Following a difficult political, technical, and emotional path as one of the world's most symbolically fraught buildings, 1 World Trade Center will reach a key milestone in its growth today as the first column of the 100th floor is hoisted atop the building. With the placement of this column the tower will reach a height of 1,271 feet, making it 21 feet higher than the Empire State Building, notes Dunlap.
Of course, the building marks much more than just the tallest occupiable space in New York.
"It's the marker for the memorial," said David M. Childs, the architect who led the design team at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, where he is now a consulting partner. "If you're coming in from Newark Airport, this is the one you'll look to. Somebody will say: ‘You see that tall building? That's ground zero.' "
Mr. Childs said the tower would also play the necessary civic role of being the "answering spire" to the skyscrapers of Midtown. "In a way," he said, "it ties together Manhattan, which lost something because of that emptiness in the sky."