World Trade Center (2001–present), New York, NY | CruiseBe
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World Trade Center (2001–present)


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The World Trade Center is a partially completed complex of buildings under construction in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States, replacing an original complex of seven buildings with the same name on the same site that were damaged or destroyed in the September 11 attacks. The site is being rebuilt with six new skyscrapers, a memorial and museum to those killed in the attacks, and a transportation hub. One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the United States, is the lead building for the new complex, reaching more than 100 stories upon its completion in November 2014.

The original World Trade Center featured landmark twin towers, which opened on April 4, 1973, and were the tallest buildings in the world at their completion. They were destroyed on the morning of September 11, 2001, when Al-Qaeda-affiliated hijackers flew two Boeing 767 jets into the complex in a coordinated act of terrorism. The attacks on the World Trade Center killed 2,753 people.

The resulting collapse caused structural failure in many of the surrounding buildings as well. The process of cleaning up and recovery at the World Trade Center site took eight months, after which rebuilding of the site commenced.

After years of delay and controversy, reconstruction at the World Trade Center site is now underway. The new complex includes One World Trade Center (formerly known as the Freedom Tower), 7 World Trade Center, three other high-rise office buildings, a museum and memorial, and a transportation hub similar in size to Grand Central Terminal. One World Trade Center was completed on August 30, 2012, and the final component of its spire installed on May 10, 2013. 4 World Trade Center opened in November 2014. The 9/11 memorial is complete, and the museum opened on May 21, 2014. 3 World Trade Center and the Transportation Hub are also making progress, and are set to be finished in 2018 and mid-2016, respectively. 2 World Trade Center's full construction was placed on hold in 2009; however, on June 9, 2015, it was reported that the building would undergo a new design, led by architect Bjarke Ingels of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). It was also reported that the newly designed 2 World Trade Center would become the headquarters for Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and News Corp, which later decided against moving into 2 World Trade Center, leading to uncertainty over the future of BIG's design.

 

Original towers

The original World Trade Center featured the landmark Twin Towers, which opened on April 4, 1973, and were the tallest buildings in the world at their completion. The other buildings in the complex included the Marriott World Trade Center (3 WTC), 4 WTC, 5 WTC, 6 WTC, and 7 WTC.

Destruction

They were destroyed on the morning of September 11, 2001, when Al-Qaeda-affiliated hijackers flew two Boeing 767 jets into the complex in a coordinated act of terrorism. At 8:46 A.M. Eastern Time (ET), a team of five hijackers intentionally crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the northern facade of the North Tower. At 9:03 A.M. ET, a second team of five hijackers intentionally crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the southern facade of the South Tower. After burning for 56 minutes, the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 A.M. At 10:28 A.M., the North Tower collapsed, after burning for 102 minutes. The attacks on the World Trade Center killed 2,753 people. The resulting collapse caused structural failure in many of the surrounding buildings as well. The process of cleaning up and recovery at the World Trade Center site took eight months, after which rebuilding of the site commenced.

Cleanup

The process of cleanup and recovery continued 24 hours a day over a period of eight months. Debris was transported from the World Trade Center site to Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, where it was further sifted. On May 30, 2002, a ceremony was held to officially mark the end of the cleanup efforts. In 2002, ground was broken on construction of a new 7 WTC building located just to the north of the main World Trade Center site. Since it was not part of the site master plan, Larry Silverstein was able to proceed without delay on the rebuilding of 7 World Trade Center, which was completed and officially opened in May 2006; this had been considered a priority since restoring Consolidated Edison Co.'s electrical substation in the building's lower floors was necessary to meet power demands of Lower Manhattan. While 7 World Trade Center was not part of the master plan for the Twin Towers site, Silverstein and Con Edison recognized that the rebuilding of 7 World Trade Center would have to be consistent with the master plan which was expected to re-open the street grid which had been blocked by the original World Trade Center super-block. As a result, the design for the new 7 World Trade Center allowed for the re-opening of Greenwich Street, which had been blocked by the original 7 World Trade Center. A temporary PATH station at the World Trade Center opened in November 2003, pending replacement by a permanent station designed by Santiago Calatrava.

