One World Trade Center (also known as 1 World Trade Center, One WTC and 1 WTC; the current building was dubbed the “Freedom Tower” during initial basework) refers to the main building of the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is the tallestskyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, and the fourth-tallest in the world. The 104-story supertall structure shares a numeric name with the northern Twin Tower of the original World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The new skyscraper stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre (6.5 ha) World Trade Center site, on the site of the original 6 World Trade Center. The building is bordered by West Street to the west, Vesey Street to the north, Fulton Street to the south, and Washington Street to the east.
Construction of below-ground utility relocations, footings, and foundations for the new building began on April 27, 2006. On March 30, 2009, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey confirmed that the building would be officially known by its legal name of “One World Trade Center”, rather than its colloquial name of “Freedom Tower”. The building is 104 standard floors high, but the tower only has 94 actual stories.
One World Trade Center became the tallest structure in New York City on April 30, 2012, when it surpassed the height of the Empire State Building. The tower’s steel structure was topped out on August 30, 2012. On May 10, 2013, the final component of the skyscraper’s spire was installed, making the building reach a symbolic height of 1,776 feet (541 m). Its height measurement in feet is a reference to the year when the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. The building opened on November 3, 2014. The new World Trade Center complex will initially comprise three other high-rise office buildings, which will be built along Greenwich Street, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, located just south of One World Trade Center, where the original Twin Towers stood. The construction of the new building is part of an effort to memorialize and rebuild following the destruction of the original World Trade Center complex.
David Childs of SOM, the architect of One World Trade Center, said the following regarding the tower’s design:
We really wanted our design to be grounded in something that was very real, not just in sculptural sketches. We explored the infrastructural challenges because the proper solution would have to be compelling, not just beautiful. The design does have great sculptural implications, and we fully understand the iconic importance of the tower, but it also has to be a highly efficient building. The discourse about Freedom Tower has often been limited to the symbolic, formal and aesthetic aspects but we recognize that if this building doesn’t function well, if people don’t want to work and visit there, then we will have failed as architects.