The history of The World Trade Center is one of controversy, challenges, tragedy and recovery. Since the first Tower was opened in 1970, the World Trade Center stood high above the New York City skyline projecting the ingenuity and strength of the American people. Since the first of two towers opened in 1970, the World Trade Center has been the subject of spectacular panoramic pictures depicting the New York City skyline.
After serving as an icon of the architectural excellence for 30 years, the World Trade Center fell victim to the tragic events of September 11, 2001. An inspiration for the world’s great skyscrapers that followed, the loss of the WTC has left a void in the New York City skyline and in the hearts of people all over the world.
The World Trade Center complex covered approximately 22 acres in Lower Manhattan. Seven buildings made up the original complex, anchored by the architectural beauty of the Twin Towers. Built like no other skyscrapers before or since, the reflected the modern architectural movement of the 1960s. Like gleaming spires, the World Trade Center Towers rose 110 stories above Lower Manhattan in a brilliant testimony to state of the art design and construction.
First conceived in the mid 1940s, the WTC was envisioned to compliment the age-old elegance of the Wall Street financial district. It would take nearly twenty years for construction to begin. By 1970, the North Tower was complete and ready for occupancy. Since the completion of the Empire State Building in 1931, New York City held the honor as home to the tallest building in the world. The World Trade Center record did not last long. The 1368 foot tall North Tower was eclipsed by the Sears Tower in Chicago in 1974. The roof of the Sears Tower topped out at 1450 feet and with additional of radio towers, still holds the honor of the tallest building in the world.
In what proved to be a radical departure from traditional skyscraper design, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were a marvel of modern design. Each tower was designed with nearly 4 million square feet of space. Compared to older structures like the Empire State Building, the floor space of the towers was open and spacious. The open floor space was the result of moving the supporting columns to form a center core that housed the elevators and service lines like water and electrical.
Every working day, nearly 50 thousand people went to work in each of the two towers, while almost a quarter of million people passed through the complex’s offices, shops and subway stops. The World Trade Center became a focal point for trade and tourism. The observation decks gave visitors a panoramic view of the New York City skyline and far beyond.
Within months of the attacks on the WTC, planning started on replacing the complex with new buildings as well as a memorial tower. Not without controversy, the effort to restore the area to its former and to honor the victims, input was provided by the families of the victims, city planners and developers. The new complex will no doubt take on its identity.