Permasteelisa to give 1 WTC base new glass design

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has authorized USD 37.2 million towards project and contract costs for a new plan to clad the base of 1 World Trade Center in a glass façade engineered, fabricated and installed by Permasteelisa North American Corp.

A new plan to clad the base of 1 World Trade Center in glass has been approved by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, after technical problems forced the redesign of a previous scheme earlier this year.
The Port Authority’s board authorized USD 37.2 million towards project and contract costs. Permasteelisa North American Corp. will engineer, fabricate and install the new façade, which will consist of stainless steel slat panels around the building’s concrete base, covered with glass fins, which will reflect light during the day, giving the building’s base a distinctive look.
Installation of the redesigned façade will begin in 2013 and is expected to keep pace with the scheduled completion of the tower by the end of that year.
“The World Trade Center site continues to progress at a historic pace and approving this design is a cost-effective solution to a complex problem,” Port Authority Chairman David Samson said in a statement. “It provides a practical way to cover the tower’s secure base, and give it an innovative, inviting look for the thousands of workers who will be employed there and the millions of tourists who will visit it.”
The design is the latest chapter in a saga to design the signature skyscraper at the World Trade Center site so it will be among the safest in the world because of its allure as a potential terrorist target while being distinctive enough to symbolize the city’s rebound from tragedy.
The huge concrete base is one of the building’s major safety elements but it means that office space in the 1,776-foot tower does not start until the 20th floor. The challenge was to create a façade that did not look like a bunker and suggested movement, life and light where none existed. However, the panels of prismatic glass broke too easily. In an interview with Crain’s earlier this year, tower architect David Childs, a consulting design partner at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, said, “It had to be a proud gesture to our resilience.”
Childs had redesigned the building in 2005 when the New York Police Department expressed concerns about whether the tower could withstand a blast from a car bomb.