Traces of the ruins of the former World Trade Center are no longer to be found in Manhattan. New skyscrapers are being built on the spot of the tragedy. The world wants them to be the symbol of victory over terrorism and a manifestation of the power of America.
On September 11th, 2011 at 8.46 local time everyone's eyes were turned towards New York. At 9:03 everyone realized that what they were seeing was not a film. Two gigantic boeings crashed into the southern and the northern towers of World Trade Center. After a few minuted the steel construction collapsed like a house of cards burring 3000 victims. The void left after the dust settled uncovered painful attack at the sense of security.
Today Ground Zero is full of life. In March the population of Manhattan has doubled compared to 2000. Companies estranged by rental rates in the city centre more and more often choose the souther part of the prestigious district of New York. Since the attack, Americans have been doing everything to prove that despite the disaster they are still invincible. The message is simple and plain: "You did not defeat us. If you hit again we will rise again". Thus, on the spot of the two towers there are four (maybe five) being build. Their names (1WTC, 3WTC, 4WTC, 7WTC), although modified, clearly refer to the twin towers designed by Minoru Yamasaki (WTC1, WTC2) which were destroyed after 30 years of existence.
The new city centre will combine the ideas of modernity, security and sustainable building, at the same time preserving the memory of the tragedy. On the tenth anniversary of the attacks two pools called "Reflecting Absence" lined with bronze panels inscribed with the names of the victims were uncovered. That minimalistic memorial was designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, it is located on the spot of the towers and is the biggest water installation in the world. The buildings itself will bot be rebuild - they are symbolised by two lines of light pointing towards the sky.
The Rebirth of Ground Zero
The surroundings of the place where the two towers were standing is a large construction site. So far 7WTC was commissioned to use (built 2004-2206), it is said to be the gate to the new centre. Designed by David Childs the whole building has already been rented. It is owned by Larry Silverstein – the developer who a couple of weeks before the tragedy signed a lease of WTC towers for 99 years. David Childs, who designed the whole architectural and urban plan, suggested to the businessman that each building in the complex should be designed by a different designer and the whole should be a manifestation of American cosmopolitan character. Silverstone accepted the idea and commissioned the design of the main building to Childs.
1WTC, aka Freedom Tower, will bring the return of the business elites to Ground Zero. The building, which today has 80 storeys, by 2013 will reach, with its antenna, a symbolic 1,776 feet (541 m) in reference to the year of the United States Declaration of Independence. Originally 1WTC was to be designed by Daniel Libeskind; however, finally it was David Childs who became the author of the project and introduced many improvements to his predecessor's plans. Instead of off-center spire intended to echo the Statue of Liberty the building will have a central spire. Octagonal building whose walls will make isosceles triangles turning by 180° will be covered with glass entirely.
Other buildings are being built in Ground Zero. 4WTC at the moment has 42 storeys but in two years, when the construction works will be finished, there will be 72 storeys waiting for tenants. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will occupy one third of the space. Designed by Fumihiko Maki building will be 977 m high, being the fourth highest building on the spot of the former towers.
Construction works on 80-storey 3WTC tower will be finished in 2015. The building was designed by Richard Rogers, laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. 2WTC is still at the stage of planing. The skyscraper will be distinguished by its shimmering top in the shape of a diamond which, according to the designer - Norman Foster, is to symbolise indestructible roof of the city.
Safety and ecology
The designers paid special attention to safety considerations. Wider staircases will facilitate evacuation of the people in the towers. Quick evacuation will be possible also thanks to exits located on each side of each building. Materials and construction solutions applied in the buildings will resist crushes, tornadoes, fire and bomb explosions. Lessons have been learned – steel and reinforced concrete used at construction provide a guarantee which exceeds American high building standards by 59%.
Representing the city, WTC complex will be environmentally friendly. Each building is to receive LEED Gold certification. US Green Building Council has already awarded 7WTC making it the first commercial building in the USA with LEED Gold certification.
The plans to build in the most famous location in the world have been rising controversies since the very beginning. The spot of the tragedy witnesses conflicting interests: memory about the tragedy and strict laws of the market, where new deals are being constantly made. Is the new World Trade Center going to become an inherent element of the city, just as WTC towers designed by Minoru Yamasaki were? It is not until the walls hiding the construction site are removed that we will learn whether the new buildings will be the realization of the American dream about freedom.