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In memory of
The World Trade Center
New York
Built 1970 – 1977
Minoru Yamaski & Associates, Architect, with Emery Roth and Sons
Designed for strength, demolished by terrorist attack
on September 11, 2001
“The World Trade Center is a living symbol of man’s dedication to world peace.”
–Minoru Yamasaki, chief architect

Copyright © Mary Ann Sullivan
Digital Imaging Project
The World Trade Center consisted of two 110-story buildings (known as the “Twin Towers”) and five smaller buildings. The buildings were light, economical structures designed to keep the wind bracing on the outside surfaces. Architect Mi

inoru Yamasaki studied over a hundred models before adopting the twin tower plan. Plans for a single tower were rejected because the size was cumbersome and impractical. Plans for several towers “looked too much like a housing project,” Yamasaki said. The World Trade Center Towers were among the tallest buildings in the world, and contained nine million square feet of office space.
Construction of the World Trade Center Twin Towers
Tower One was 1,368 feet (414 meters) tall
Tower Two was 1,362 feet (412 meters) tall
br />Each tower was 64 m square
Each tower stood 411 m above street level
The Towers rested on solid bedrock and the foundations extended 21 m below grade
The Towers had a height-to-width ratio of 6.8.
The Tower facades were constructed of aluminium and steel lattice
Each to
ower us
sed a lightweight tube construction with 244 closely spaced columns on the outer walls
A 80 cm tall web joist connected the core to the perimeter at each floor
Concrete slabs were poured over the web joists to form the floors
There were no interior columns in the Tower office spaces
Each tower contained 104 passenger elevators
Each tower had 21,800 windows
Each tower weighed about 500,000 tons
About 50,000 people worked in the World Trade Center complex
From Architect Minoru Yamasaki
Quotes from the Chief Architect of the World Trade Center in New York City
Why the World Trade Center Towers Fell
Engineers who studied the Twin Towers after the September 11 attacks explain why the buildings stood as long as they did, and why they eventually collapsed.
18:25 2004-03-29
Moscow planning to build world’s highest skyscraper
The world’s highest sk
kyscraper, wh
hich is planned to be build in Moscow, will have 116 floors, Moscow architecture, construction and development department head Vladimir Resin declared on Echo of Moscow radio. He specified that the building would be 640 meters high.
He also mentioned that the program New Ring envisaged the construction of 60 high buildings of more than 35 floors. He noted that the construction of skyscrapers was a necessity for Moscow since there was no free area in the city. He added that there were 23 square me
eters of
f residential floor space per person in Moscow while in Europe it was about 50 to 70 square meters.
Firms that have international licenses for such activities will develop projects on constructing skyscrapers, he stressed.
The World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The WTC was a complex of 7 buildings in Lower Manhattan of which the Twin Towers were best known. The two towers were different in height, the first one, built in 1972 being 417 meters and the second one, finished on year later measured 415 meters. The One World Trade Center was the highest building in the world until 1974, when the Sears Tower was built in Chicago. When destroyed, the Twin Towers still ranked in the top 10 of the highest buildings in the world and dominated the skyline of lower Manhattan.
The World Trade Center was a project started up in 1960 by David Rockefeller. The towers were sometimes nicknamed David and Nelson, the Rockefeller brothers. The design came from Minoru Yamasaki and Emery Roth & Sons. The monolithic Twin Towers were never seen as great architecture, but it certainly was a great engineering feat.
The Building never received the attention the Empire State Building gets. But it first became world news when, on Friday Feb. 23, 1993 at 12:18, a bomb exploded in the World Trade Center. The explosion, destroying 5 floors in the 110-story building, including the central commando Center, trapped about 50,000 people, killed 6 and wounded at least 1000 people. Moslem fundamentalists have been convicted for the bombing.
The second time the WTC became world news was on the tragic day September 11, 2001 when 2 hijacked planes crashed into the twin towers. Not much later, the towers imploded. More than 2,800 people died in the terrorist attack.
Even though the towers were built to withstand the impact of a plane crash, the towers collapsed within 2 hours of the initial impact. But an investigation into the cause of the collapse of the towers found no structural flaws or blunders. Some of the reasons of the collapse are:
– The size of the planes: the Boeings that crashed into the towers had a wingspan of 156 ft, while the towers were ‘only’ 209ft wide. The planes knocked out so many columns in the building that the remaining columns could no longer support the upper floors.
– The height of the impact: the planes crashed at altitudes were it was almost impossible for firemen to contain the fires. The internal sprinkler system was ineffective if working at all, as several floors were wiped out. The amount of kerosene intensified the fires to such an extent that the steel eventually weakened and could no longer support the top floors.
– The structure: after the upper floors collapsed, this caused a domino effect, as the floors below could not support the collapsing top floors. This caused the whole building to implode.
The implosion of the towers covered almost all of Lower Manhattan in a dust cloud. Several days later, streets around the WTC, also known as ‘ground zero’ were still covered with dust. Many buildings in the neighbourhood of the attacked towers were either severely damaged or collapsed. Among them One Liberty plaza and the World Financial Center buildings. It took until May 30, 2002 before ground zero was officially cleared: 1,8 million tons of rubble were removed in the process.
Time will tell if this tragedy becomes the Hinesburg of the skyscrapers. The WTC 1 & 2 itself will not be rebuilt, at least not as tall. Several projects for world’s tallest or 1000ft+ skyscrapers have already been put on hold or have been scaled down.
Timeline of the WTC attack:
At 8:45 AM EDT, a hijacked Boeing 767, American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston en route to Los Angeles hits the north tower.
At 9:03 AM, a second hijacked Boeing 767; United Airlines flight 175 from Boston en route to LA hits the south tower.
At 9:50 AM, the top floors of the south tower collapse. The whole tower collapses
At 10:28 AM, the top floors of the north tower implode, bringing the rest of the building down.
Our world has changed dramatically.
Watching video of the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center in the few minutes before they both collapsed, we were struck by what appeared to be the whole history of the skyscraper captured in vignette. In the blocks east and south of the World Trade Center stood the earlier skyscrapers of the 20th century, including some of the most notable prototypes of that epoch. Virtually all of these pre-1930 ultra-tall buildings thrust skyward with towers, turrets, and needles, each singular in its design, as though reaching up to some great spiritual goal as yet unattained. And there, in contrast stood the two flaming towers of the World Trade Center, with their flat roofs signifying the exhaustion of that century-long aspiration to reach into the heavens, their failure made even more emphatic in the redundancy of their banal twin-ness. Then they and everything inside them imploded into vapour and dust, including several thousand New Yorkers whose bodies will likely never be found.
Terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. With the recent tragedies comes a sobering reassessment of America’s (and the World’s) infatuation with skyscrapers. We feel very strongly that the disaster should not only be blamed on the terrorist action, but that this horrible event exposes an underlying malaise with the built environment.
We are convinced that the age of skyscrapers is at an end. It must now be considered an experimental building typology that has failed. Who will ever again feel safe and comfortable working 110 storeys above the ground? Or sixty storeys? Or even twenty-seven? We predict that no new mega towers will be built, and existing ones are destined to be dismantled. This will lead to a radical transformation of city Centers — which, however, would be an immensely positive step towards improving the quality of urban life. The only mega towers left standing a century hence may be in those third-world countries who so avidly imported the bric-a-brac of the industrialized world without realizing the damage they were inflicting on their cities. This essay looks at criticisms of tall buildings, while offering some practical solutions.