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One World Trade Center, A Symbol of American Perseverance

One World Trade Center, A Symbol of American Perseverance

One World Trade Center is an extremely prominent structure in New York City. The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, it is visible in Brooklyn, Queens, and many parts of Manhattan. There are many things to love about One World Trade Center; in many ways it seems to embody a patriotic spirit that Americans can

by Quinn Harding February 1, 2016 One comment

A view of the original World Trade Center from the southern tip of Manhattan.

One World Trade Center is an extremely prominent structure in New York City. The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, it is visible in Brooklyn, Queens, and many parts of Manhattan. There are many things to love about One World Trade Center; in many ways it seems to embody a patriotic spirit that Americans can easily support. The building is 1,776 feet tall in reference to the year that the Declaration of Independence was signed. The skyscraper’s observatory offers a unique, seemingly encompassing view of New York City that serves as a reminder of the city’s magnificence. In a densely-built urban environment, with countless high-rises over decades of development, One World Trade Center has become iconic not only because of its height, but also because of its empowering history.

It is impossible to discuss the background of One World Trade Center without mentioning the terrorist attacks of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. Arguably a defining moment of a generation, the United States was forever changed by the destruction of the Twin Towers. Ground Zero understandably transformed into an emotionally charged space, serving as a constant reminder of those lost during the attacks. Because the attacks had such a devastating impact on American life, there were lofty expectations for the building, or buildings, that would replace the Twin Towers.

A later iteration of the original design. It's most notable feature is its off-center spire which works in conversation with the Statue of Liberty (also in this photo)

One of the later iterations of the original design. It's most notable feature is its off-center spire.

A large part of what makes One World Trade Center so impressive is that it embraces the dark reality of these events and flips it into a source of inspiration. Originally called the Freedom Tower in its early stages, the building is a manifestation of “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Initially designed by Daniel Libeskind, One World Trade Center elements alluding to some of America’s greatest sources of pride. Along with its height of 1,776 feet, the original design also included an off-center spire that was meant to evoke images of the Statue of Liberty.

The Freedom Tower was meant to celebrate the ideal of liberty during a time in which fear ruled. Although the name of the building has changed, and the design has changed significantly, One World Trade Center still manifests the same values of hope, freedom and perseverance through its architecture. This consistency has allowed the skyscraper to restore life to an area once overcome with grief, and ultimately transform it into an American symbol of triumph, and an optimism about the future.

Do you think any other buildings in the country carry this patriotic symbolism? Are there any buildings in your local area that are personally significant in this way to you? Share your thoughts and your stories in the comments area below.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

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Quinn graduated last May from Haverford College in Growth and Structure of Cities with a focus in architecture. His interests in the field include issues of sustainability, historic preservation, and innovative use of public and communal spaces. Curr...

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