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One World Trade: Rebuilding in their memory


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"We will rebuild. We're going to come out of this stronger than before ... The skyline will be made whole again." - New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in a speech made on September 11, 2001

Today, on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a mega structure stands in the New York City skyline. It is the new One World Trade Center and thanks to over 10,000 workers it is 104 stories tall and stands at a symbolic 1,776-feet. This is a deliberate reference to the year when the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. For many, it serves as a shining beacon of the hope and resilience of the American people in the wake of tragedy–a light at the end of the tunnel. The skyscraper, which is currently the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and sixth tallest in the world, overlooks the reflecting pools and museum of the 9/11 memorial, as well as the rest of the new World Trade Center area. 

Out of the ashes of 9/11, one of the safest, most innovative, and beautiful skyscrapers in America has risen.

For many, this project was symbolic for personal reasons. Many of the ironworkers who helped to build One World Trade Center have relatives who worked to construct the original buildings.  Daniel Tishman of Tishman Construction who oversaw construction of the new tower has a similar story. Daniel’s father, John Tishman, was responsible for erecting the original Twin Towers in the 1960s. The building's architect is David Childs, and he is fully aware of the emotional implications that this redesign holds for our nation. But, if you ask him he will humbly say, “The design does have great sculptural implications, and we fully understand the iconic importance of the tower, but it also has to be a highly efficient building.”

Among their hopes for creating a beacon of greater strength and unity, was the desire to create a structure that was literally stronger than what had stood before. A twisted tapering design makes One World Trade much stronger and in a combined effort, steel and concrete unions worked together to design composite buildings with very thick concrete cores. Among the advantages of this system are increased space for protected shafts and twice as much storage space for emergency water for the sprinkler systems. 

As a result of the famously known difficulty of rescue in the original stairwells, the stairwells in this design are much wider with photoluminescent strips. In an effort to be a good example for the profitability of environmental construction, the building was designed to achieve LEED CS Gold Certification. It showcases innovative energy sources, as well as off-site renewable wind and hydro-power making it both safe and environmentally friendly.

Overall the project was fueled by $30 billion in government and private investment. The complex also includes two new malls filled with upscale retailers, thousands of new hotel rooms and dozens of eateries. So far, three towers have been built with plans for more, including a long-stalled performing arts center at the original World Trade Center site. It will be called the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center and was recently announced as the new home of the Tribeca Film Festival. It's slated to open in 2019.

Out of the ashes of 9/11, one of the safest, most innovative, and beautiful skyscrapers in America, has risen. As the new tower fills a void in the New York City skyline, it will never replace the nearly 3,000 lives that were lost. But it does show that the life of the city will continue to thrive and is more powerful than the forces that attacked it. So, on this day and every year forward we will honor those who were lost by rebuilding in their memory.