From tragedy to triumph, a tower soars 104 stories, 1,776 feet high, representing the year the Declaration of Independence was signed.
One World Trade Center (AKA The Freedom Tower) opened to businesses on November 3, 2014, and the three-story observatory, which opened on May 29, 2015, invites visitors to a spectacular view of the New York skyline.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, famous for designing some of the most notable modern tall buildings in the world, were the primary architects, under the supervision of designer David Childs. The firm, also known as SOM, was the architect of the Burj Khalifa and Chicago’s Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower).
Soon after the destruction of the original World Trade Center, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation initiated proposals for the reconstruction of a new tower, as well as a plan to memorialize the victims of the September 11 attacks.
When the public rejected the first round of designs, a second, more open competition took place in December 2002, in which a blueprint by Daniel Libeskind was selected as the winner. This design went through many revisions, mainly because of disagreements with developer Larry Silverstein, who held the lease to the World Trade Center at that time.
Construction began on April 27, 2006, but not after continuous delays and ongoing bureaucracy, including disputes between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the developer Tishman Realty & Construction. The Tishman construction firm was famous for its participation in building some of the tallest buildings in New York City, including the original World Trade Center complex and the John Hancock Center in Chicago. John Tishman died on February 6, 2016.
No doubt that security was a prominent concern in the design and construction of this tower, and terrorism was indeed a major consideration.
No one was more concerned than the NYPD, and after many debates and delays, the final proposal for the Freedom Tower 11-Year was approved and shown to the public on June 28, 2005, with a 187-foot base of concrete added.
Additionally, the building had installed stainless steel panels and blast-resistant glass. The Freedom Tower is designed to withstand earthquakes and has an elaborate security facility integrated within it.
In addition to 24×7 monitoring, there is a high-tech security system that includes video analysis in which computers would alert security personnel to abnormal situations automatically.
There are additional security apparatuses that have been installed, but their actual function has not been made public. What is known is that there are radiation detectors abound in lower Manhattan and the NYPD Hercules Team is ready at a moment’s notice.
Building the Skyscraper
On November 18, 2006, 400 cubic yards of concrete were poured onto the building’s foundation.
On December 17, 2006, a ceremony was held in Battery Park City, with the public invited to sign a 30-foot (9.1 m) steel beam. The beam was welded onto the building’s base on December 19, 2006. Construction was slow but continuous.
In 2012, workers installed the steel framework at the top of the tower to support the 408-foot spire. The spire was fabricated as 16 separate sections at a factory near Montreal, Quebec, and was transported by barge to New York City in mid-November of that year.
On May 10, 2013, the final component of the skyscraper’s spire was installed, making the building, including its spire, reach a total height of 1,776 feet, representing the date of the Declaration of Independence.
Negotiating the Wind Forces
Optimizing One World Trade Center for high winds was unique as the tower’s design included a geometrical shape that helps reduce exposure to wind loads.
Additionally, the core has reinforced concrete which provides the main support against resistance to the wind forces and other forces of nature.
The One World Trade Center observatory opened on May 29, 2015, and is currently the highest of the four observatories in the city at 1,268 feet.
There are three floors, including exhibits and a restaurant.
The most convenient way to purchase tickets would be to purchase them online.
Visitors who come to the Freedom Tower should also visit the 911 Memorial, which is a tribute to the 3,000 people who were lost, including the first responders.
The memorial contains the footprints of the former Twin Towers. It has continuous running water over two one-acre pools, one for each of the towers, called “Reflecting Absence“, signifying the physical void left by those who were lost.