I had the opportunity last week to go on a guided tour of 7 World Trade Center (WTC), the 52-story tower that was completed in 2006. Our tour guide was Derek Moore, associate at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP, the architecture firm also behind the design for Tower 1: The Freedom Tower (One WTC) that is still under construction.
According to Moore, the redevelopment plan for the WTC site called for a reconstitution of some of the original streets, like Fulton and Greenwich, which now makes the building more accessible by car. Tower 7 was part of the first big piece of redevelopment for the site, with construction beginning in 2002.
On the outside of the building glass artist and designer James Carpenter used ultra-clear, low-iron glass to provide a wall for the first 10 floors of the building, where the electrical substation that powers much of Manhattan is housed. During the day, the wall reflects natural sunlight and at night it is illuminated with blue LED lights. Inside the main lobby, above and behind the security desk, a series of LED lights built into plastic panels scroll snippets of poetry about New York City, and can clearly be seen on the exterior.
We ventured up to the 49th floor, which is currently unoccupied, and there we could see the in-progress Tower 1 construction, which is already 400 ft. tall. The Freedom Tower is adjacent to the World Trade Center Memorial and is going to be a colossal building, scaling 1,776 ft. high (coincidently the year of The Declaration of Independence). When it is finished, Tower 1 will be the tallest all-office building in the world and the tallest in America.
Both 7 WTC and Tower 1 feature advanced life-safety systems that exceed the requirements of the NYC Building Code. According to Moore, the fireproofing is five times more durable than the original towers.
Lastly, we visited the 10th floor, where there is a 3D miniature model of the entire WTC site plan and video mock-ups of the buildings. The replica gave a better sense of the overall layout and proportions of the buildings in relation to one another.
Tower 1 is set to be completed in 2013.