One World Trade Center Facts and Introduction

One World Trade Center is a supertall building in New York City, United States. Formerly known as Freedom Tower, it is currently the tallest building in New York City. Below are the facts and introductions of One World Trade Center.

Looking up at One World Trade Center

Name: One World Trade Center,

Also briefly known as 1 WTC, it’s the tallest and the main tower of 4 new towers set to be built for the redevelopment of World Trade Center, it together with 4WTC were the first two towers built in the redevelopment of World Trade Center, and the name of One World Trade Center is same with original World Trade Center North Tower.

The tower was once called Freedom Tower, for its left centered spire resembles Statue of Liberty, now that name had been abandoned, in 2009 the owner of the tower had stated precisely that the name of the tower had been changed to One World Trade Center.

Today there are lots of buildings named World Trade Center all over the world, the name rights of World Trade Center had been purchased by an organization called World Trade Center Association (WTCA) in 1995, nearly all the buildings in the world named World Trade Center are authorized by WTCA, same for One World Trade Center, the owner of the tower had given an amount of office space to WTCA in exchange of the name of World Trade Center.

One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center

Height: Architectural-541 meters (1776 feet) Roof-417meters (1368 feet)
According to CTBUH, the architectural height of One World Trade Center is 1776 feet or 541 meters, and 1368 feet or 417 meters without antenna atop the roof, the architectural height of the tower is temporally ranked first in New York City and United States, as well as the whole West Hemisphere, but if judged by the roof it’s the 2nd tallest in New York City, 3rd tallest in United States, after Willis Tower and 432 Park Avenue.

One World Trade Center seen from above
One World Trade Center seen from above

In the original design there’s a spire installed atop the roof, but got replaced by a bare antenna in 2012, confusingly CTBUH still maintain the height of 1776 feet for the tower even after the spire had been replaced by the plain antenna, which always doesn’t count in architectural height. The number 1776 of the height in feet represents the year of 1776 when United States Declaration of Independence was signed, in fact the total height of the tower is 546m or 1792 feet as there’s a little skinny component of the antenna beyond the point of 541m, as shown below:

A thin needle atop the antenna brings the tower's total height to 546m
A thin needle atop the antenna brings the tower's total height to 546m

As of 2017, One World Trade Center ranks the 7th among all the tall buildings over the world by architectural height.

Location: The address of One World Trade Center is 285 Fulton Street, Manhattan.

Although it is the rebuilt project of original One World Trade Center, the new tower is not built on the same site with the original tower, but northwest of it. The location of new tower is where the destroyed 6 World Trade Center situated. The sites of original twin towers have been transformed to two reservoirs, the owner said it’s the wishes of the citizens. The south entrance of new One World Trade Center is 70 meters or 230 feet northwest of the center point of the reservoir which on the site of North Tower.

Being located in Downtown New York, One World Trade Center is 4.5 km or 2.8 miles away from Empire State Building, another landmark building of the city that situated in Midtown. These two buildings along with the newly built 432 Park Avenue are 3 tallest and most recognizable towers in the skyline of New York.

locations of New One World Trade Center and original towers.
A photoshoped picture made by a fan showing the approximate discrepancy of the locations of New One World Trade Center and original towers.
432 Park Avenue, Empire State Building, One World Trade Center
Three tallest buildings in New York skyline. From the left to right, 432 Park Avenue, Empire State Building, One World Trade Center

Uses:  Office, Observation, restaurant

The tower mainly functions as an office building, the first 19 floors are the protective base, office spaces occupy 20th to 90th floor, the floors above the 90th floor are mechanical floors, the floors from 100th floor on to 103rd floor are occupied with observation decks and restaurants. The antenna atop the roof is used for telecom communication.

Owner:

The main owner of One World Trade Center is Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, same owner of the original World Trade Center Twin Towers. Real Estate corporation Durst Organization holds 5 percent equity of the tower for it invested in the construction. The developer Larry Silverstein is a long term leaseholder of the whole World Trade Center site.

Design and Development:
After the destruction of the World Trade Center Twin Towers, the governments of New York State and New York City ordered the establishment of Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which then organized a series of bidding activities to select the design for redevelopment of World Trade Center.