With the main World Trade Center site, numerous stakeholders were involved including Silverstein and the Port Authority, which in turn meant that George Pataki, the then-Governor of New York, had some authority. In addition, the victims' families, people in the surrounding neighborhoods, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and others wanted input. Governor Pataki established the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) in November 2001 as an official commission to oversee the rebuilding process. The LMDC held a competition to solicit possible designs for the site. The Memory Foundations design by Daniel Libeskind was chosen as the master plan for the World Trade Center site. The plan included the 1,776 feet (541 m) Freedom Tower (now known as One World Trade Center) as well as a memorial and a number of other office towers. Out of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, a design by Michael Arad and Peter Walker titled Reflecting Absence was selected in January 2004.

Planning

Governor Pataki established the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) in November 2001, as an official commission to oversee the rebuilding process. The LMDC coordinates federal assistance in the rebuilding process, and works with the Port Authority, Larry Silverstein, and Studio Daniel Libeskind, the master plan architect for the site's redesign. The corporation also handles communication with the local community, businesses, the city of New York, and relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks. A 16-member board of directors, half appointed by the governor and half by the mayor of New York, governs the LMDC. The LMDC had questionable legal status regarding the restoration of the World Trade Center site, because the Port Authority owns most of the property and Larry Silverstein leased the World Trade Center's office space in July 2001. But the LMDC, in an April 2002 articulation of its principles for action, asserted its role in revitalizing lower Manhattan.

In the months following the attacks, architects and urban planning experts held meetings and forums to discuss ideas for rebuilding the site. In January 2002, New York City art dealer Max Protetch solicited 50 concepts and renderings from artists and architects, which were put on exhibit in his Chelsea art gallery.

In April 2002, the LMDC sent out requests for proposals to redesign the World Trade Center site to 24 Manhattan architecture firms, but then soon withdrew them. The following month, the LMDC selected Beyer Blinder Belle as planner for the redesign of the World Trade Center site. On July 16, 2002, Beyer Blinder Belle unveiled six concepts for redesigning the World Trade Center site. All six designs were voted "poor" by the roughly 5,000 New Yorkers that submitted feedback, so the LDMC announced a new, international, open-design study.

In an August 2002 press release, the LMDC announced a design study for the World Trade Center site. The following month, the LMDC, along with New York New Visions – a coalition of 21 architecture, engineering, planning, landscape architecture and design organizations – announced seven semifinalists. The following seven architecture firms were then invited to compete to be the master plan architect for the World Trade Center:

  • Foster and Partners (Norman Foster)
  • Studio Daniel Libeskind (Daniel Libeskind)
  • Meier Eisenman Gwathmey Holl (Peter Eisenman, Richard Meier, Charles Gwathmey and Steven Holl), sometimes known as "The Dream Team"
  • Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  • THINK Team (Shigeru Ban, Frederic Schwartz, Ken Smith, Rafael Vinoly)
  • United Architects

Peterson Littenberg, a small New York architecture firm, had been enlisted by the LMDC earlier that summer as a consultant, and was invited to participate as the seventh semifinalist.

The seven semifinalists presented their entries to the public on December 18, 2002, at the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center. In the following weeks, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill withdrew its entry from the competition.

Days before the announcement of the two finalists in February 2003, Larry Silverstein wrote to LMDC Chair John Whitehead to express his disapproval of all of the semifinalists' designs. As the Twin Towers' insurance money recipient, Silverstein claimed that he had the sole right to decide what would be built. He announced that he had already picked Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as his master planner for the site. On February 1, 2003, the LMDC selected two finalists, the THINK Team and Studio Daniel Libeskind, and planned on picking a single winner by the end of the month. Rafael Viñoly of the THINK Team and Studio Daniel Libeskind presented their designs to the LMDC, which selected the THINK design. Earlier the same day, however, Roland Betts, a member of the LMDC, had called a meeting and the corporation had agreed to vote for the THINK design before hearing the final presentations. Governor Pataki, who had originally commissioned the LMDC, intervened and overruled the LMDC's decision. On February 27, 2003, Studio Daniel Libeskind officially won the competition to be the master planner for the World Trade Center redesign.

