In July of 2001, Silverstein Properties successfully purchased the World Trade Center for $3.2 billion. The transaction was both a New York City real-estate record and a moment of personal triumph for company founder Larry Silverstein. It would be only weeks before those towers fell on September 11. That fateful day was devastating for not only America’s spirit, but also for lower Manhattan.
Today, the area thrives once again. That’s thanks in large part to the development of the World Trade Center campus, part of a master plan first articulated by Daniel Libeskind 15 years ago. In addition to the already famous One World Trade Center, Oculus, and National September 11 Memorial Museum, the campus will soon be home to 3 World Trade Center, joining 4 (and eventually 2) World Trade Center as a dominant presence in downtown Manhattan’s skyline. Despite their long lead times, each of these buildings promises to embody the idea of a modern workspace.
To make towers 2 through 4 a reality, architects worked on their designs side by side from an office space in Silverstein’s 7 World Trade Center, remembers Richard Paul, partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and lead architect of 3 World Trade Center, on which his firm began wok in 2006. Teams would share what they had been working on at the end of each day, and a countdown clock ticked off the years, months, weeks, and days until the plans would be unveiled to the public.
“It was quite a competitive environment, as you could imagine,” recalls Paul. “But it enabled us to collaborate on some key aspects of the design, which really benefited the project.”
Just how that process benefitted 3 World Trade Center will become apparent to the world when the building opens on June 11. Rising 1,079 feet above Greenwich Street, the 2.5 million-square-foot tower offers full panoramic views of the city and across the Hudson River, with an emphasis on open space and unobstructed sight lines throughout its eighty floors. That’s owed not only to Paul’s decision to utilize an exterior system of load-sharing, K-shaped braces that removes the need for corner columns, but the concerted effort to align the cores of RSHP’s building and Fumihiko Maki’s comparatively minimalist 4 World Trade Center to maximize the sight lines of each.
The outdoor space at 3 World Trade Center.