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Video:History of New York's World Trade Center

with Heidi Dehncke

Want to learn about the history of New York's World Trade Center? Here, see information about this area before you visit.See Transcript

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Transcript:History of New York's World Trade Center

Hi. I’m Heidi Dehncke-Fisher, a video journalist with About.com and I’m going to tell you about the history of the World Trade Center.

Information About New York's World Trade Center

The dream and grandeur of The World Trade Center began shortly after WWII when in 1958 David Rockefeller announced plans to build a giant complex in lower Manhattan. This blossomed into the seven building complex housed on 16 acres and was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, Emery Roth and Sons consulting. The 110 story twin towers were considered the pinnacle of architectural achievement at that time and for a few years stood as the tallest skyscrapers in the world.

Building New York's World Trade Center

In building the World Trade Center, as the world’s tallest building, there were a number of engineering obstacles that had to be overcome. For example, how do you go about digging the foundation? It occurred to the top management of the Port Authority that what you could do is truck it over to the West Side and dump it in The Hudson River, behind barriers and create more land for lower Manhattan. And that’s exactly what they did and they created 22 acres which is now Battery Park City. How do you build a skyscraper without a lot of interior columns? You have to come up with an entirely new construction technique, which is to put the load bearing columns on the exterior of the building. So, the rigidity is all on the outside. You don’t have vast expanses of glass on The World Trade Center. In fact, at a distance, it doesn’t seem like there’s any glass at all. Because the columns are so closely spaced that the windows are very narrow. Minuro Yamasaki, the architect of the world’s tallest skyscraper, was, himself, afraid of heights. So, his notion was, if you approach the perimeter of the office and you got to the edge, you would not have a sense that you were falling out because you were sort of protected by these narrow columns. And, Yamasaki said I don't care this is an office building. People should be doing their work, not staring out the window.

Construction for New York's World Trade Center

Construction began in 1966 and cost an estimated $1.5 billion dollars. They were completed and opened in 1973. Then, the unthinkable happened. September 11th, 2001. In February of 2003, the design by Daniel Libeskind, of Berlin, Germany, was chosen to give birth to the new 16-acre World Trade Center site. The design that we all agreed on creates a memorial plaza at the heart of the site. It’s about 8 acres. And within that memorial are the footprints of the original twin towers. Around those footprints are the names of those who lost their lives on 9/11. Surrounding that memorial park are five office buildings with retail in the base. And, most importantly, these buildings are connected to the street grid buy bringing in the historic streets true to the world trade center for the first time.

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