World Trade Center Twin Towers
One World Trade Center was planned after the destruction of World Trade Center Twin Towers

And in December 2002, the organizers announced that the design for the buildings of the New World Trade Center had been finalized, the main tower was called vertical world gardens, designed by Architect Daniel Libeskind from Poland, but that design was not favored by the developer Larry Silverstein, so it went though several revisions.

The model of the original design of Libeskind's World Trade Center
The model of the original design of Libeskind's World Trade Center

At the same time David Childs from SOM was also working on a different design asked by Larry Silverstein, his design was a 2000 feet tower looking a bit twisting, office floors tops out at 64th floor, above that is an array of wind turbines and a super long spire enclosed within a transparent super structure. In the later this design was revised in cooperation with Daniel Libeskind, after the revision, the upper portion of the transparent super structure enclosing the spire was removed, making the spire exposed to the air, and the spire was relocated to be off-center, this final version designed by Daniel Libeskind and David Childs was unveiled in December 2003, according to Daniel Libeskind the shape of the tower was inspired by Statue of Liberty, its off-center spire was designed to remind an arm of the statue of liberty as she carries the torch, for this it was called Freedom Tower.

Freedom Tower designed by David Childs collaborating with Daniel Libeskind.
Freedom Tower designed by David Childs collaborating with Daniel Libeskind.

In this design the total height of the tower is 610 meters or 2000 feet, but the highest occupied floor is at only 350 meters or 1150 feet, above that are hollow grid shape steel structure which will be used as some sky gardens for tourists. This design made the tower’s usable office spaces largely reduced comparing with the original tower, the design had been criticized as having no practicability by some people, including Donald Trump, the current president of America.
At last the design was abandoned.

A render of Daniel Libeskind's Freedom Tower
A render of Daniel Libeskind's Freedom Tower, some people think this old design is more attractive, but its highest usable floor is under 350 meters, from this render which looked from a higher angle we can see it's not much taller than the nearby buildings if the steel lattice structure is removed.

The project was eventually handed over to David Childs to redesign, this time Daniel Libeskind didn't participate in it.

The final design was unveiled in June 2005, in this final design the height of the tower is 1776 feet or 541 meters to its tip, the roof height is 417 meters or 1368 feet, same as the original World Trade Center North Tower.

One World Trade Center under cloudy sky
One World Trade Center under cloudy sky

The base shape of the tower is a square with the length and width of 61 meters, the roof shape is another smaller square revolved 45 degree and inscribed in a hypothetical square that as large as and parallels the base square, each angle of the roof square is set right at the longitudinal extended line of the midpoints of each edge of the base square, with 8 straight lines connecting each angle of the roof square and base square, forming 8 giant elongated triangles on the surface of each side.
This design makes the tower appears differently to different places in the city, from some corners in the city the tower looks tapered, but looks straightly upward from some other corners.

The tower appears tapering from this angle
The tower appears tapering from this angle
The tower appears straightly upward from another angle.
The tower appears straightly upward from another angle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 124 m antenna is built above the roof of the tower, with several circular support rings surround the bottom of the antenna. The rings and the antenna itself are for broadcasting uses.

One World Trade Center designed by David Childs
One World Trade Center designed by David Childs

The shape of this final design is largely affected by an unbuilt tower proposed in 1990s called New York Stock Exchange Tower, which was proposed by Donald Trump, who is now the current president of America. New York Stock Exchange Tower was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, its shape was almost exactly same with One World Trade Center but taller and tapered.

New York Stock Exchange Tower render
New York Stock Exchange Tower render

And on June 14, 2017, another architect from Georgia named Jeehoon Park sued architectural firm SOM in Manhattan federal court ​for the credit of the design, claiming the design of One World Trade Center was plagiarized from his works, as One World Trade Center looks very similar to a concept building called Cityfront 99 which he created as a graduate student​ ​in 1999.

The model of Jeehoon Park's Cityfront 99 and a photo of One World Trade Center

There are other towers with similar shapes in other cities, too, for instance, Torre De Cristal Madrid in Madrid, Spain, and Northeast Asia Trade Tower in Incheon, North Korea.

