The tower was crowned last week with a final installation of a 124-metre steel spire, bringing the skyscraper’s symbolic height to 1,776 feet – the year of America’s declaration of independence.
The installation of the spire drew a global audience as the two pieces that make up the spire were lifted by crane and fitted over an already existing antenna.
The antenna will support broadcast facilities within the building and feature a coloured LED light reminiscent of the torch held by the Statue of Liberty. The light will be visible from 10 miles away according to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey vice chairman Scott Rechler. The Port Authority owns the site, also known as Ground Zero following the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks on the original World Trade Center buildings.
“It will be a beacon of hope, just like the statue of liberty,” said Rechler.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said the installation of the spire was a proud moment for the city and the state.
“This milestone at the World Trade Centre site symbolises the resurgence and resilience of our state and our nation,” he said.
The tower is a structural symbol of healing and a focal point among the surrounding buildings on and near the site.
One World Trade Center is monumental and reflects the already sleek, steel skyscrapers for which New York’s skyline is renowned.
The public lobby, which houses a podium, is perhaps the building’s most striking feature, boasting a transparent 60-foot-high ceiling that drenches the ground floor with natural light. The use of iron, which is generally found in glass walls for structural stability, was reduced to further encourage daylight, and increase visibility, thereby reducing energy requirements.
“This glass will be clearer than the old World Trade Center’s,” Port Authority design consultant Eduardo del Valle told Architectural Digest.
“Compared to an older skyscraper, you will definitely see a clearer view.”
The entire development was sustainably designed, with most of the material used in the building’s construction consisting of post-industrial recycled materials.
Rainwater tanks were installed to cool the tower and irrigate the surrounding landscaping, and the site boasts technology that promises to reduce water consumption by about 30 per cent over than what is saved in a typical water-efficient building in New York.
Considering the history of the site, safety was vital. The building features three-foot concrete slabs to withstand high winds and earthquakes.
“It has a concrete core, with very thick concrete walls,” said del Valle, adding that the podium features blast resistant walls, state of the art fire suppression systems, specially protected elevators and a dedicated stairway for emergency personnel.
The building exceeds New York City building code requirements for its advanced life-safety systems and is designed to set the standard for all high-rise buildings in new york.
The ground floor of the tower houses a memorial of the 3,000 people that were killed during the original World Trade Center collapse, and a museum is also under construction. Upon completion, the One World Trade Center will house 69 floors of commercial office space and its $3.9 billion price tag has made it the world’s most expensive office building.
One World Trade Center will also feature broadcast floors, two fountains, observation decks and restaurant and retail space. It is expected to open in early 2014.
Master plans for the Ground Zero site were unveiled in December 2002 by architect Daniel Libeskind, who originally designed the entire site. He envisioned not only replacing a hole in the skyline, but an investment in human spirit through architecture.
“Restoring the spiritual peak of the city, creating an icon that speaks to our vitality in the face of danger and our optimism in the aftermath of tragedy,” he said at the time.
The tower has been subject to a decade of bureaucratic debate over the final design. The plan was previously known as the Freedom Tower and, after several revisions, SOM, an architectural firm recognised for an array of global tall building projects revised the design in 2005.