One World Trade Center
tops out


One World Trade Center tops out, photo by Placeboe

News: One World Trade Center in New York has become the world's third-tallest building after topping out at a height of 541 metres.

A 124-metre steel spire was installed last Friday, pushing the skyscraper's height to 1776 feet – a number commemorating the year of America's independence.

One World Trade Center is now the tallest structure in the USA and the third-tallest in the world, although there is debate over whether the spire is actually a removable antenna – a vital distinction in measuring buildings.

Built at a cost of $3.9 billion, the tower also has the distinction of being the most expensive office building in the world.

Previously known as the Freedom Tower, the building is located in the northwest corner of the site where the former World Trade Center towers were destroyed in the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Originally designed by Daniel Libeskind – the architect behind the masterplan for the entire Ground Zero site – the tower underwent numerous revisions before US firm SOM was brought in to oversee its design.

One World Trade Center tops out, photo by alecperkins

When finally completed it will offer 241,000 square metres of commercial office space as well as observation decks, TV broadcasting facilities and restaurants.

Another building on the site, Four World Trade Center, topped out last summer, while Ground Zero is also home to two fountains sunk into the site of the former Twin Towers – see all architecture in New York.

SOM recently unveiled plans to build Singapore's tallest tower, while last year the firm proposed adding a floating observation deck over New York's Grand Central Terminal – see all architecture by SOM or see all skyscrapers.

  • Chris

    You'd think for $3.9 billion, my response would be something more than 'meh'.

  • jack

    Huaaa. I am bored even before it’s finished.

    Anything new? Anything exiting? Just another standard glass facade on some standard high rise.

  • Colonel Pancake

    It’s hard to be critical about the quality of architecture down there when you consider the context. Despite the fact that we all have more fanciful visions about what could exist there, there simply isn’t much opportunity for anything but incredibly conservative architecture. The amount of money and commerce to be potentially gained or lost from real estate values, combined with the demanding circulation needs, proximity of mass transit, and the logistics of building 100 storeys on top of a marshy island at roughly sea level makes both security and conservatism a predictable necessity at the expense of public potential.

  • Harry W

    The new building is bland and innocuous. But at least it is not in-your-face ugly as Daniel Libeskind’s ludicrous design would have been.

  • vinnii byers

    I’m happy they have built it, it shows that no matter what happens in this world, nothing was in vain and they are a strong and proud nation.

  • FormerYorker

    Marshy land? Lower Manhattan is built on Schist, bedrock – more than up to the task of supporting skyscrapers. And as for commerce and value, do you have to look much further than the Central China TV building or almost any other significant building in China to see what can be done when you want to make a statement? It’s unfortunate, a lost opportunity for a rare, unique space and public engagement.

    • jkwonsolo

      Do I really need to point out the false equivalency of comparing lower Manhattan to the entire nation of China? The point is precisely to NOT make a statement but rather to be as unobjectionable as possible given the sensitivity of the site.

      Must we have this discussion again 10 years after the design was released?

  • Jim

    The new skyscraper is not as inspiring as other ultra modern buildings in Dubai and China but it’s still a beautiful piece. I just hope they include an observation deck, imagine the Manhattan views!

  • anthony

    I think it looks fantastic! There is nothing wrong with being a little understated on this occasion.

  • Here is a casual series of photos I have taken since the project reached about half height. Enjoy:

  • I doubt any project has stirred so much emotion, commotion and attention as this, nor will it be matched in complexity or intensity of negotiation required to get it done. But that is all pretty much invisible from the streets of New York. The restoration of lower Manhattan’s grasp of the clouds is what stands out today.

  • Sorry, I posted the wrong link above. This link will take you to my series on One World Trade’s rise to the top: