6 Important Facts You May Not Know About One World Trade Center

by , 09/11/11
filed under: Architecture

one world trade center, wtc,world trade center, green architecture, eco architecture, sustainable architecture, skidmore owings and merrill, som, lower manhattan, green world trade center, twin towers, world trade center sustainable, sustainable design, green design, eco design
A photo peek into the gated area surrounding the memorial site. You can see the trees that were planted around the glass reflecting pools.

5. The memories of the victims of 9/11 will be reflected not only in the memorial but in One World Trade Center’s design as well.

You probably already know that a 9/11 Memorial and Museum will be opening this Sunday, but those aren’t the only areas designed to specifically reflect the memories of the victims of 9/11. When complete, One World Trade Center will have a rooftop observation deck at 1,362 feet with a glass parapet extending to 1,368 feet, the exact height of the Twin Towers. At the top of the tower, a mast will be installed that emits a bright light that is expected to appear as a 1,000 foot beam, memorializing those who lost their lives and heralding freedom. Many of the victims’ names and the signatures of their loved ones will actually be written inside the building on a 30 foot steel beam — the first that was installed at the site.

6. The building looks totally different than what was originally chosen as the design.

Most New Yorkers have caught little soundbites, or big soundbites, of the squabbles, tiffs and downright fights that have surrounded One World Trade Center’s design. Much of that had to do with the building’s owners, the Port Authority and real estate developer Larry Silverstein, who has a pretty legit 99-year lease on the property. If you hadn’t heard about all of this, check out our entire post about it here. The long and short of it is that Daniel Libeskind, the architect who originally won the competition to design One World Trade Center was, in essence, elbowed out of the way and much of the building he proposed has not been reflected in the actual edifice that has gone up. This left many New Yorkers and Libeskind fans feeling gypped, but surprisingly Libeskind himself is remarkably serene about it.

“In the end, the public will see the symbolism of the site,” he offered. “Of course, compromises had to be made, but a master plan is not about a few lines drawn on paper. It’s about an idea. I think when it’s built, people will forget the squabbles.

+ One World Trade Center

Photos by Yuka Yoneda for Inhabitat



  1. Eva Kozy September 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm
    I moved out of the city (Cleveland) and now enjoy a vision of sunsets on the natural horizon. I cannot forget the excitement of the city, but the relaxation of the country holds greater appeal for me. My car brakes even got a break.
  2. TOTO NEPOMUCENO August 10, 2012 at 11:34 am
  3. sbaker May 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm
    "One World" Trade Center...scared me and I am apprehensive of why it is named "ONE WORLD"
  4. franyafranya September 10, 2011 at 11:12 pm
    Only recently did I learn about the 60-odd disabled (in wheelchairs and other) people who died on 9/11 because they could not use the fire stairs. A few heroic people did help some of the impaired workers, but the majority were sent to a room and told to wait, and nobody came for them in time, apparently. No matter how wide the stairs are in SOM's new tower, they will always be unusable for a certain segment of the population, and that, to me, throws the whole proposal into question. The kilometer high building going up soon in Dubai is even more criminal in that respect - it's designed by a former SOM studio head from Chicago, Adrian Smith. Let's face it, by and large, we've been fairly lucky with high-rise towers, as far as attacks and collapses go, but the previous comment's criticisms are well taken: towers are excessive economically and dangerous physically.
  5. lazyreader September 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm
    For starters the building will be as tall as it's predecessor. 1368 feet roughly. It's patriotic 1,776 feet height will be achieved with a 414 foot high spire. Costing 3.3 billion dollars, it's the most expensive office tower in the world. The building will have 2.6 million square feet of office space (for it's cost that's 1,269 dollars a square foot). 2.6 million sq ft for a city that doesn't need it. The original WTC had 13.4 million square feet of office space, even when it was destroyed Manhattan had a surplus of space to make up for the loss. Even now downtown Manhattan alone contains some 10 million square feet of vacant office space. This speaks more to the economic state in which we find ourselves, and the huge cost of building skyscrapers. Chicago had plans to build the 2,000 foot tall (150 story) Chicago Spire. Only to go into default and the project died. I wouldn’t be surprised if Chicago had a surplus of office space ready for occupancy. Chicago had dozens of various cancelled proposals for supertall buildings. Some under construction sit idle waiting for completion and have been scaled down from their original designs. Chicago may have been the birthplace of the skyscraper, but it's clearly not in the market for new towers anytime soon. Baltimore had plans to build a new mixed use tower called 10 Inner Harbor; at 771 feet (200+ feet higher than the current Legg Mason tower) it would have been the tallest in the state but was cancelled having defaulted on it's 26 million dollar loan. We already have plenty of highrises in major cities and existing ones (some of the most hideous ones) should be dismantled. Which would actually be a positive step towards improving the quality of city life. No more canyons, wondering when we might see the sun again. Cities with these megatowers suffer from extensive zoning (commercial districts) that drive it's working class populations out. One great vocal opponent of the megatower was the architect Constantine Doxiades; who coined the phrase "ecumenopolis" (see Coruscant in Star Wars). The instinct to climb up to some high place, from which you can look down on your world, seems to be a fundamental human behavior. I don't mind taller buildings and find some of the older ones impressive, still you get just as much of a visual impression from the shorter ones.