One World Observatory, New York City: Hours, Address, One World Observatory Reviews: 4.5/5
4 stars based on
The Twin Towers were sterile, inhumane structures that epitomized the crushing brutality of urbanism at its worst in the 20th century. Biography of the Buildingis identical, a big mistake resurrected for the 21st century. It is sterile and inhumane.
It is stunning but it is not beautiful. It is not timeless. No, it is stuck in a time warp. It is not heartless and it is not soulless, but its heart and soul exist in spite of its form.
The thousands of men and women who built it are also part of its heart and soul. I do not like the building. New York should have rebuilt in the spirit of the heroic period of its skyline. If the rebuild had hit the reset button circaLower Manhattan, New York City, the nation and the world would have been able to move into the future from there.
The ongoing time- warp bubble of modern architecture would have been popped, and a gigantic step in a still possible return to the humane in how we build cities might have been achieved. Someday it will happen because modern architecture is unsustainable. The architectural establishment will hold its cards close to its vest.
I have argued for over a decade that the architectural establishment conspired to make sure that no traditional WTC master plan would ever be built. I have had no pushback against that theory. I believe it could have been accomplished by the same collection of outsized talents in development, engineering and construction that she describes had they been instructed to try.
And that might have happened if the deck had not been unjustly and immorally stacked against such an eventuality for half a century. Just look at the earliest phases of the rebuild. In spite of itself, their plan probably served as a warning to the architectural establishment of danger ahead. And the wannabes dominated the early dog-and-pony shows. Alas, Ground Zero developer Larry Silverstein and the LMDC wimped out, joined in the hosing of the public and, because the architectural establishment was already biased against world trade center rebuilding options at one times architecture, we got the Libeskind proposal.
All of the late-stage finalists were stinkers. Maybe Libeskind was the best at summoning the world trade center rebuilding options at one times words required to impress the powers that be.
And One helps, too. It is no schlump of a building. Through this kaleidoscopic display of refracted light and color, the tower insists on the present unrepeatable moment and, world trade center rebuilding options at one times that reason, is forever new.
A gentle giant, it meets its Janus task — to stand tall while avoiding any appearance of hubris — by inviting into the surface everything around it: It may appear minimal and unadorned, but it is not.
The chapters unfold almost as a tale of suspense. Here he is urging that they need to answer jurisdictional questions about:. One of the most compelling forces was the demand for safety. The innovative safety features of One helped to turn that meme around, just as the superior sustainability of traditional architecture might someday end up hammering nails into the coffin of modern architecture.
One elevator has a shaft and doors to ensure safety in a fire. In an emergency, the shaft is pressurized and an emergency door opens into a pressurized, dedicated vestibule that connects to a staircase reserved for firefighters.
Safety was only one of many competing interests. Another was that the height of the tower, 1, feet, earn it the title of tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. Its foot spire is almost a quarter of its total height — but would not count if it were declared world trade center rebuilding options at one times be merely an antenna, which is what it is. The Willis Sears Tower, tallying up at 1, feet, in Chicago, has held bragging rights as tallest hemispheric building for 40 years.
She should at least have raised an world trade center rebuilding options at one times. It was about the meaning of height and the ideals implied by 1, feet. But where was her Deep Throat on this vital matter? No big deal, really. My wife and I visited the observation deck of Taipei inthen the tallest building in the world. Our visit was a couple of months before was lapped by a building then under construction that is now the tallest, the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai.
Today, One World Trade Center is two buildings ahead of in the world trade center rebuilding options at one times tower sweepstakes but six behind the Burj.
The Willis is now seven behind One and 13 behind the Burj. The Empire State Building was tallest for 40 years until topped by the Twin Towers of the WTC, whose title lasted only two years — — before they were topped by the Willis, with its own run of 40 years. Not just the Western Hemisphere but the West itself no longer competes in this game. They are the th tallest in the world, preceded by the next taller three, tied at th, each of which nudge out the five next shortest by less than a single foot.
Or maybe it still is. Her classic, Skyscrapershas been updated and reissued twice since, most recently ina year prior to the completion of One. The Woolworth was the tallest for a while but would now be ranked, oh, what, maybe 1,th? I have no idea and probably nobody else has.
Many years ago, I was enthralled by a book, Skyscraper singularby Karl Sabbagh and published inabout the development and construction of world trade center rebuilding options at one times tall building in Manhattan, One Worldwide Plaza, of 50 stories.
Biography of the Building is like that book on steroids. For one thing, OWTC is big: And like any good coffee-table book, it is filled with extraordinary photographs. There are lush distant views world trade center rebuilding options at one times sunset, shots of different parts of the building that — OMG! There is a photo in which small massing studies of One stand as if waiting their turn to strut down the runway.
The number of diagrams of the building, the Ground Zero site, the museum, the innovative structural arrangements, maps of the building, of the site … it goes on and on. Some of the sketches by famous architects who entered the design competition are, um, intriguing. My opinion of the project notwithstanding, One World Trade Center is as big a book as its subject is tall. But it will fit under every Christmas tree. David is a dear friend and a much admired colleague. He is an avowed traditionalist, or at least a vocal anti-modernist.
He and I agreed to disagree a long time ago. For the first time in a long time, perhaps ever, the public was discussing architecture and planning. He had to do so to recoup the insurance proceeds that were needed to rebuild the site.
Not rebuilding was not an option; lower Manhattan was a residential neighborhood by that time, one now with a smoldering acre crater at its center, interrupted subway service, and temporary electrical generators.
Remember too that Silverstein had to continue paying rent on the destroyed buildings. But these physical and financial considerations were not the only reason that three, soon to be four, glass skyscrapers stand at the new Trade Center. Tall buildings increase density, but they also open up breathtaking views, a selling point for tenants who are willing to pay a premium for space.
It is not possible to discuss skyscrapers apart from their leasing potential; it will never be more economical to build a supertall. Additionally, glass has intrinsic qualities—openness, transparency, ambiguity, and perceptual complexity—that exist apart from fashion. Its design is experiential — the more you look at it, the more you see.
Another issue with replacing the Twin Towers with an entirely new design, world trade center rebuilding options at one times traditional or modern, is that we all know that the towers once were there. The response had to embody, and not simply erase, our collective memory of the day and the site. Its base is foot 61 m square, the measurements of the old towers world trade center rebuilding options at one times the new memorial pools.
Its cornice line is accentuated with a six-foot-tall 1. I am not an engineer. But if not, more buildings of shorter stature could have been built. Maybe, but not necessarily. The fact that we have built One and the rest of the WTC site means we can never try any alternative, and so we can never know whether it would have worked. As I stated, Judith, I believe that the team of experts that accomplished the impossible to built One could have built a traditional One.
No doubt what they did build was a masterful achievement. I still believe that it was deeply ingrained professional bias, banked over half a century, that rendered a traditional option unlikely, but certainly not impossible. I guess we will have to agree to disagree. It is an important disagreement, but one that hardly diminishes my respect for your own accomplishment in writing the book. Too bad it could not have been Look at any comparative diagram: In terms of actual roof height, the Sears is still taller.
Suck on that, New York. I wonder what sort of pressure was brought to bear on the panel to make such an obviously wrong decision — at least on its face it seems obviously wrong. I love New York but I sympathize with your concluding sentiment. It is always surprising how people can write whole books about the most uninteresting projects where the background criminalistics narrative of the power corridors is more entertaining that the buildings themselves.
The public, although suddenly curious about all things architectural, did not have the tools to understand the Beyer Blinder Belle master plan model that was presented initially. The dun-colored model looked dull to their inexperienced eyes.
The Libeskind tower was unbuildable, structurally speaking.