Torre De Cristal Madrid look up
Torre De Cristal Madrid look up
Northeast Asia Trade Tower
Northeast Asia Trade Tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One World Trade Center was developed by Larry Silverstein, who held the lease to the site of World Trade Center, he signed a long time lease for the site of World Trade Center in July 2001, when Original World Trade Center twin towers were still there.
Because of the disputes on the funds, security, design, the reconstruction of One World Trade Center was delayed to five years later after the destruction of the twin towers.

All the disputes and issues got solved in May 2016, the construction of the project finally started, the construction was contracted by Tishman Construction.
The foundation construction began in May 2006.
The construction of concrete core started in January 2008 and the tower began to rise above the street level on May 17th 2008.
As the most important building of the redevelopment of World Trade Center the stability and security were highly concerned by developer. In order to avoid some ground-level attacks by terrorists a 57m high reinforced base is added to the bottom of the office floors, this reinforced base took 2 years to complete.
After that the tower keeps rising with a pace of one floor per week on average.
On April 30th, 2012, medias reported that the tower had reached a height of 382 meters, surpassing 381m Empire State Building becoming the new tallest building in New York City.
The tower topped out structurally in August 2012 when it reached 417m or 1368ft, the expected height of its roof, then the installation of antenna started. The antenna was divided into several sections and installed piece by piece. In May 2013, all the sections of antenna were done installed, the tower officially topped out at 541m or 1776ft.
Almost in all the cases the antenna could not be count into the architectural height of a building but spire could, for instance, Willis Tower has two antennas on the roof, bringing its total height to 527 meters, but its architectural height is still considered to be 442 meters, not 527 meters. By contrast the Petronas Towers have spires atop them, so they are considered to be 452 meters which measured to their tips, so even they look shorter than Willis Tower but still surpassed it to become the tallest buildings in the world in 1998.
In November of the same year, CTBUH announced the final decision as to whether the architectural height of the tower will be 1368 feet or 1776 feet, they determined the height to be 1776 feet, stating that even though the antenna of One World Trade Center is not a spire enclosed with radom it is still an integral part of the tower, just like those telecom towers, so the antenna should be count into the height of the tower. But they didn’t explain why antennas of Willis Tower don’t count.

Since then One World Trade Center consequently became the tallest building of the Western Hemisphere, and 3rd tallest building of the world by that time. As of 2017 One World Trade Center is the 7th tallest building in the world among all the built and topped out buildings, and still keeps holding the title of the tallest building of Western Hemisphere.
It is worth mentioning that even when the construction was still ongoing the building had been perfectly integrated into the cityscape with its construction illumination.
That’s why it can be shown in Dark Knight Rises even in construction phase, a popular movie filmed in 2011 when the building was still under construction, the tower shows up many times with different appearances in each time, some are modified, there’s a scene in which the tower shows up with its exactly same appearance without modification and being lit up with construction lights when Lucius Fox making a phone call standing at a site in Jersey City with the tower behind him across the Hudson River.
Not only so, the construction illumination would changes to a variety of colors in catering of some festivals and some special events, similar with Empire State Building, as if it was already a completed tower.

One World Trade Center construction illumilation
One World Trade Center with its construction lights lit up

The costs of the construction of One World Trade Center was the highest in the world for a single building by that time, it cost up to 3.9 billion dollars, much more than the expected, but this is still the number after several cost reductions, the most noted reduction was on its spire, the spire was originally set to be a true spire that enclosed with protective spiral radom, budget limitation and the preference of the investor made it to be replaced with a exposed bare antenna. This change saved 20 million dollars.

