WTC: On The Rise?

If all goes according to plan, we may yet see a new World Trade Center emerge in our lifetime. For seven years after the 9/11 attack, Ground Zero remained essentially a barren pit of motley construction hatched, for the most part, from a potpourri of architectural snarls and contractual dead-ends. The controversy over the projected form and function of a resurrected WTC seemed endless indeed; its commercial viability as opposed to its commemorative aesthetic resulted in ceaseless debate and tortuous irresolution.

While the controversy went on heatedly and progress remained frozen, Ground Zero was reduced to being “a dust bowl in summer and mud pit in winter” [NYT]; of diminishing interest, as the years passed, to both tourists and residents alike. We had grown so accustomed to referring to this dawdling construction site as Ground Zero we couldn’t see or think of it as anything else…merely a pathetic wasteland resting in a futile state of suspended animation.

Nevertheless, during the latter stage of this “dust bowl / mud pit” limbo, over 300,000 square feet of ground had been cleared to form the shell of NYC’s third-largest train station. Two more skyscrapers are now suddenly rising to join the only heretofore visible sign of progress: the gleaming 7 World Trade Center (on September 11, 2001, the last of the seven buildings to fall) is now complete. Rapid progress is quite suddenly being made; and I, at least for the moment, will suspend disbelief and accept reports that this rapid progress will indeed continue without any further delays or interruptions.

The BBC outlines the projected World Trade Center as follows:

Tower 1 – The centrepiece, formerly known as Freedom Tower and now as One World Trade Center. Its planned height is 1,776ft (540m) echoing the date of the founding of the republic. It will be America’s tallest building, housing offices, an observation deck, restaurants and broadcast facilities. The project architect is David Childs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Estimated completion date is 2013.

Tower 2 – Also known as 200 Greenwich St. At 79 storeys high with a diamond shaped top and an 80-foot antenna, it will be the second-tallest skyscraper in NYC.

Tower 3 – Also known as 175 Greenwich St, it will be the third-tallest building on the site and include shops, offices, trading floors. It’s scheduled for completion in 2014.

Tower 4The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the City of New York will take two-thirds of the office space at 150 Greenwich St. It is due for completion in 2013. Towers 3 and 4 were designed by architects Richard Rogers and Fumihiko Maki.

Tower 5 – 130 Liberty Street will stand on the site currently occupied by the remains of the Deutsche Bank building, which was badly damaged by the 9/11 attacks. New York University has expressed an interest in leasing the building.

Plans for a Tower 6 were abandoned.

Tower 7 – or 7 World Trade Center, opened in May 2006 and is two-thirds leased. It includes a park and central plaza with 30ft-wide fountain. Tenants include its owner Silverstein Properties and Moody’s Corporation, WestLB, Ameriprise Financial, Dutch bank ABN AMRO, and Mansueto Ventures, publisher of Fast Company and Inc magazines.

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum comprises a museum, waterfalls and a park.

The museum is being constructed underground and will boast interactive displays explaining the 9/11 and 1993 terrorist attacks, as well as the part of the huge slurry wall that held back the Hudson River during the attacks.

At the twin towers there will be two massive waterfalls over illuminated pools. Names of the 9/11 victims and those of the February 1993 World trade Centre attacks will be inscribed around the edge of the memorial called Reflecting Absence and designed by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker.

The 1,000-seat performance arts centre to be designed by Frank Gehry will be home to the Joyce Theater which specialises in modern dance. Film festivals will also be held there.

The transportation hub will house a state-of-the-art rail terminal featuring retractable 150ft (46m) high “wings” made of glass and steel will let natural light to pass through to platforms 60ft (18m) below street level.

Once more, we could only hope that all goes according to plan and that the scar which was Ground Zero will  finally become the World Trade Center again.

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