Iconic Architectural Projects: Remembering the World Trade Center, NYC

Remembering the World Trade Center: A Tribute to Resilience

Nearly two decades have passed since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, forever altering the skyline of New York City. The World Trade Center stood as a beacon of American prosperity and innovation, yet tragically became a target for terrorism. In the aftermath of the attacks, the once bustling site lay in ruins, presenting a formidable challenge for rebuilding efforts.

However, in the years that followed, the World Trade Center site underwent a remarkable transformation. Today, it boasts several architectural marvels, including the iconic Freedom Tower, the poignant National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and the stunning Oculus.

If you're fascinated by the World Trade Center's history and architectural significance, you won't want to miss exploring these remarkable projects. Dive deeper into the story by checking out this engaging blog!

In this article, we'll delve into the rich history of the original World Trade Center site and the inspiring journey of its reconstruction. From its inception to its enduring legacy, we'll explore the various stages of this immortal project, a symbol of resilience and unity in the face of adversity.

So then, join us in paying homage to this enduring symbol of human achievement, tragically marred but never forgotten, as we dedicate this post to the memory of the World Trade Center.

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The iconic Twin Towers of downtown Manhattan- Image Source: https://i.pinimg.com

The Twin Towers of New York in History

  • In 1968, the world's tallest architectural building rose in the middle of NYC: The World Trade Center, also known as the Twin Towers of New York. It was a complex of seven buildings in Lower Manhattan in New York City. The original Twin Towers (North Tower and South Tower) were completed in 1972 and 1973 respectively.
  • Both towers stood at 1,368 feet (417 m) with 110 stories. The North Tower was home to commercial and retail stores. The South Tower housed offices for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages the site and its surroundings.

  • They were part of a complex called the World Trade Center. Unfortunately, the two buildings were entirely destroyed on September 11, 2001, by terrorist attacks. They were one of the best architectural buildings in the world at this time. They were uniquely tracing the New York skyline, which no other city could rival!

  • The North Tower (1) was completed in December 1972, followed by the South Tower (2) which 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.

  • The groundbreaking ceremony for the World Trade Center took place on August 5, 1966.

  • The building 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). The attacks on the World Trade Center resulted in 2,753 deaths and few did survive. Read more...

A Remarkable Architectural Project worldwide ever!

Since my early years, as I was born in the ’70s of the last century, my eyes were fascinated by those architectural projects and ultra-terrestrial edifices, if I can say at that time; They have featured anywhere that would have related to the future and whatever within its orbit would be.

And why it cannot be? It was the first and the tallest building ever built in human history. In one word, it was a remarkable architectural project ever!

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Fig. 1- The original landscape of the site, featuring the 7 WTC towers before being destroyed in 2001, Source: Wikipedia

The original World Trade Center was an architectural project 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 "World Trade Center Ground Zero" or "the Pile" immediately after the September 11 attacks, was first opened on April 4th, 1973.

The iconic twin towers of NYC'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 landmark 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)

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Fig. 2- The Preliminary proposal site renewal after the September 11th attacks, featuring the Memorial Remembering right 
in place of the destroyed Towers, Photo-Source: Wikipedia

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. 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, built in 1931 and also in Manhattan.

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).

➤ Read more: Refer to a previous article on my blog entitled: 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.

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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: Wikipedia 

7 World Trade Centers collapsed later in the day. The other buildings, although they did not collapse, had to be demolished because they were very damaged beyond repair. However, the cleanup and recovery process at the World Trade Center site took eight full months. The first new building at the site was the 7 World Trade Center, which opened in May 2006.

World Trade Center Facts | Building Specifications

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.

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Fig. 3- The original WTC complex, Source: Wikipedia

The cost for the construction was $400 million ($2,169,167,354 estimated in 2011). 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). (Fig.4)

Other buildings of the Center 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 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 Architectconsists 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 victims' names.

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Fig.4- The WTC before the September 11th attacks- Image Source: https://americanmusclecar.wordpress.com

Following is a graphical comparison table schedule of the 20 tallest architectural buildings on the planet until the year 2020. In addition, I shared a video showing a quick round-up of the world's TALLEST BUILDINGS: Size Comparison (1901-2022)  Enjoy!

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Illustrated List of the 20 tallest buildings in the world

Main References:

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