Listen carefully at night and you may hear a haunting howl emanating from Freedom Tower, as strong winds whistle through the lattice of the antenna that crowns the building
The Freedom Tower, formally known as the One World Trade Centre, is the rebuilt World Trade Centre in Lower Manhattan. Standing at 541m tall, with 104 stories, it is the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, and the sixth-tallest in the world. In fact its height is a deliberate reference to the year when the United States Declaration of Independence was signed.
This is not the only symbolism to be found in the design of Freedom Tower. The tower’s footprint is equal to those of the twin towers, and the observation deck is at the same height as those of the former complex. However in the new design formidable safety precautions were taken: it includes a 200ft-high blast resistance base, covered with over 2000 pieces of prismatic glass, and 1m-thick concrete walls that protect all elevators, stairwells and communication and safety systems.
Designed by the architects David Childs and Daniel Libeskind, the tower stretches skywards with chamfered edges. Looking up from its base, this results in the impression of stacked isosceles triangles, like adjacent crescendos and diminuendos, that eventually meld with the sky.
Look on my works, ye mighty
Spanning floors 100 to 102 is the New World Observatory, which provides breathtaking, panoramic views of New York. Visitors are launched upwards in Sky Pod elevators that ascend 102 floors in less than 60 seconds. Immersive, LED technology in each pod display a virtual time-lapse of the development of New York’s skyline, from the 1500s to the present day. At the top, if you’re feeling brave, you can step out onto the Sky Portal, a 14-ft wide disc that provides a real-time high-definition view of the streets below.
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