Transparent buildings are safer, says Renzo Piano

In this video interview, architect Renzo Piano discusses designing his glass skyscraper for The New York Times in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Piano began work on the project just three days after the city's Twin Towers were destroyed in 2001, and said everyone was unsurprisingly fearful of building another high-rise that could become a target.

"It was September 14, when we met with he client 2001, so it was in New York, in a city that was a disaster," the Italian architect said. "A city with a sense of fear. Everybody started to say: stop making tall buildings... Make bunkers, make a fortress."

But he ignored the mood and instead chose a height of 319 metres, including a mast, for the Midtown Manhattan skyscraper.

He wrapped the base in glass to allow views out from the interior and in from the street – a feature he believes makes the building much safer.

"We decided to go ahead, and we did it," he continued. "We are The New York Times, we need to do that gesture to show that transparency of the ground floor was more safe than protection. When you see through, that means it's more safe. You can see what happens so, opacity is unsafe, not transparency."