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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Remembering the Twin Towers

In this article, I’ll be short reviewing the different stages through which passed the execution of an immortal project across the eras and an architectural icon of all time: the World Trade Center of New York, as a tribute to this wonderful construction ever.
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The iconic twin towers of downtown Manhattan- Image Source: https://i.pinimg.com

Since my early years, as I was born in the ’70s of the last century, my eyes were fascinated by an ultra-terrestrial edifice, if I can say at that time, featuring anywhere that would have related to the future and whatever within its orbit would be.
Moreover, why it cannot be? It was the first and the tallest building ever built in human history.

Fig. 1- The original landscape of the site, featuring the7 WTC
towers as before being destroyed in 2001,
Source: en.Wikipedia.org
The original World Trade Center was a complex of seven buildings (see fig.1) featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States.

The site, formerly referred to as "Ground Zero" or "the Pile" immediately after the September 11 attacks, was first opened on April 4th, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11th attacks.

The iconic twin towers of downtown Manhattan’s World Trade Center were a triumph of human imagination and will. Completed in 1973, the towers stood at 110 stories each, accommodating 50,000 workers and 200,000 daily visitors in 10 million square feet of space.

They were the hub of the bustling Financial District, a top tourist attraction and a symbol of New York City’s–and later America’s–steadfast devotion to progress and the future. 

After the attacks, the site is being rebuilt with five new skyscrapers and a memorial to the casualties of the attacks (see Fig. 2).

As of September 2011, only one skyscraper has been completed with four more expected to be completed before 2020.

A sixth tower is still awaiting confirmation to be built.
Read more: Refer to a previous article on my blog untitled: 8 Best Worldwide Architectural Projects in 2016 (with Images) featuring the One World Trade Center as one of the 8 best worldwide architectural projects in the year 2016.
At the time of their completion, the original 1 and 2 World Trade Centers were the tallest buildings in the world, surpassing the Empire State Building, constructed in 1931 also in Manhattan.
Fig. 2- The Preliminary proposal site renewal after the
September 11th attacks, featuring the Memorial
Remembering right in place of the destroyed Towers

The complex was designed in the early 1960s by Minoru Yamasaki and Associates of Troy, Michigan, and Emery Roth and Sons of New York.

The twin 110-story towers used a tube-frame structural design.

To gain approval for the project, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agreed to take over the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad, which became the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH). The groundbreaking ceremony for the World Trade Center took place on August 5, 1966.

The North Tower (1) was completed in December 1972 and the South Tower (2) was finished in July 1973. The construction project involved excavating a large amount of material, which was later used as a landfill to build Battery Park City on the west side of Lower Manhattan.

When the towers were finished, (Fig. 3) each one would have 97 passenger elevators, capable of carrying loads of up to 10,000 pounds at speeds of up to 1,600 feet per minute. In all, the towers were assembled from more than 200,000 pieces of steel manufactured around the country, 3,000 miles of electrical wiring, 425,000 cubic yards of concrete, 40,000 doors, 43,600 windows, and six acres of marble.
World Trade Center
Fig. 3- The original WTC complex

The cost for the construction was $400 million ($2,169,167,354 in 2011 dollars). The complex was located in the heart of New York City's downtown financial district and contained 13.4 million square feet (1.24 million m2) of office space.

The Windows on the World restaurant was located on the 106th and 107th floors of 1 World Trade Center (the North Tower) while the Top of the World observation deck was located on the 107th floor of 2 World Trade Center (the South Tower).

Other World Trade Center buildings included the Marriott World Trade Center; 4 World Trade Center; 5 World Trade Center; 6 World Trade Center, which housed the United States Customs.

All of these buildings were built between 1975 and 1981. The final building constructed was the 7 World Trade Center, which was finished in 1985. The second King Kong was filmed in 1976 with some scenes mentioning and showing the World Trade Center.

The World Trade Center experienced a fire on February 13, 1975, and a bombing on February 26, 1993. In 1998, the Port Authority decided to privatize the World Trade Center, leasing the buildings to a private company to manage and awarded the lease to Silverstein Properties in July 2001.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda-affiliated hijackers flew two 767 jets into the complex, one into each tower, in a coordinated terrorist attack. After burning for 56 minutes, the South Tower (2) collapsed, followed a half-hour later by the North Tower (1), with the attacks on the World Trade Center resulting in 2,753 deaths.

7 World Trade Center collapsed later in the day and the other buildings, although they did not collapse, had to be demolished because they were damaged beyond repair.

The process of cleanup and recovery at the World Trade Center site took eight months. The first new building at the site was the 7 World Trade Center, which opened in May 2006.

Fig. 4- The site as it appeared in 2012: The pools lie on the approximate site of each twin tower. The left is the North Tower and the right is the South Tower, Photo Source: en.Wikipedia.org 

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), established in November 2001 to oversee the rebuilding process, organized competitions to select a site plan and memorial design.


Memory Foundations, designed by Daniel Libeskind, was selected as the master plan, which included the 1,776-foot (541 m) One World Trade Center, three office towers along Church Street, and a memorial (see Fig. 2 & 4) designed by Michael Arad, an Israeli-American young Architect, consists of a field of trees interrupted by the footprints of the twin towers.

Pools of water fill the footprints, underneath which sits a memorial space whose walls bear the names of the victims.

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The WTC before the September 11th attacks- Image Source: https://americanmusclecar.wordpress.com

Following is a graphical comparison table-schedule of the 20 tallest buildings on the planet until the year 2020. Enjoy!

Main References:

1- en.wikipedia.org (the Internet Encyclopedia)
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