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.
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:
Real time views of Freedom Tower and Surrounding Structures:
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.
Other Tall Towers:
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.
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.
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. ______________________________________________________________________________________________