Libeskind's original proposal, which is titled Memory Foundations, underwent extensive revisions during collaboration with Larry Silverstein, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, whom Silverstein hired. Though Libeskind designed the site, the individual buildings have been designed by different architects. While not all of Liebeskind's ideas were incorporated into the final design, his design and the public support it garnered did solidify the principle that the original footprints of the Twin Towers should be turned into a memorial and not be used for commercial purposes. As a result, Liebeskind's lawyers at the New York firm of Wachtell Lipton embarked on the multi-year negotiation process to frame a master plan for the rebuilding. The first step in this process, completed in 2003, was the "swap" in which Silverstein gave up his rights to the footprints of the Twin Towers so that they could become a memorial, and in exchange received the right to build five new office towers around the memorial. The "swap" and the ensuing negotiations, which lasted for many years, have been referred to as the most complex real estate transaction in human history because of the complexity of the issues involved, the many stakeholders, and the difficulty of reaching consensus.

Controversy and criticism

There was much debate regarding the future of Ground Zero following the destruction of the World Trade Center. Disagreement and controversy regarding who owned the property and what would be built there hindered construction at the site for several years. Many wanted the Twin Towers to be rebuilt, but stronger and taller. The project for new Twin Towers was called Twin Towers II which was led by the informal organization, Twin Towers Alliance. Others did not want anything built there at all or wanted the entire site to become a memorial. Finally, a master plan was agreed upon, which would feature a memorial and museum where the original Twin Towers stood and six new skyscrapers surrounding it.

The social center of the old World Trade Center included a spectacular restaurant on the 107th floor, called Windows on the World, and its Greatest Bar in the World; these were tourist attractions in their own right, and a social gathering spot for people who worked in the towers. This restaurant also housed one of the most prestigious wine schools in the United States, called "Windows on the World Wine School", run by wine personality Kevin Zraly. Despite numerous assurances that these local landmarks and global attractions would be rebuilt, the Port Authority scrapped plans to rebuild these WTC attractions, which has outraged some observers.

An episode of CBS's 60 Minutes in 2010 focused on the lack of progress at Ground Zero, particularly on the lack of completion dates for a majority of the buildings, the main tower, One World Trade Center's having undergone three different designs, and the delays and monetary expense involved. Investor Larry Silverstein said the Port Authority's estimated completion date for the entire site was 2037, and billions of dollars had already been spent on the project, even though Ground Zero "is still a hole in the ground". During an interview for the episode, Larry Silverstein said: "I am the most frustrated person in the world....I'm seventy-eight years of age; I want to see this thing done in my lifetime".

One World Trade Center itself was met with criticism early in its planning and construction stages. The original design, which was asymmetrical, significantly shorter, and called for an off-center spire, was met with much disapproval, causing a new one to be devised. A key feature of the final design, the fortified, windowless base, was also denounced as looking dreary and unwelcoming. To alleviate this problem, the designers decided to clad it with prismatic glass panels. Since the failure of that plan, it is now unclear what the base will be covered with. The name change from Freedom Tower to One World Trade Center was met with some criticism. The then-Governor of New York, George Pataki, stated in 2003 that "the Freedom Tower isn't going to be One World Trade Center, it's going to be the Freedom Tower."

Rebuilding

On March 13, 2006, workers arrived at the World Trade Center site to remove remaining debris and start surveying work. This marked the official start of construction of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, though not without controversy and concerns from some family members. In April 2006, the Port Authority and Larry Silverstein reached an agreement in which Silverstein ceded rights to develop the Freedom Tower and Tower Five in exchange for financing with Liberty Bonds for Towers Two, Three, and Four. On April 27, 2006, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the Freedom Tower.

