By: Keiko Morris | The Wall Street Journal
Most of the integration of the World Trade Center site into lower Manhattan has unfolded at ground level, as barricades fall and streets reopen.
But it also is coming into view hundreds of feet up, as office-tower designs incorporate terraces and create buildings more open to the city than those of the old World Trade Center, which stood at a remove from the neighborhood.
“The customers are driving it,” said Janno Lieber, president of the World Trade Center division of Silverstein Properties Inc., the developer behind these towers. “They are saying, ‘We want a sense of space that eliminates a sense of separation from the outdoors. We would like something special.’ ”
At 4 World Trade Center, a 5,000-square-foot terrace has drawn interest from potential tenants and served as a popular event space in the meantime.
Still under construction, 3 World Trade Center will have three terraces, with the biggest, a 10,000-square-foot terrace, on the 17th floor.
And designs for 2 World Trade Center feature a cascade of six east-facing terraces high above the city streets.
“The majority of the improvement of urban space has been creating all these parks in the city—Hudson River Park, the High Line, Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said Bjarke Ingels, the Danish architect who is designing 2 World Trade Center. “I think eventually the outdoor space for living…that tendency is working toward the workplace.”
Fourteen years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the Twin Towers, developers’ vertical embrace of the outdoors gestures to the 2003 master plan for the area designed by Daniel Libeskind. The plan was never intended to set the specific site design but provide an outline that was expected to evolve, Mr. Libeskind said.
Photo: Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal
The master-plan design for what is now One World Trade Center included a 1,776-foot structure incorporating a 70-story building with a glass spire. Called, “Gardens of the World,” the spire was to have contained plantings at various levels.
“The ‘Gardens of the World’ tower set the tone that these buildings are no longer self-enclosed towers and that they would have gardens in a vertical dimension,” Mr. Libeskind said. “So I’m glad Tower Two is taking it seriously. It’s a bold and interesting building.”
While One World Trade Center has no terraces, other features there engage with the city, said Jordan Barowitz, a spokesman for the Durst Organization, which oversees management and leasing of the tower.
“You walk in and, no, you’re not outside, but the floor-to-ceiling glass allows you to look out at the massive expanse of city and sky and water on the upper floors,” Mr. Barowitz said. “Or on the lower floors, you are very much in the trees of the memorial, which is also beautiful.”
Photo: LEFT: Keith Bedford for The Wall Street Journal; RIGHT: Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal