This Wednesday November 13, 4 World Trade Center will officially open. As the first new WTC building to open since 7 World Trade Center was finished in 2006, this marks a great milestone in the progress of post 9/11 reconstruction. It’s also the first building to open on the actual original World Trade Center site.
Last week, The Municipal Art Society held the first celebration in the building: the 2013 MASterworks Award ceremony. We had the honor of attending the event and shooting these photographs of the building, the space, and the breathtaking views from the 72nd floor.
4 WTC is located on the southeast corner of the 16-acre World Trade Center site, and faces the 9/11 Memorial’s south reflecting pool. Designed by Japanese firm Maki and Associates, and developed by Silverstein Properties, the 977-foot skyscraper was intended to be understated and deferential, even disappearing in different times of day, as they wanted it to be “a respectful backdrop” to the 9/11 Memorial.
The tower’s coated glass exterior reflects the surrounding buildings and the sky, creating a constantly changing facade. The architects chose to carry this theme into the lobby, with a wall of polished black granite that reflects the 9/11 Memorial across the street.
From the ceiling of the spacious lobby hangs a 98-foot-diameter arc by the sculptor Kozo Nishino. Made from titanium, the delicate piece is called “Sky Memory.” Check out this inspiring time-lapse video of the art installation here.
The elevator banks feature a 2-story video installation, containing images of flowing waterfalls, forests, and other natural imagery.
In addition to its thoughtful and refined visual design, 4 WTC was also created to be one of the most technologically-advanced buildings in the City. According to the developer’s website:
Floor-to-ceiling ultra-clear glass brings in more natural light than any other building in New York City. The building’s occupants control their own climate and breathe fresh air drawn from the top of the tower and filtered to the highest standards. This creates a better work environment and reduces energy costs.
The building is now in its final phases of construction, but upstairs – at least the 72nd floor – is still in a very raw state.
On the 72nd floor, visitors come face to face with dramatic views of 1 WTC and the rest of the WTC complex.
Looking down provides a unique and hauntingly beautiful view of the 9/11 Memorial site with its two reflecting pools.
Panoramic views abound in every direction. WTC towers 2 and 3 will someday block some views to the north, but for now, 4 WTC offers a stunning long view of the Empire State Building and other landmarks including the East River bridges.
The Port Authority, which will be 4 WTC’s main tenant, expects to move into the building in 2015. The authority lost its headquarters in the twin towers on 9/11, and this week’s official opening means it can start rebuilding office space. The lower levels of the building are planned for retail use. The city of New York also plans to lease space in the completed building.
There will be access to an underground concourse that will connect to the PATH terminal and an elaborate network of pedestrian tunnels under the WTC complex and surrounding area. The first of these tunnels, the WTC Transportation Hub’s West Concourse known as the Calatrava hallway, opened at the end of October.
At the MASterworks Awards, Steven Holl Architects’ Campbell Sports Center at Columbia University won the award for “Best Building.” The other three honors all went to Brooklyn projects: Weiss/Manfredi’s Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center in Brooklyn won “Best New Amenity”, Rogers Marvel’s McCarren Pool and Bathhouse were awarded “Best Restoration”, and SHoP Architects’ Barclay’s Center won “Best Neighborhood Catalyst.”
The prominent themes of the evening seemed to be resilience and change in the city, naturally highlighted by the choice of this magnificent venue. Larry Silverstein, developer of the World Trade Center complex and host of the evening, remarked that seeing the views outside the windows and the photographs on the wall gave him “great pleasure.” Indeed, it was a thrill to be in the 72nd floor of the building, which will officially opens this Wednesday.
See more photography from Rachel Fawn Alban.