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Opinion November 18, 2013 //  by  // Comments

Four World Trade Center places hope in New York City skyline

The Four World Trade Center has been open to the public since November 13, 2013.

Four World Trade Center has been open to the public since Nov. 13. It is located on the southeast corner of the World Trade Center site and stands at 977 feet. | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It has been twelve years since tragedy befell that fateful day, Sept. 11, 2001, on what is now termed “Ground Zero.” Yet this tragedy has not deterred the idea of American strength.

On Wednesday, the newest version of the World Trade Center, officially known as Four World Trade Center, made its debut in lower Manhattan. Standing at 977 feet, the building is a much shorter version of One World Trade Center, which will not be ready for operation until the beginning of 2014.

Currently, this 72-story office building is mostly empty, rented by a few agencies, but none are large enough to fill the building. In an interview with Reuters, Janno Lieber, who oversees planning for Silverstein Properties, said, “The world is recognizing that we’ve moved from 12 years of controversy and construction to having a real place that is coming back to life as a part of New York City.”

It indeed has been a controversial issue fought over by the state of New York, the federal government, families of victims and insurers as well as developers involved with this project. Many do not wish to see another building replace one that befell such a disaster. Others believe that such a project would be a credo to American strength — to never back down, but instead thrive on, bigger and better.

Graphic communications junior Matthew Janik said, “One World Trade Center symbolizes the resilience and unity of the American people as well as the world. Everyone remembers where they were on 9/11, and seeing the tower completed provides hope for the future.”

It’s bigger and better indeed. One World Trade Center, while not ready for occupation, was voted by a council of urban designers as the new tallest building in America.

Some may wonder why there would there need to be a committee. Well, Chicago has a giant of its own, the Willis Tower, that stands at 1,451 feet tall. One World Trade Center’s body — actually capable of occupation by offices and workers — stands at 1,368 feet with a spire standing at 408 feet, making a total height of 1,776 feet, a number strategically chosen to represent the year the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed, according to Reuters. It is a standing symbol of American pride in the literal sense.

“Even though the cladding was taken off the spire, you can still see that it is an architectural element,” executive director of the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Antony Wood said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. ”It is not just a plain steel mast from which to hang antenna or satellite dishes.”

For Janik, as far as the controversy behind the height goes, he said that, “For me, it really does not matter whether or not the One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the U.S.; it’s just an unnecessary title. The OWTC holds a lot more meaning to the people of the U.S. and to the world than just ‘tallest building in U.S.’ The controversy over the OWTC’s spire is irrelevant when considering what the building really stands for.”

However, One World Trade Center and Four World Trade Center are not the only buildings on the site. In 2006, a separate building called Seven World Trade Center was opened north of Ground Zero, and a 9/11 museum is anticipated to open at or near the site within the next year. Adding more, the site is expected to house two more office towers at about 550,000 square feet of retail space, and architect Frank Gehry — known for his design of the contemporary Guggenheim Museum in Spain — is planning to build a performing arts center for one of these buildings, according to Reuters.

New York is making its strong comeback with the erection of these anticipated buildings to accompany Four World Trade Center and Seven World Trade Center within the next year and a half, symbolizing how far not only New York has come since 2001, but also how far the nation as a whole has moved forward and will continue to do so in the coming years.

 Opinion columnist Juanita Deaver is an anthropology freshman and may be reached at opinion@thedailycougar.com


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