Scaling a height of 1776 feet – the One, World Trade Centre, one of the buildings built around the WTC Memorial is a majestic sight in itself. Built to command a height in feet that commemorates the year of American Independence, the tower is also titled the Freedom tower. Though we first visited the tower on a rather misty day, with zero visibility from the observation deck, we simply had to go back on a clear day where the sprawling views sight almost till the north end of Manhattan! Built by SOM, the architects who pride themselves on skyscrapers and precisely the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, the Freedom Tower is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
The tower though quite simple in form, makes up with gusto with its structural stability, very elegant and classy interiors, path-breaking user-defined experience and ofcourse the rather gorgeous insight into one of the most energetic and hence beautiful cities in the world. Approaching the Freedom tower from the WTC train station is a treat by itself. The Calatrava designed station stands out with stark alacrity in pure white and is just as awe-inspiring as the tower itself. As a rather young teenager, my first visit to the original WTC is fraught with memories of gusty winds on the observation deck, that ballooned me up totally, and the sheer height of the tower which I failed to capture in my modest camera inspite of tilting back to a rather horizontal incline!
Though 15 years later, the Freedom Tower did not impress by it’s sheer size, it did stun with a spectacularly documented and presented building experience. Serving more like a visitor’s centre to NYC, the Freedom Tower proudly showcases the architecture of the city, with information on buildings spread across Manhattan. The Chrysler Building for example, a very popular structure, once the tallest building in the world, for about a year, before being shadowed by the Empire State Building, was the real estate pride of the automobile moghul Chrysler. Till date it remains my, and a lot others favorite skyscraper, mostly popular for its quaint design and a plethora of old-world charm. The spire in steel is still an inspiration, over time! The Empire State Building, the pride of New York is another skyscraper that was for a decade, the tallest building in the world. The rise of an economy is showcased usually by towering skyscrapers. Though not the tallest building, the Freedom tower was envisioned with a lot more than numbers in mind. It echoes the sentiment of a nation, much like the WTC memorial, to stop, reflect, feel the void left by the untimely terrorist attack, and yet, use the experience to get better, not bitter, and grow to scale new heights. While the twin-towers of the WTC will sorely be missed, the sight of infrastructure building in New York, the resilience of the city is truly commendable. Without a loss of energy, downtown New York has rebuilt itself, getting even more spectacular in theory and practice all the same!
Testimony to our times and a culture that never gives up or gives in, the Freedom tower experience is a result of beautiful design, structural integrity, determination, nerves of steel and a sensitivity to the past with a celebratory mood of the future. The way the city is unveiled to the visitors on Level 102 is spectacular, well sometimes, tragedy could spark growth, or rather creative genius, like nothing else!