What if the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, had been built in Manhattan? Makes One World Trade Center look kind of puny.
Almost twelve years after the devastating events on 9/11/01, the final two sections of the spire were placed atop the gleaming skyscraper at Ground Zero this morning. The official height is now a symbolic 1,776 feet.
With the cladding on the building nearing completion, it is easy to imagine what it will look like when finished. I personally believe NYC blew their opportunity to reclaim the skyline in an awesome way. This is too short, it took far too long to construct, and they allowed fear, politics, and greed to turn what could have been an amazing piece of architecture into a mediocre skyscraper.
When renders were released last year showing some significant design changes to One World Trade Center, many followers of the project were greatly disappointed. An ugly antenna replaced the modern spire, and the tapered edges of the base which reflected the isosceles triangles in the upper body of the building had been removed in favor of a boring and basic cube.
Although the official word was that both changes were related to either safety or maintenance, the truth seems to be neither. Esquire’s recent in-depth article might reveal the true reason for the changes.
As the estimate for completing the tower rose past $3 billion, the PA struck a deal in 2010 with a city real estate developer, the Durst Organization, to help finish, manage, and lease the tower: For $100 million, Durst received a 10 percent equity interest in the building, plus a $15 million management contract that gave Durst 75 percent of any monies saved by cutting construction costs up to $12 million, and a mere 50 percent of every penny cut thereafter.
To nobody’s surprise and David Childs’s despair, Durst found costs to cut, particularly at the top and bottom of the tower. The prismatic glass chosen to wrap the base of the building was replaced with a cheaper version, requiring that the corners of the tower’s first two hundred feet be squared off after those corners had already been tapered to meet the thousand-foot isosceles triangles of the curtain wall. Then Durst took its meat-ax to the tower’s 408-foot spire: By simply scrapping the radome — a sculpted shell of fiberglass and steel designed to sheathe the antennae and maintenance platforms atop the building — shazam! $20 million saved.
It is a shame that the centerpiece of rebuilding at Ground Zero has lost so much of its appeal because of greed, but perhaps good old greed makes this tower even more of an American symbol.
The iconic tower in lower Manhattan is expected to reach its final height of 1,776 ft sometime tomorrow when the final section of the mast is installed. Here is a recent photo of the skyscraper and a shot looking down from the antenna.
UPDATE: It should surprise no one that the topping out has been delayed. This building has been in an almost permanent state of delay since it began construction.
The iconic tower in lower Manhattan will reach its full height soon! From the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center:
With only one segment remaining, the spire atop 1 World Trade Center is on track for completion this month. The 408-foot-tall finial completes the tower’s full height of 1,776 feet, while work continues throughout the 1,368-foot-tall skyscraper. The Port Authority presented the latest updates to Community Board 1 on April 4th, noting that 55 percent of the building is pre-leased, and tenant floors are now being built out.
Source and more info here.
During my visit to New York City in the fall of 2001, I had the privilege of visiting the top of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. The observation deck encompassed both an indoor and outdoor viewing area. I have included photos from both vantage points, as well as a photo of the original globe that rested at the foot of the towers and a model of the southern tip of Manhattan that was displayed on the observation deck.
I took the following photos with a 35mm camera on 9/9/01 – two days before the towers came down. You can read more about my experience here.