On the 13th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Co.Design has published a terrific piece by writer Karrie Jacobs on how One World Trade Center went from a symbol of resiliency to "just another office tower," through design changes prompted by security concerns and pulled off by developers in the interest of saving money. One quickly recognizable instance: the opaque box that makes up its lower floors, where the tapered shape of the tower comes to an abrupt halt with a "15-story-tall blast proof bunker trying very hard to pretend that it's not." This change, made by co-developer Durst after the NYPD demanded that the tower be fortified against potential truck bombs, covers up the "most elegant design gesture" of architect David Childs' heavily edited final design, where the lower portion of the building tapers toward the ground, mirroring the shape of the top section.
Durst recouped a percentage of the savings from this and other changes, value-engineering the design of what architect Daniel Libeskind, creator of the original master plan for the World Trade Center complex, once described as a tower that was "reaching toward the unfathomable." In other words, business as usual in what "was not supposed to be the usual New York City building."Head to Co.Design for the full story of how we ended up with two towers: "the monument we set out to building in aftermath of 9/11, and the commercial high-rise that is now nearing completion at the corner of Vesey and West Streets."