Pretty 1 WTC Shattered by Bunker Reality

1wtc base 0 Pretty 1 WTC Shattered by Bunker RealityOne World Trade Center can’t catch a break. Well, maybe some broken glass.

Just as the building has really gotten moving over the past year, ahead of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this fall, The Times is reporting that plans for a prismatic base to the building was quietly cast aside in March. The idea was to mask a severe concrete base that is intended to protect the building from future threats without creating an uninviting monolith. It didn’t work:

In trials, the refinishing required for the prismatic effect has left the glass brittle and prone to shatter. With the steel frame of the building now rising to the 65th floor, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has scrapped the idea and sent the architects back for yet another revision.

“As design moved to the testing phase, it became clear that the prismatic glass simply had too many technical problems to overcome and at a budget that was not cost effective,” said John Kelly, a spokesman for the Port Authority. “We have been finalizing a design that will be far more practical while being both distinctive and magnificent.”

About $10 million had already been spent on the glass.

SOM has gone back to the drawing board to come up with a new solution, the details of which have not been revealed. The base of 7 World Trade, also designed by the firm, had a metal screen, but that only covered the first five floors, as opposed to 20 or so at the far more symbolic 1 World Trade.

The Port Authority said it will not delay the planned 2014 opening of the building.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo