Yesterday, the final steel beam rose 977 feet into the air and was placed atop 4 World Trade Center – the 72-story tower designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. As gospel singer BeBe Winans sang “God Bless America”, the 8 ton beam, signed by all members of the team and adorned with an American flag, reached its final destination atop the city’s sixth tallest tower. At over 80 years of age, Maki is making his New York debut in an elegant manner. The tower was designed to serve as a “respectful backdrop” to the National September 11 Memorial and not to compete with 1 World Trade. ”This is a special place with a sacred meaning and we felt we had to be respectful,” explained Osamu Sassa, Maki’s project architect, to The New York Times. Such a ideology offers a strong contrast with the other architectural statements that will eventually rise as part of the World Trade Center complex, such as Norman Foster’s 2 World Trade and Richard Roger’s 3 World Trade. While the minimalism of Maki may have kept the design under the radar during its design and construction stages, the grace of its simplicity will craft a dignified presence while visiting the site. ”The design of the tower at 150 Greenwich has two fundamental elements – a ‘minimalist’ tower that achieves an appropriate presence, quiet but with dignity, and a ‘podium’ that becomes a catalyst for activating the surrounding urban streetscape as part of the revitalization of lower Manhattan,” explained Maki. More about 4 World Trade after the break.
Maki’s sheer curtain wall is constructed from thicker glass so as to flatten the plane of the facade – a move that will erase 4 World Trade from the line of vision at certain viewing angles. ”We like the idea of the building dematerializing…A lot of inherently good qualities of design take time to appreciate. Subtlety extends one’s appreciation,” added Sassa.
Back in 2006, Maki unveiled the conceptual design for 4 World Trade Center; February 2008, excavation and foundation work began; December 2009 steel erection began; April 2011 glass curtain wall installation began; and the Fall, the building will open.
“More than 1,200 union construction workers put in over 3 million hours to build this tower from bedrock to 977 feet,” said Gary LaBarbera President, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “It now stands as part of the skyline of New York as a testament to their resolve to never give up, always move forward, and build New York bigger, better and stronger.”
Congratulations and many thanks for all those involved with restoring New York.