hen completed, this will be one of the most important buildings of the early 21st century. It is significant in stature, in design, in its politics, its symbolism, and for the reason it was built.
The Freedom Tower, or One World Trade Center, is the replacement for what was once New York's World Trade Center. In September, 2001 terrorists destroyed several of the Center's buildings, including the massive 110 -story twin towers. The stated reason for this action was to protest the United States' support of the nation of Israel and its people. The terrorist attack only served to solidify the bond between the U.S. and Israel, and caused wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and the toppling of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Thousands died when the twin tower fell, and millions were emotionally and psychologically scarred.
The Freedom Tower is more than a real estate project. It is rehabilitation for those hurt by the terrorists and a way to heal the scar on a nation. Part of the healing process is new growth, which this tower represents. But it has been a painful process. The early designs were ridiculed. When the first cohesive plan came out of the pack it, too, found slews of detractors. New Yorkers are notoriously cranky people and they took aim at the design. Most had forgotten, or were too young to remember, that the original twin towers were also the subject of much vitriol for their design and expense. It was only after those towers were taken away that the city realized it had grown to love its pair of white albatrosses. But detractors stalled the project for more than a year, adopted celebrity real estate mogul Donald Trump as their mouthpiece, and embarrassed the city and the nation by allowing the United Arab Emirates to begin work on what would become the world's tallest tower while New Yorkers were busy sticking their thumbs in each other's eyes.
The current design is much less flashy than the previous one. It is something like a large sloping block with the corners carved off, so it appears that the entire building twists as it gets higher. The building's faces will be huge triangles that taper toward the top and the bottom. At the center of the building, they will form an octagon. The skyscraper is symmetrical. Asymmetry was something in the last design that set a lot of people off. Some people also don't appreciate the spire at the top. They forget that the Twin Towers had a spire, too, and the mast is necessary for communications transmitters.
The new Freedom Tower will pay homage to the twin towers in several ways. The base of the Freedom Tower will be 200 feet square -- the same dimensions as the original towers. The observation deck will be at 1,362 feet: the height of World Trade Center Tower Two. The glass parapet will be at 1,368 feet: the height of World Trade Center Tower One.
That square base is a safety measure, not just an engineering method. Though it will be clad in glass prisms, the 186-foot-tall base will be a windowless concrete wall, intended to absorb and deflect the blast from car or truck bombs. The glass prisms will be coated with plastic like automobile safety glass to help absorb the impact. It is hoped that the prisms will refract light into color and make the monolithic security measure an eye-pleasing curiosity. The Twin Towers were targeted by Islamic terrorist truck bombs twice, once successfully in 1993, before they were destroyed by terrorists in jets in 2001. The corners of the base will taper inward, with small reflecting pools at ground level.
The Freedom tower is just one of several buildings that will be erected to compose the new World Trade Center. The design is officially known as "Memory Foundations" because it leaves room for several memorials in the 16-acre complex. One of those memorials is the slurry wall, more commonly known as "the bathtub." This structure was the basement of the World Trade Center and served to hold back the Hudson River to keep it from flooding the complex. It was here that the remains of thousands of dead were found, and hundreds more who were never found. People will be able to walk down a ramp from ground level all the way down to bedrock along the edge of this wall -- the last original remaining piece of the twin towers.
Designed by: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Maximum height: 1,776 feet / 541 meters
Maximum width: 200
Maximum length: 200
Location: One World Trade Center
City: New York
State: New York
**Sculptor Kenneth Snelson is working on the spire at the top of the building.
**The glass prisms at the base will each be 13-feet tall.
**The base of the tower will be 186-feet tall.
**The base of the tower will be 200-feet by 200-feet.
**The top of the tower will be 145-feet by 145-feet.
**The shaft of the tower will be 1,182 feet tall.
**The main structure will be topped by a 408-foot-tall mast containing antennae. The base of the mast will be surrounded by a 145-foot wide ring containing more equipment.
**The trees surrounding the Freedom Tower will be sweetgum trees.
**The corner cutaways are each 186 feet tall. The Twin Towers also had chamfered corners.
**The building tapers inward at an angle of 3.8 degrees. The chamfers taper outward at the same angle, resulting in a 16-foot overhang.