This is the first rendering of how the base of 1 World Trade Center will look up close — a shimmering, richly textured facade on four sides of glass, stainless steel and aluminum. While bickering goes on over the iconic office tower’s crown, its street-level face is just as vital — not only to Condé Nast employees who will move in by 2015, but to the millions of visitors to the 16-acre WTC site.
The “podium” design by Skidmore Owings & Merrill is the end product of a tortured history that included the dumping of an earlier scheme over costs and fears its custom-fabricated glass would too easily shatter.The new image released by the skyscraper’s owners, the Port Authority and the Durst Organization, shows for the first time how its fortified base — a cube 185-feet on each side — will look to people arriving for work.
Preliminary renderings last year suggested a monolithic, corporate-looking wall despite a supposed “pleated” effect. But the image shown here promises a warmer welcome. It is articulated by vertical glass fins protruding from panels of stainless steel slats. The fins will be arrayed in patterns that will vary as they move up the facade.
Perforated aluminum screens behind the steel slats will be illuminated, making the entire tower podium glow by night — a suitable companion to the lit-up base of 7 World Trade Center nearby. Cladding the podium will cost $40 million. Installation is to start in October.
The re-do of the base is the latest chapter in the former Freedom Tower’s complicated saga, including architect David Childs’ original design being scuttled over security concerns and the tower having to be moved from its original site.
Childs then redesigned the entire building. The finished project reflects his work on the soaring octagonal “shaft,” but no longer on its apex or base — a hybrid result it will be left for future generations to judge.
–Jeanine LeNy via nypost.com