There is much to like, even love, about this skyscraper. Like every SOM building, One WTC’s detailing is exceedingly fine, a trademark of the firm. The crystalline tower, sheathed in glass to catch the nuance of every passing cloud, wraps around a “super concrete” core that is stronger than steel. The square base echoes the bases of the original twin towers and evolves as it rises into an eight-sided obelisk, the obelisk being one of the most ancient of memorial forms. Future tenants will appreciate their offices, which are climate-controlled and filled with light, and, of course, the amazing views.
However, the design’s truest audacity is largely invisible to the eye. Its safety innovations, which anticipate a dark spectrum of worst-case scenarios, have already changed how skyscrapers around the globe are being built. This is a practical beauty, with a dignity and integrity that I believe will grow on people quite quickly. For me, having lived downtown for twenty years, One WTC fills the gaping hole in the skyline and in my heart.