On the morning of September 11, 2001, two hijacked planes bound for California intentionally crashed into the two towers of the World Trade Center. The towers collapsed within two hours of the collisions. The original 7 World Trade Center, located just north of the towers, collapsed ten hours after that. Terrorists affiliated with Al-Qaeda organized and executed the attacks, in which approximately 3,000 people died. After the attacks, hospital workers and police officers began referring to the World Trade Center site as Ground Zero.
The collapse of the two towers spread dust across New York City and left hundreds of thousands of tons of debris at the site. To organize the clean-up and search for survivors and for human remains, the New York Fire Department divided the disaster site into four sectors, each headed by its own chief. Early estimates suggested that debris removal would take a year, but the clean-up ended in May 2002, under budget and without a single serious injury. Three years later, in February 2005, the New York City Medical Examiner’s office ended its process of identifying human remains at the site.
According to experts, when WTC 1 (the North Tower) collapsed, falling debris struck 7 World Trade Center and ignited fires on multiple floors. The uncontrolled fires ultimately led to the progressive collapse of the structure. Portions of the south tower damaged the nearby Deutsche Bank Building, too, which soon became filled with toxic dust. By 2002, Deutsche Bank determined that its building was unsalvageable. It is in the process of being demolished.
Clean-up workers trucked most of the building materials and debris from Ground Zero to Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island. Some people, such as those affiliated with World Trade Center Families for Proper Burial, worried that human remains might have inadvertently been transported to the landfill, too. In August 2008, New York City firefighters donated a cross made of steel from the World Trade Center to the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Company. The beam, mounted atop a platform shaped like the Pentagon, was erected outside the Shanksville's firehouse near the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93.
In December 2001, a temporary viewing platform at Fulton Street, between Church Street and Broadway, opened to the public.
A temporary memorial, called a Tribute in Light, consisting of two parallel, vertical beams of light, was projected from the site every year on September 11th. Since construction began, however, the tribute has ceased.
In a later address before Congress, the president declared, "As a symbol of America's resolve, my administration will work with Congress, and these two leaders, to show the world that we will rebuild New York City. The immediate response from World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein was that "it would be the tragedy of tragedies not to rebuild this part of New York. It would give the terrorists the victory they seek.
The LMDC had questionable legal status regarding the restoration of the World Trade Center site since the Port Authority owns most of the property and Larry Silverstein leased the World Trade Center's office space in July 2001. Regardless, the LMDC, in an April 2002 articulation of its Principles for Action, asserted its role in revitalizing lower Manhattan.
In April 2002, the LMDC sent out requests for proposals to redesign the World Trade Center site to 24 Manhattan architecture firms, but it soon withdrew them. The following month, the LMDC selected Beyer Blinder Belle as planner for the redesign of the World Trade Center site.
On July 16, 2002, Beyer Blinder Belle unveiled six concepts for redesigning the World Trade Center site. All six designs were voted "poor" by the roughly 5,000 New Yorkers who submitted feedback, so the LDMC announced a new, international open design study.
Peterson Littenberg, a small New York architecture firm, had been enlisted by the LMDC earlier that summer as a consultant and was invited to participate as the seventh semi-finalist.
The seven semi-finalists presented their entries to the public on December 18, 2002 at the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center. In the following weeks, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill withdrew its entry from the competition.
Days before the announcement of the two finalists in February 2003, Larry Silverstein wrote to LMDC Chair, John Whitehead, to express his disapproval of all of the semi-finalists' designs. As the Twin Towers' insurance money recipient, Silverstein claimed that he had the sole right to decide what would be built. He announced that he had already picked Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as his master planner for the site.
On February 1, 2003, the LMDC selected two finalists, the THINK Team and Studio Daniel Libeskind, and planned on picking a single winner by the end of the month.
Rafael Viñoly (of the THINK Team) and Studio Daniel Libeskind presented their designs to the LMDC, which selected the THINK design. Earlier the same day, however, Roland Betts, a member of the LDMC, had called a meeting and the corporation had agreed to vote for the THINK design before hearing the final presentations. Governor Pataki, who had originally commissioned the LMDC, intervened and overruled the LMDC's decision. On February 27, 2003, Studio Daniel Libeskind officially won the competition to be the master planner for the World Trade Center redesign.
Libeskind’s original proposal, which is titled Memory Foundations, underwent extensive revisions during collaboration with Larry Silverstein, and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, who Silverstein hired. Though Libeskind designed the site, the individual buildings have been designed by different architects.
Detailed information about Libeskind’s Memory Foundations site plan can accessed here
Walker and Arad were selected from more than 5,000 entrants in the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition in January 2004. Construction of the memorial is due to be completed by 2010.
The Snøhetta-designed museum will now act as a memorial museum and visitors’ center, after family members of 9/11 victims objected to the building’s original occupant, the International Freedom Center.
Gehry’s performing arts complex will now house only the Joyce Theater, which presents dance, after the Signature Theater Company dropped out due to space constraints and cost limitations.
The Freedom Tower, named as such by Governor Pataki, is the centerpiece of Libeskind’s design. The building will rise to 1,362 feet, the height of the original World Trade Center south tower, and its antenna will rise to the symbolic height of 1,776 feet (541 m). The antenna’s height refers to 1776, the year that the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed.
The Freedom Tower, also known as 1 World Trade Center, was a collaboration between Studio Daniel Libeskind and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill architect David Childs. Childs acted as the design architect and project manager for the tower, and Daniel Libeskind collaborated on the concept and schematic design.
Tower 5 was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and will stand where the Deutsche Bank building once stood. On June 22, 2007, the Port Authority announced that JP Morgan Chase will lease the 42-story building for its investment banking headquarters until 2100.
7 World Trade Center stands off of Port Authority property. David Childs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill designed the tower, which opened in May 2006.
With a view of the smoldering World Trade Center site across the river, mourners at a Jersey City candlelight vigil join millions of others in a National Day of Prayer.
Sep 15, 2001; The Record (Bergen County, NJ) 09-15-2001 With a view of the smoldering World Trade Center site across the river, mournersat a...