7 World Trade Center is a building in New York City located across from the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The name “7 World Trade Center” has referred to two buildings: the original structure, completed in 1987, and the current structure. The original building was destroyed on September 11, 2001, and replaced with the new 7 World Trade Center, which opened in 2006. Both buildings were developed by Larry Silverstein, who holds a ground lease for the site from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The destruction of Building 7 is a focus of September 11 conspiracy theories.
The original 7 World Trade Center was 47 stories tall, clad in red exterior masonry, and occupied a trapezoidal footprint. An elevated walkway connected the building to the World Trade Center plaza. The building was situated above a Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) power substation, which imposed unique structural design constraints. When the building opened in 1987, Silverstein had difficulties attracting tenants. In 1988, Salomon Brothers signed a long-term lease, and became the main tenants of the building. On September 11, 2001, 7 WTC was damaged by debris when the nearby North Tower of the WTC collapsed. The debris also ignited fires, which continued to burn throughout the afternoon on lower floors of the building. The building’s internal fire suppression system lacked water pressure to fight the fires, and the building collapsed completely at 5:21:10 p.m. The collapse began when a critical column on the 13th floor buckled and triggered structural failure throughout, causing at first the crumble of the east mechanical penthouse at 5:20:33 p.m.
The new 7 World Trade Center construction began in 2002 and was completed in 2006. It is 52 stories tall and still situated above the Con Ed power substation. Built on a smaller footprint than the original to allow Greenwich Street to be restored from TriBeCa through the World Trade Center site and south to Battery Park, the new building is bounded by Greenwich, Vesey, Washington, and Barclay streets. A small park across Greenwich Street occupies space that was part of the original building’s footprint. The current 7 World Trade Center’s design places emphasis on safety, with a reinforced concrete core, wider stairways, and thicker fireproofing of steel columns. It also incorporates numerous environmentally friendly features.
The new 7 World Trade Center
Design The new 7 World Trade Center has 52 stories and is 741 ft (226 m) tall.
The building has 42 floors of leasable space, starting at the 11th floor, and a total of 1,700,000 sq ft (158,000 m²) of office space. The first ten floors house an electrical substation, which provides power to much of Lower Manhattan. The office tower has a narrower footprint at ground level than its predecessor so the course of Greenwich Street could be restored to reunite TriBeCa and the Financial District.
David Childs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill worked in conjunction with glass artist and designer James Carpenter to create a design that uses ultra-clear, low-iron glass to provide reflectivity and light, with stainless-steel spandrels behind the glass to help reflect sunlight. Stainless steel used in the building façade is molybdenum-containing Type 316, which provides improved resistance to corrosion. To enclose the power substation and improve its aesthetics, the base of the building has a curtain wall with stainless steel louvers that provide ventilation for the machinery. During the day, the curtain wall reflects light, while at night it is illuminated with blue LED lights. The curtain wall around the lobby uses heavily laminated, heat-strengthened glass that meets high standards for blast resistance. At night, a large cube of light above the lobby also emanates blue light, while during the day it provides white light to the lobby, and at dusk it transitions to violet and back to blue. Inside the main lobby, artist Jenny Holzer created a large light installation with glowing text moving across wide plastic panels. The entire wall, which is 65 ft (20 m) wide and 14 ft (4 m) tall, changes color according to the time of day. Holzer worked with Klara Silverstein, the wife of Larry Silverstein, to select poetry for the art installation. The wall is structurally fortified as a security measure.
The building is being promoted as the safest skyscraper in the U.S. According to Silverstein Properties, the owner of the building, it “will incorporate a host of life-safety enhancements that will become the prototype for new high-rise construction”. The building has 2 ft (60 cm) thick reinforced-concrete and fireproofed elevator and stairway access shafts. The original building used only drywall to line these shafts. The stairways are wider than in the original building to permit faster egress.
7 World Trade Center is equipped with Otis destination elevators. After pressing a destination floor number on a lobby keypad, passengers are grouped and directed to specific elevators that will stop at the selected floor (there are no buttons to press inside the elevators). This system is designed to reduce elevator waiting and travel times. The elevator system is integrated with the lobby turnstile and card reader system that identifies the floor on which a person works as he or she enters and can automatically call the elevator for that floor.