The change of the antenna of One World Trade Center
The change of the antenna of One World Trade Center

Tourism and Sightseeing:

An observatory named One World on the upper floors of One World Trade Center opened in May 2015. The tower has 104 floors, the uppermost two floors are mechanic floors, observation decks are set at 100th, 101st and 102nd floor, the main one is on the 100th floor, the highest one on the 102nd floor is 387 meters or 1270 feet high from the ground, a bit lower than the open-air observatory on the rooftop of the former World Trade Center South Tower, which is 415 meters high.
But still high enough to view the more than half of the metropolis area, except of some scenery like Central park blocked by the towers in midtown, and even some nearby states can be seen when weather is fine.
The ticket price of standard admission is 34 dollars as of 2017, same as the observation deck on 86th floor of Empire State Building. But the highest observatory of Empire State Building is at 102nd floor, it costs an extra 20 dollars, and is only 369m, lower than One World Observatory. The operator of One World Observatory estimated that the observatory could attract 3.5 million tourists every year, almost same as the amount of Empire State Building.

The main observation deck of One World Trade Center
The main observation deck of One World Trade Center

Popular Culture:

One World Trade Center has been featured in a lot of films and video games since it was still in construction phase, below is an incomplete list of the films or video games have One World Trade Center featured.
2012 superhero film Dark Knight Rises:
The Gotham city in this film is no longer based on Chicago like in Dark Knight, they chose New York City as the main prototype of the city, One World Trade Center naturally appears in the city, however, the tower appears differently every time, sometimes is modified, sometimes not.

By that time One World Trade Center had only been built to half height, however what featured in some shots of the film was modified and seem is completed as it has no scaffolding and cranes on it but the height is just like what it was in reality at that time at around 200 meters, they didn’t modify it to the intact shape like depicted in the renders of the building.
Apparently they don’t know the design of One World Trade Center, it can be certain they didn’t even see the renderings of the tower at all.
Although the film has good plots and effects, but to be honest the virtual world in the film really can not be complimented, they failed to create a virtual city,
For avoiding the Gotham city in the film to be same with real New York, they just did the rough modifications, such as removing some districts of New York and replace these districts with sea or rivers, or just mirroring a whole district of buildings into two symmetric districts.
And in a scene even skyline of Los Angeles is mixed into the Gotham City.
The Gotham city in FOX TV series Gotham looks much better as more features and buildings of New York are modified, but they don’t put One World Trade Center into the city.
2016 film Ninja Turtle 2: There’s a poster of the film has One World Trade Center in the background.

A poster showing One World Trade Center besides a turtle.
A poster showing One World Trade Center besides a turtle.

2012 science fiction action film Iron Sky: One World Trade Center and Norman Foster’s version of Two World Trade Center are featured in the movie poster.

The poster of the film Iron Sky showing the rebuilt towers of World Trade Center
The poster of the film Iron Sky showing the rebuilt towers of World Trade Center

2006 comedy film Click:

Near the end of the film, the lead character gets in the old age through that amazing clicker, he held a open-air music party at a location near the Lower Manhattan, One World Trade Center can be easily picked out in the skyline of Lower Manhattan, with the same design as in the reality, but is made into twin towers.

2011 video game Crisis 2:
In contrast with the first installment of the Crisis series, which take place in the wild forests, Crisis 2 takes place in New York City, the game was released in 2011, at the time One World Trade Center was still under construction, but the time in the game is set in 2023, so One World Trade Center is featured in the game.

2012 Superhero film The Avengers:
The battle between the avengers and their enemies takes places in the gaps of the skyscrapers in Manhattan, One World Trade Center can be seen under construction in several shots.

2014 comedy film Birdman: The tower can be seen in a shot in the film, note: this film is not a superhero film as it sounds.

2008 science fiction action film Babylon A.D. :

The climax of the film occurs in New York City in the future, the rebuilt One World Trade Center and Two World Trade Center are all featured in the skyline of the New York when the scene first switched to New York.
Then Two World Trade Center gets a close shot showing the villain High Priestess is in a meeting with her men inside the tower on the uppermost floor. The version of Two World Trade Center is Norman Foster’s, the former design of Two World Trade Center.

New York City in the future depicted in Babylon A.D.
New York City in the future depicted in Babylon A.D.

TV series The blacklist: The tower appears several times in the some episodes of the series.

horror drama TV series The Strains

The hideout of vampires is beside a sewer under the site of World Trade Center.

TV series Blindspot: One World Trade Center can be seen in some episodes which show the skyline of New York City. Near the end of the pilot episode, before the cops arrived the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center is clearly featured in a shot.

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