One World Trade Center, (see update) more simply known as 1 WTC and previously known as the Freedom Tower, is the lead building of the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City. The 104-story supertall skyscraper is being constructed in the northwest corner of the 16-acre World Trade Center site, occupying the location where the original 8-story 6 World Trade Center once stood. The building is bounded to the west by West Street, to the north by Vesey Street, to the south by Fulton Street, and to the east by Washington Street. Construction on below-ground utility relocations, footings, and foundations for the building began on April 27, 2006. On March 30, 2009, the Port Authority confirmed that the building would be known by its legal name of One World Trade Center, rather than the colloquial name, Freedom Tower.
At the time of its completion in 2013, One World Trade Center will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the third-tallest building in the world by pinnacle height, with its spire reaching a symbolic 1,776 feet (541.3 m) in reference to the year of American independence. It has been the tallest building in New York since April 30, 2012. However, its overall roof height, at 1,368 feet (417.0 m), will still be 82 feet (25.0 m) shorter than the roof of Chicago’s 108-story Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). The new World Trade Center complex will also feature three other high-rise office buildings, located along Greenwich Street, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, located just south of One World Trade Center, where the Twin Towers once stood. The construction is part of an effort to memorialize and rebuild after the original World Trade Center complex was destroyed during the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Following the destruction of the original World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, there was much debate regarding the future of the World Trade Center site. Proposals began almost immediately, and by 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation organized a competition to determine how to use the site. Public rejection of the first round of designs, the “Preliminary Design Concepts,” led to a second, more open competition in December 2002, in which a design by Daniel Libeskind was selected. This went through many revisions, largely because of disagreements with developer Larry Silverstein, who held the lease to the World Trade Center site on September 11, 2001. Criticism was leveled at the limited number of floors in an early plan that were designated for office space and other amenities. Only 82 floors would have been habitable, and the overall office space of the entire rebuilt World Trade Center would have been reduced by more than 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2) in comparison with the original complex. The floor limit was imposed by Silverstein, who expressed concern that higher floors would be a liability in the event of a future terrorist attack or other incident. Much of the building’s height would have consisted of a large, open-air steel lattice structure above the roof of the tower, containing wind turbines and “sky gardens.” In a subsequent design, the highest space that could be occupied became comparable to the original World Trade Center, and the open-air lattice was removed from the plans. In 2005, during the tower’s planning stages, former New York Governor George Pataki faced accusations of cronyism for supposedly using his influence to get the winning architect’s bid picked as a personal favor for his friend and campaign contributor, Ron Lauder.
A final design for the “Freedom Tower” was formally unveiled on June 28, 2005. To satisfy security issues raised by the New York City Police Department, a 187-foot (57 m) concrete base was added in April of that year. The design originally included plans to clad the base in glass prisms to address criticism that it looked uninviting and resembled a “concrete bunker.” However, this later proved unworkable, as preliminary testing revealed that the prismatic glass easily shattered into large and dangerous shards. As a result, it was replaced by a simpler facade consisting of stainless steel panels and blast-resistant glass. Contrasting with Libeskind’s plan, the final design tapers octagonally as it rises. Its designers stated that the tower would be a “monolithic glass structure reflecting the sky and topped by a sculpted antenna.” Larry Silverstein commented in 2006 on a planned completion date: “By 2012 we should have a completely rebuilt World Trade Center, more magnificent, more spectacular than it ever was. “On April 26, 2006, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey approved a conceptual framework that enabled foundation construction to begin, and a formal agreement was drafted on the following day, the 75th anniversary of the 1931 opening of the Empire State Building.
The tower’s construction began in May with a formal ceremony that took place when the first construction team arrived. The building’s topping out has been projected for spring 2012, and it is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2013.
In 2009, the Port Authority changed the official title of the building from “Freedom Tower” to “One World Trade Center,” stating that this name was the “easiest for people to identify with.” In May 2011, detailed floor plans of the tower were displayed on New York City’s Department of Finance website, resulting in an uproar from the media and citizens of the surrounding area, who warned that the plans could potentially be used for a future terrorist attack. In April 2012, with the tower nearing completion, the owners of 1 WTC began a public marketing campaign for the building, seeking to draw in visitors and additional tenants