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.

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar
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.

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.

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-016

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!

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar0

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-001

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-000

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.

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-003

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-004

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-005

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-006

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-007

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-008

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-009

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-009a

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-010

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-011

4WTC-NYC-Untapped Cities-Bhushan Mondkar-012

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

All Photos © Bhushan Mondkar