a generous distance from the surrounding streets has been maintained to reduce the risk of car bomb attacks and visitors must go through a security check before entering the building.
The twin towers were once home to numerous financial institutions and insurers
Before the attack, the World Trade Center was a center of the financial world. Numerous banks, insurers and other financial service providers such as Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, American Express, Cantor Fitzgerald, Merrill Lynch, Bank of Yokohama, Fuji Bank, AIG Aviation Trust, Allstate Insurance, Marsh USA, Fred Alger Management and the Oppenheimer Fund were based there.
But for the new One World Trade Center it was very difficult to find tenants again. In 2014, only 150,000 square meters of the 70 floors planned for office space were taken. It is the responsibility of New York real estate firm Durst Organization to market the building. It has a five percent stake in the building.
Today, 25 floors in the One World Trade Center are leased to the US magazine publisher Condè Nast. Condè Nast publishes well-known magazines such as Vogue, Glamor and Vanity Fair. The German subsidiary of “Condé Nast International” was newly founded in 1978 with headquarters in Munich. In addition, the company runs the “Condé Nast Manufaktur”, which specializes in customer media and content marketing. The customers of the “Condé Nast Manufaktur” include, for example, Mercedes-Benz, Douglas and Zalando. In addition to Condè Nast, Vantone Industrial is also at home in the One World Trade Center: the Chinese real estate company Vantone Industrial occupies five and a half floors, while the US General Service Administration is at home on six floors. The rental price for the super skyscraper is said to be $ 900 per square meter.
Some floors in the base are used to accommodate the technology for supplying the entire building. The technology and transmission systems of the local radio and television stations such as WCBS and WNBC are also housed on the top floors. The mast on the roof serves as an antenna for television and radio frequencies. According to the manufacturer, the most powerful digital TV channel in the world.
The viewing platform and a public restaurant are located on the top floors 100 to 102 at a height of 406 meters. On the lower floors there is access to the subway and the largest shopping mall in Manhattan.