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Designing One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower)


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2005 Plan for Freedom Tower (1 World Trade Center)
2005 Redesign of Freedom Tower by architect David Childs

Libeskind's original vision for Freedom Tower vanishes in this 2005 redesign by David Childs

Illustration provided by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP via Getty Images
With an eye toward security, David Childs took Freedom Tower back to the drawing board. In June 2005 he unveiled a building that bore little resemblance to the original plan.

This version of Freedom Tower suggests the shape of the original Twin Towers that were destroyed in the September 11 terrorist attack. The base and the top of the revised Freedom Tower are square. In between the base and the top, corners are lopped off, giving Freedom Tower a spiral effect. Measuring 200 x 200 feet, the Freedom Tower footprint matches that of the lost towers.

The height of the redesigned Freedom Tower also makes reference to the lost Twin Towers. At 1,362 feet, the proposed new building rises the same height as Tower Two. A parapet elevates Freedom Tower to the same height as Tower One. An enormous spire centered at the top would give Freedom Tower the symbolic height of 1,776 feet that Libeskind had wanted.

The 2005 plan for Freedom Tower eliminates the open air shafts and windmills. Most of the mechanical equipment is housed in the square, concrete-shrouded base of the tower. Also located in the base, the lobby has no windows excepting narrow slots in the concrete.

For additional safety, the placement of Freedom Tower on the WTC site is changed, locating the skyscraper several feet further from the street.

Critics lambasted the new design, comparing Freedom Tower to a concrete bunker. Bloomberg News called it "a monument to bureaucratic bungling and political gutlessness." The New York Times called it "Somber, oppressive and clumsily conceived."

Childs proposed adding shimmering metal panels to the base, but this solution didn't resolve the foreboding appearance of the redesigned tower.

Next: 2006 Plan for Freedom Tower

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