In May 2006, architects Richard Rogers and Fumihiko Maki were announced as the architects for Towers Three and Four, respectively. The final designs for Towers Two, Three and Four were unveiled on September 7, 2006. Tower Two, or 200 Greenwich Street, will have a roof height of 1,254 feet (382 m) and a 96 feet (29 m) tripod spire for a total of 1,350 feet (410 m). Tower Three, or 175 Greenwich Street will have a roof height of 1,155 feet (352 m) and an antenna height reaching 1,255 feet (383 m). Tower Four, or 150 Greenwich Street, will have an overall height of 946 feet (288 m). On June 22, 2007, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that JP Morgan Chase will build Tower 5, a 42-story building on Site 5 occupied by the Deutsche Bank Building, and Kohn Pedersen Fox was selected as the architect for the building. Four renowned architects, including Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who designed the transit hub, One WTC designer David Childs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, and the famed British architect Norman Foster of Foster and Partners designed Tower Two and masterminded the iconic diamond design, will greatly enhance the street-level atmosphere of the rebuilt site. The projects will be complete between early 2013 to mid-2015 respectively.

Publisher Condé Nast agreed to move its headquarters to One World Trade Center in 2010, and with this shift, many more tenants were expected to move to the building. As of August 2011, One World Trade Center was at 80 stories with glass up to the 54th floor, Tower Four was up around 38 stories with glass up to the 15th floor, and the former Deutsche Bank Building had been completely dismantled, and the Port Authority was working on their Vehicle Security Center. The World Trade Center Transportation Hub's PATH hall is nearly complete. The memorial officially opened to relatives of the deceased on September 11, 2011, and to the general public on September 12. World Trade Center Tower Three's foundations are becoming visible, and was completed in mid-2014. By December 2011, Tower Two's foundations were finished and assembly of the frame was started. Because numerous American and Chinese companies were "very interested" in leasing space at the WTC, Two World Trade Center was likely to be finished earlier than expected.

A report in September 2013 revealed that, at the time of the report, the World Trade Center Association (WTCA) continues to negotiate with the One World Trade Center in regard to the title "World Trade Center", as the WTCA purchased the rights to the name in 1986. The WTCA is seeking free office space in the tower worth US$500,000 in exchange for the use of "World Trade Center" on the One World Trade Center tower and associated souvenirs.

In early December 2013, Australian retail corporation Westfield announced that it would invest US$800 million for complete control of the retail space at the rebuilt center. Westfield Corporation, a global shopping mall operator, will purchase the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s 50 percent stake in the retail part of the World Trade Center site, increasing its total investment to more than US$1.4 billion.

In April 2014, with the opening of the 9/11 Museum, temporary fences, used for construction, were removed around the 9/11 Memorial. At the same time, the 9/11 Memorial discontinued the requirement for tickets in order to enter the memorial, not only providing pedestrian access to the future towers, but also a path through the site to the Memorial Plaza and surrounding streets. All construction-related fences in the World Trade Center are expected to be removed with the opening of the final tower sometime in 2015–18.

Structures

Six towers, a 9/11 memorial and museum, a mall, a transportation hub, a parking lot, a park, and a church are to eventually occupy the new World Trade Center. As of March 2015, progress on the construction of the redesigned site was as follows:

Towers

One World Trade Center (previously coined the "Freedom Tower" by Governor Pataki) is the centerpiece of Libeskind's design. The building rises to 1,368 feet (417 m), the height of the original World Trade Center north tower, and its antenna rises to the symbolic height of 1,776 feet (541 m). This height refers to 1776, the year in which the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. The tower was a collaboration between Studio Daniel Libeskind and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architect David Childs. Childs acted as the design architect and project manager for the tower, and Daniel Libeskind collaborated on the concept and schematic design. According to a NY1 article on March 8, 2011, a plan to build a restaurant on top of One World Trade Center (to duplicate the Windows on the World restaurant atop the previous North Tower) was scrapped entirely because of potential risk of rising costs to build and maintain the establishment over the benefits of having one at all. Also in 2011 it was confirmed that Condé Nast Publications would be a primary tenant of the building.

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels designed Two World Trade Center, also known as 200 Greenwich Street. The building's gardens integrate Tribeca with the Financial District at the World Trade Center.

Richard Rogers Partnership designed Three World Trade Center, or 175 Greenwich Street, which stands across Greenwich Street from the Memorial's two reflecting pools.

