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Editor’s note: NYC-based architect Bhushan Mondkar, formerly at Studio Daniel Libeskind, the firm responsible for the master plan for the World Trade Center Site, reflects on construction of 4 WTC over the past five years with his accompanying photographs.

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After being chosen to redesign the World Trade Center site in February 2003, architect Daniel Libeskind declared, “Soon, the Lower Manhattan skyline will be home once again to towering skyscrapers. At a resonant 1776 feet tall, the Freedom Tower, second in importance only to the 9/11 memorial itself — will rise above its predecessors, reasserting the preeminence of freedom and beauty, restoring the spiritual peak to the city and proclaiming America’s resilience even in the face of profound danger, of our optimism even in the aftermath of tragedy. Life, victorious.”

Ten years later his vision for ground zero is slowly yet steadily taking form. Out of the four towers proposed in his spirited and thoughtful master plan: Memory Foundations, One World trade Center dominated the headlines last week after being officially named the tallest building in the US. However it was the shortest and lesser known 4 WTC that became the first office building to open at ground zero last Wednesday. At a height of 978 ft, it will eventually be the fourth tallest of the towers spiraling around the memorial site.

Masterplan Sketch (c) Daniel Libeskind-001© Daniel Libeskind

4WTC-Maki-Sketch-UntappedCities-Bhushan Mondkar© Fumihiko Maki and Maki and Associates.

Fumihiko Maki, the Pritzker prize winning architect of this 72-story tower embraced a minimalist approach to achieve a dignified presence for 4 WTC at this sacred site. With a unique angular profile, 4 WTC cuts through the sky yet effortlessly blends into its surroundings. That is precisely what the architect intended to do- create an illusion that would make the tower disappear into the sky. Characterized by a silvery, reflective glass facade, the building becomes a respectful backdrop to the National September 11 Memorial while animating its immediate urban environment.

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Last week, Untapped Cities presented some incredible views from the 72nd floor of 4 WTC when we attended the MASterworks Award ceremony. Today we “reflect” back on the past five years of construction as this modest and deferential tower quietly ascended up the downtown skyline, while reverberating the vibrant motion of New York City!

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4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-002View from New Jersey during Tribute in Light. Also see our behind the scenes of the illumination of this event.

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Bhushan is an Architect and Urban Designer at Perkins Eastman. Get in touch with him @Bhushan_NYC

All Photos © Bhushan Mondkar

1 Comment

  1. ELEANOR LUNN says:

    Thank you so much for these truly poetic photos. They are dazzling, they give me hope, they let me know that beauty can come of evil. I am a native New Yorker and have not been able to go down to the World Trade Center site. It is too painful still. These photos are a wonderful view of life moving on. Thank you.

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