Saturday, September 11, 2010

The New WTC Rises

A recent photo of the site that is already out of date. The new One World Trade Center is on the lower right.

Two years ago, I wrote about the proposed design for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center here in New York. Back then, the site was just a big dusty hole with a very temporary station for the PATH trains in the bottom of it. For so long, conflict and corruption ground reconstruction to a halt. The site is a complex Rubick's Cube of competing claims and interests that will never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. The victim's families are as divided as everyone else is these days. There are those who are happy with the reconstruction and see it as an act of defiance and of rebirth. There are others who are bitterly opposed and do not want to see any construction on the site, which is the final resting place of more than a thousand people.

Now, construction is proceeding rapidly. The 9/11 Memorial is already almost fully formed and scheduled to open next year ahead of expectations. The attached museum will open the following year. One Wold Trade Center (the former "Freedom Tower") is already more than 30 stories high (a stump by Manhattan standards). Work on two of the other towers is now well underway. The superstructure of Calatrava's train station is just starting to take shape. There are already high profile tenants waiting to move into the completed buildings. Conde Nast will move its operations from its building near Times Square to One World Trade Center when it is finished.

As I said two years ago, this is a project without precedent, a commercial construction that must play the public function of a memorial. I can't think of anything else quite like it. The design is less than I would like, but a huge improvement over what was there before.

At the moment, the rebuilding of the World Trade Center is the largest single construction project in the USA.

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