Plans to replace one of the buildings destroyed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center complex were unveiled in New York Wednesday. Seven World Trade, a smaller building in the shadow of the twin towers and the last one to fall on September 11 of last year, will be the first to be rebuilt. David Childs, architect of the new structure, described the plans for the 52-story building, which he calls "a piece of art". "The skin of the building is all about openness. Not simply a thin skin of glass, but one that is actually lifted up and opened to let air come into that space, and light reflect from special reflectors on the sill up and into it, so you see the changing clouds and the color of the sky actually penetrating into that skin," says Mr. Childs. "Something that's actually never been done before that we think will be a dramatic statement. An obelisk at Luxor, a shaft of light, welcoming you to the new World Trade Center site."
Seven World Trade, located across the street from the twin towers, collapsed late in the day of September 11 after being hit and set ablaze by flaming debris, falling from the towers. While the footprint of the new building is smaller than its predecessor, the new Seven World Trade will actually be taller and stand 230 meters high. It will contain nearly 150,000 square meters of office space.
New York State Governor George Pataki endorsed the plan as a "dramatic step" for New York City and the United States as a whole. "We're not just going to recreate what was here on September 11 of 2001. We're going to move beyond in ways that make us all proud to be New Yorkers, and proud of the confidence that we have in our future," he says. "This building at Seven World Trade is an important symbol. But more than that, it's a concrete step. You can hear the construction machinery, you can see the steel rising."
Real estate developer Larry Silverstein, who owns the lease to the World Trade Center site and is rebuilding Seven World Trade, says although he is excited about the new structure, the announcement is "bittersweet". "To the families who have experienced such grief, we can only say, our hearts go out to you," he says. "We can only say that we have the utmost confidence in the process that has been put into place to develop a lasting, fitting memorial to those who lost their lives on 9/11, and those who showed such extraordinary courage and valor to help others who were in danger. That will come to pass."
The new Seven World Trade Center will cost approximately $700 million, and is expected to be open for business by the end of 2005. Plans for the rest of the World Trade Center complex, including the site of the twin towers and a memorial, are still under discussion.