Maki and Associates designed Four World Trade Center, also known as 150 Greenwich Street.

Five World Trade Center was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and will stand where the Deutsche Bank Building once stood. On June 22, 2007, the Port Authority announced that JP Morgan Chase will lease the 42-story building for its investment banking headquarters; however, JPMorgan's March 2008 acquisition of Bear Stearns had caused construction to stagnate, as the company changed its plans and relocated its headquarters to 383 Madison Avenue. Construction began on September 9, 2011.

7 World Trade Center stands off of Port Authority property. David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed the tower, which opened in May 2006.

Memorial and museum

A memorial called "Reflecting Absence" honors the victims of the September 11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The memorial, designed by Peter Walker and Israeli-American architect Michael Arad, consists of a field of trees interrupted by the footprints of the twin towers. Pools of water fill the footprints, underneath which sits a memorial space whose walls bear the names of the victims. The slurry wall, which holds back the Hudson River in the west and was an integral part of Libeskind's proposal, remains exposed. Walker and Arad were selected from more than 5,000 entrants in the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition in January 2004. Construction of the memorial was completed before September 11, 2011.

On October 12, 2004, the LMDC announced that Gehry Partners LLP and Snøhetta, an architectural firm from Norway, would design the site's performing arts and museum complexes, respectively, in the same area as the memorial. The Snøhetta-designed museum will act as a memorial museum and visitors' center, after family members of 9/11 victims objected to the building's original occupant, the International Freedom Center. Gehry's performing arts complex will house only the Joyce Theater, as the Signature Theater Company dropped out due to space constraints and cost limitations. The Ground Zero Museum Workshop is a privately run 501c nonprofit museum that is not connected to the official Ground Zero Memorial or Gehry's museum.

Retail space

In early December 2013, Australian retail corporation Westfield announced that it will invest US$800 million for complete control of the retail space at the rebuilt center. Westfield purchased the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s 50 percent stake in the retail part of the World Trade Center site, increasing its total investment to more than US$1.4 billion.

Transportation Hub

Santiago Calatrava designed the World Trade Center Transportation Hub (its main asset being the PATH station) to replace the old World Trade Center station. The Transport Hub will connect the PATH station and 1 New York City Transit Authority subway train to the ferry terminal, the World Financial Center and One World Trade Center on the west and the 2 3 4 5 A C J Z N R New York City Transit Authority subway trains through the Fulton Center on the East. One will be able to walk most of the way across lower Manhattan. The Port Authority will cool the new station, as well as the September 11 Memorial and Museum, via a heat exchanger fed by four pipes carrying water from the Hudson River. The cost for the transportation hub is estimated at $3.44 billion.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church

Government officials have backed down from a July 2008 deal to relocate the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only church destroyed in the September 11 attacks.

A deal has been reached between church officials, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the Port Authority to have the church rebuilt on the same site, but three times the original size on October 14, 2011, according to NY1.

The World Trade Center's new logo, revealed in August 2014, was designed by the firm Landor Associates and shaped like a "W". All the black bars, the empty spaces, and the "W" itself symbolizes something, giving the logo at least six meanings:

  • Each of the five bars in the logo represents the five towers that will be the World Trade Center when it is complete.
  • The top half of the logo features bars cut off at a 17.76-degree angle, evoking One World Trade Center's 1,776-foot height.
  • There are two white columns at the top symbolizing the Tribute in Light memorial.
  • The three black bars at the top also symbolize the Twin Towers' trident-shaped columns.
  • The two black bars at the bottom also stand for the twin pools of the 9/11 Memorial.
  • The logo, as a whole, is in the shape of a "W", which stands for "World Trade Center" and "Westfield World Trade Center".

Landor Associates was awarded a $3.57 million contract in 2013 for redesigns, which comprised "the performance of professional services for the development and implementation of the World Trade Center (WTC) site-wide wayfinding, signage, and operational communications program" and included the development of the new logo. Douglas Riccardi, the principal in the design firm Memo, stated, "Its strength is its ability to be seen in many ways. You could never get more meaning in five little bars. The problem is that people may not bother to find out what the meanings are."




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