One of the enduring challenges at the World Trade Center—besides who will lease up the offices—has been what the base of Tower 1 would look like. Fears persisted that the 185-foot concrete shell demanded by the N.Y.P.D. would look like exactly that, a giant bunker. The solution, arrived at by a harried team of architects in less than a month back in 2005, was waves of crenelated glass that would turn the entire structure into a giant crystal.
The only problem was, that approach proved almost impossible to produce when the fabricators began creating mock-ups of the structure earlier this year. The glass would shatter too easily, a major issue for a high-traffic tower that could be susceptible to another attack. The architects at SOM returned to the drawing board and created a solution that is at once very similar to and totally different from their original proposal, a new plan that was approved yesterday by the board of the Port Authority.
The main goal was achieving an aesthetic solution to this ongoing challenge, though it turns out the biggest different between the two plans is economic—the new curtain wall will cost less than half the price of the original one, $37.2 million. Read More