Nearly 30 percent of structural steel used in the building consists of recycled steel. Rainwater is collected and used for irrigation of the park and to cool the building. Along with other sustainable design features, the building is designed to allow in plenty of natural light, power is metered to tenants to encourage them to conserve energy, the heating steam is reused to generate some power for the building, and recycled materials are used for insulation and interior materials.
Construction Construction of the new 7 World Trade Center began on May 7, 2002 with the installation of a fence around the construction site. Tishman Construction Corporation of New York began work at the new 7 World Trade Center in 2002, soon after the site was cleared of debris. Restoring the Con Ed electrical substation was an urgent priority to meet power demands of Lower Manhattan. Because 7 World Trade Center is separate from the main 16 acre (6.5 ha) World Trade Center site, Larry Silverstein required approval only from the Port Authority and rebuilding was able to proceed quickly. Building Seven was not included in the original World Trade Center master plan by Daniel Libeskind, but was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill under the leadership of David Childs, who largely redesigned the One World Trade Center.
Once construction of the power substation was complete in October 2003, work proceeded on building the office tower. An unusual approach was used in constructing the building; erecting the steel frame before adding the concrete core. This approach allowed the construction schedule to be shortened by a few months. Construction was completed in 2006 at a cost of $700 million. Though Silverstein received $861 million from insurance on the old building, he had $400 million remaining in mortgage to pay off. Costs to rebuild were covered by $475 million in Liberty Bonds, which provide tax-exempt financing to help stimulate rebuilding in Lower Manhattan and insurance money that remained after other expenses.
A 15,000 sq ft (1,400 m²) triangular park was created between the extended Greenwich Street and West Broadway by David Childs with Ken Smith and his colleague, Annie Weinmayr, of Ken Smith Landscape Architect. The park comprises an open central plaza with a fountain and flanking groves of sweetgum trees and boxwood shrubs. As the seasons change, so will the colors in the park, providing a natural complement to the tower. At the center of the fountain, sculptor Jeff Koons created Balloon Flower (Red), whose mirror-polished stainless steel represents a twisted balloon in the shape of a flower.
New York Academy of Sciences office (lobby) on the 40th floorThe building was officially opened at noon on May 23, 2006, with a free concert featuring Suzanne Vega, Citizen Cope, Bill Ware Vibes, Brazilian Girls, Ollabelle, Pharaoh’s Daughter, Ronan Tynan (of the Irish Tenors), and special guest Lou Reed. Prior to opening, in March 2006, the new 7 World Trade Center frontage and lobby were used in scenes for the movie Perfect Stranger with Halle Berry and Bruce Willis.
Since the building opened, several unleased upper floors have been used for events such as charity lunches, fashion shows, and black-tie galas. Silverstein Properties allowed space in the new building to be used for these events as a means to draw people to see the building. From September 8 to October 7, 2006, the work of photographer Jonathan Hyman was displayed in “An American Landscape”, a free exhibit hosted by the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation at 7 World Trade Center. The photographs captured the response of people in New York City and across the United States after the September 11, 2001, attacks. The exhibit took place on the 45th floor while the space remained available for lease.
By March 2007, 60 percent of the building had been leased. In September 2006, Moody’s signed a 20-year lease to rent 15 floors of 7 World Trade Center. Other tenants that had signed leases in 7 World Trade Center, as of May 2007, include ABN AMRO, Ameriprise Financial Inc., Darby & Darby P.C., Mansueto Ventures LLC, business publisher of Fast Company and Inc., and the New York Academy of Sciences.
The space occupied by Mansueto Ventures has been designed to use the maximum amount of natural light and has an open floor plan. The space used by the New York Academy of Sciences on the 40th floor, designed by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, works with the parallelogram shape of the building. Keeping with the green design of the building, the NYAS uses recycled materials in many of the office furnishings, has zoned heating and cooling, and lights that detect motion, coming on automatically only when people are present, and adjust according to incoming sunlight.
Silverstein Properties also has offices in 7 World Trade Center, along with office space used by the architectural and engineering firms working on 1 World Trade Center, 150 Greenwich Street, 175 Greenwich Street, and 200 Greenwich Street.