Jul 202011

Freedom Tower, Architectural RenderingRedemption at Hallowed Ground

One World Trade Center, known also as New York’s Freedom Tower has now reclaimed the Manhattan skyline after more than twelve years of planning and construction.  The steel superstructure has recently achieved its final height.  Here are some images showing the design and the construction progress.  When completed, the official height with spire will be 541.3 meters (1,776 feet) with over 3.5 million square feet on 104 floors.  Cost of construction is estimated to reach $3.8 billion.  The finished building will be the tallest in the Western Hemisphere.  Several  other Ground Zero buildings are also under construction and are rapidly taking shape.

- Architects: David Childs; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
- Developer: Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
- Owner: Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

One World Trade Center is fifty-five percent leased.  When completed, the structure will bear a “LEED Gold” certification for environmentally responsible design and construction.  Opening is expected at the end of 2013.



Freedom Tower, September 2013

September 1013

Construction Progress

The tower’s steel superstructure has topped out at 105 floors (nominal) and the roof parapet is complete.  The structure reaches 1,368 from ground to parapet.  This matches the original world trade center towers which were destroyed on September 11, 2001.  The spire and beacon top at 1776 feet above the Manhattan streets. 

The remaining gaps in the building’s glass curtain wall are being filled in as the construction elevators and cranes are cleared.   Down at street level, the blast-resistant base is presently being covered with an exterior finish system of glass and steel.


On the morning of May 190, Freedom Tower was topped out by adding the final piece to the spire.  The uppermost section of the spire with its illuminated beacon have been raised and bolted in place, completing the 408-foot tall communications mast. The tower’s final height of 1776 feet has finally been realized.

By convention, the height of a tall building is measured to the top of its spire, but not to the top of its antenna.  A spire is any part of the structure which supports or encloses an antenna while an antenna is the actual metal part which conducts radio signals.

The spire for the Freedom Tower was subject to a late re-design and will no longer incorporate the distinct spiral concept as originally planned.  Considerable controversy surrounds the new design, including its legitimacy as a true architectural spire.


The 180-foot concrete base which is designed to resist explosive blast will contain the building’s 80-foot tall entrance lobby and three mechanical floors.  Fabrication issues required a redesign of the tower’s base.  Corners were straightened out eliminating the original reverse-taper.  A different cladding will replace the prismatic glass system originally planned.  Corners of the base have been filed in with steel framework.  Installation of the new glass and steel base cladding is ongoing.


Other Buildings of Special Interest:

Architect's Rendering of WTC Transportation Hub

WTC Transportation Hub at Ground Zero by architect Santiago Calatrava

Architect's rendering of Spaceport America

Spaceport America in New Mexico, USA by architect Norman Foster

Proposed Kingdom Tower in Jeddah Saudi Arabia

Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Placing Freedom Tower's Beacon

Placing Freedom Tower’s Beacon May 10, 2013


Photo of work at the base of Freedom Tower.  March, 2013

Work at the base of Freedom Tower. March, 2013


Space Shuttle Discovery flies past the Freedom Tower April 27, 2012

Space Shuttle Discovery flies past the Freedom Tower April, 2012


Real time views of Freedom Tower and Surrounding  Structures:

Ground Zero Webcam


Shown below is architect Daniel Libiskind’s original design for the Freedom Tower.   This scheme was the legitimate winner of a 2003 competition which was held for purpose of architect selection.  The concept incorporated an asymmetric spire as a metaphorical acknowledgement of the nearby Stature of Liberty.  Due to political and other interests, Libiskind’s concept was pushed aside for the (arguably) less interesting present design.

Lebiskind's Origianl Design for the Freedom Tower

Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It could have been…”


 Other Tall Towers:

Burj Khalifa Building, Dubai

Burj Khalifa Building, Dubai

Just for comparison, here is the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai, United Arab Emeritus. Completed in 2010, this is the tallest building in the world. 828 meters (2,616 feet) tall and 163 floors.  The Burj Khalfia was designed by the same architects (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) as the Freedom Tower.

Willis Building (Sears Tower), Chicago

Willis Building (Sears Tower), Chicago

Still, the tallest in the USA is the Willis Building – formerly and more widely known as the Sears Tower in Chicago.  1,451 feet (1,730 feet with its pinnacle) and 110 stories.  Resemblance to the Burj above is no coincidence.  The same architects (SOM again) designed the Sears Tower and the same structural configuration (bundled tube) was used for both buildings.




Proposed Kingdom Tower in Jeddah Saudi Arabia

Proposed Kingdom Tower in Jeddah Saudi Arabia

If that’s still not tall enough, the Kingdom Tower is planned for construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  The structure will be 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) tall, which will make this the new King of Tall.  ______________________________________________________________________________________________

For twenty years,  has stood out among Santa Fe Architects by creating unique residential and commercial architecture in Northern New Mexico.



  6 Responses to “Freedom Tower Progress 2013”

  1. These photo’s are so breath taking! It is so amazingly awesome what y’all have done & are continuing to do for our country & 9/11. All I can really say is THANK YOU!

  2. - I am familiar with Calgary Tower but i have never seen it befroe from this view Really your angle of perception is very good and appreciable .you have a power to make things alive from your camera ..Good job done keep doing.Thank YouSpread the love:

  3. Designed by renowned architect David Childs, of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLP, One World Trade Center incorporates new architectural and environmental standards, setting a new level of social responsibility in urban design. As New York City’s tallest skyscraper, its antenna tower will rise an impressive 1,776 feet into the sky as an ever-present symbol of renewal and hope for the future.

  4. When the freedom tower is completed in late 2013,it will not have windows of the world restaurant,instead a subwaty sandwich shop.That is not fun.

  5. As someone who watched the Twin Towers be destroyed and burn for a month.Today,22 Jan.’13 I pulled up to an overlook here in Jersey with a complete view of Manhattan some10-15 miles away.Finally that hole in the downtown skyline is filled! From this vantage point it can clearly be seen the increased height over the Empire State Bldg. I pulled out my 10X binoculars from the glove box es focused them on the Tower.BEAUTIFUL,as I took it all in! I then had a feeling of sorrow and PRIDE,even though the only connection I had to the former bldgs.was that of a volunteer for The Salvation Army driving a truck with food,water,rescue supplies for a couple of weeks to aid rescue workers.I just know how proud all the lost souls of that horrible day would feel to witness this as well today!! Respectfully,G.L.Mitchell-N.J.

  6. Freedom Tower is beautiful and New York City is now complete. Thank you labors for bringing back a beautiful site. My dreams is to travel to New York City and touch the building. I touched a piece of the Twin Towers when it was bought and placed in Grand Island Nebraska. I felt so much sorrow. Now I can feel excited that our country is now complete. Respectfully Jean England- G.I. NE

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