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Construction of The World Trade Center

HomeUncategorizedConstruction of The World Trade Center
Construction of The World Trade Center

This article is about the construction of the original World Trade Center. For the construction of the new World Trade Center after the September 11 attacks, see Construction of the World Trade Center (2001–present).
The completed World Trade Center in March 2001

The construction of the first World Trade Center complex in New York City was conceived as an urban renewal project to help revitalize Lower Manhattan spearheaded by David Rockefeller. The project was developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The idea for the World Trade Center arose after World War II as a way to supplement existing avenues of international commerce in the United States.

The World Trade Center was originally planned to be built on the east side of Lower Manhattan, but the New Jersey and New York state governments, which oversee the Port Authority, could not agree on this location. After extensive negotiations, the New Jersey and New York state governments agreed to support the World Trade Center project, which was built at the site of Radio Row in the Lower West Side of Manhattan, New York City. To make the agreement acceptable to New Jersey, the Port Authority agreed to take over the bankrupt Hudson & Manhattan Railroad, which brought commuters from New Jersey to the Lower Manhattan site and, upon the Port Authority’s takeover of the railroad, was renamed PATH.

The Port Authority hired architect Minoru Yamasaki, who came up with the specific idea for twin towers. The towers were designed as framed tube structures, which provided tenants with open floor plans, uninterrupted by columns or walls. This was accomplished using numerous closely spaced perimeter columns to provide much of the strength to the structure, along with gravity load shared with the core columns. The elevator system, which made use of sky lobbies and a system of express and local elevators, allowed substantial floor space to be freed up for use as office space by making the structural core smaller. The design and construction of the World Trade Center, most centrally its twin towers, involved many other innovative techniques, such as the slurry wall for digging the foundation, and wind tunnel experiments.

Construction of the World Trade Center’s North Tower began in August 1968, and the South Tower in 1969. Extensive use of prefabricated components helped to speed up the construction process. The first tenants moved into the North Tower in December 1970 and into the South Tower in January 1972. Four other low-level buildings were constructed as part of the World Trade Center in the early 1970s, and the complex was mostly complete by 1973. A seventh building, 7 World Trade Center, was opened in 1987.

Original Plans, Agreement, Controversy Eviction

In 1942, Austin J. Tobin became the Executive Director of the Port Authority, beginning a 30-year career during which he oversaw the planning and development of the World Trade Center. The concept of establishing a “world trade center” was conceived during the post–World War II period, when the United States thrived economically and international trade was increasing. At the time, economic growth was concentrated in Midtown Manhattan, in part stimulated by Rockefeller Center, which had been developed in the 1930s.

In 1946, a year after the war formally ended, the New York State Legislature passed a bill that called for a “world trade center” to be established. This trade center would increase New York City’s role in transatlantic trade. The World Trade Corporation was founded, and a board was appointed by New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey to develop plans for the project. Less than four months after the board was named, plans for a “world trade center” were put on hold. By then, architect John Eberson and his son Drew had devised a plan that included 21 buildings over a ten-block area, at an estimated cost of $150 million. However, projections determined that such a complex would not be profitable due to a lack of demand; one estimated that the World Trade Center project would only be successful if at least 4,800 of the United States’ largest 6,000 companies were involved. In 1949, the World Trade Corporation was dissolved by the New York State Legislature

Architect’s model for the proposed World Trade Center on the East River

Meanwhile, the Financial District of Lower Manhattan was left out of the economic boom of financial industries there. Lower Manhattan also saw less economic growth than Midtown because many workers moved to the suburbs, and they found it easier to commute to midtown than to downtown. The writer Paul Goldberger states that the Financial District, in particular, was devoid of “almost any kind of urban amenity”, including entertainment, cultural hubs, or housing. Commercial industries along the ports of Lower Manhattan were also being replaced with industries elsewhere. David Rockefeller, who led urban renewal efforts in Lower Manhattan, constructed the One Chase Manhattan Plaza in a bid to bring jobs back. Rockefeller believed that the area would lose its status as the nation’s financial hub if it were not redeveloped. However, the 800-foot (240 m) skyscraper, which opened in 1960, attracted far fewer tenants than expected.

In 1958, Rockefeller established the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association (DLMA), which commissioned Skidmore, Owings and Merrill to draw up plans for revitalizing Lower Manhattan. The plans, made public in late June 1960, called for a World Trade Center to be built on a 13-acre (53,000 m2) site along the East River, at the South Street Seaport, one of the Lower Manhattan ports that had seen a continuous decline in business over the past decade. The site would be bounded clockwise from the south by Old Slip, Water Street, Fulton Street, and South Street, and the complex itself would be located on “a two-story platform that would supersede and displace the conventional street grid”. The proposed complex included a 900-foot-long (270 m) exhibition hall, as well as a 50- to 70-story building with a hotel located on some of its upper floors. Other amenities would include a theater, shops, and restaurants. The plan also called for a new securities exchange building, which the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association hoped would house the New York Stock Exchange.

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Construction_of_the_World_Trade_Center


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