NEW YORK CITY.- World Trade Center Developer Larry A. Silverstein was joined today by public officials, architects, builders, artists, downtown residents, local school children and area workers for a celebration to mark the opening of 7 World Trade Center, the first office building to be rebuilt in Lower Manhattan and the first certified "green" skyscraper in New York City history.
The ceremony commenced with a singing of "God Bless America" by Irish tenor Ronan Tynan and about 70 children from two neighboring schools - PS 234 Independence School and PS 89. The event also featured the unveiling of Balloon Flower (Red), a sculpture by world-renowned artist Jeff Koons, and an official ribbon cutting for 7 World Trade Center, a 52-story, 1.7 million square-foot office tower, at 250 Greenwich Street.
The event, hosted by Mr. Silverstein to celebrate the resurgence of Downtown and salute its residents, workers and school children, culminated in a free, two-hour outdoor, public concert featuring Lou Reed, Suzanne Vega, Ollabelle, Citizen Cope, Pharaoh's Daughter, Brazilian Girls, Ronan Tynan, and Bill Ware Vibes.
"I have been involved in the World Trade Center for half of my 50-year career, and this is one of my proudest moments," said Mr. Silverstein. "More than 3,000 dedicated, hard working and brilliant men and women helped make this day possible, and I thank each and every one of them. 7 World Trade Center is much more than the newest office tower in New York - it is a symbol of the city's resilience and spirit. We have reclaimed an important part of the downtown skyline, and in doing so, we have set new standards in environmental quality, life safety and innovation.
"But this is just the start," added Mr. Silverstein. "As we speak, construction workers are hard at work on the Freedom Tower, and a host of visionary architects and engineers are working round-the-clock inside 7 World Trade Center to design the next three office and retail towers to be constructed on the site." Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. added, "This magnificent building sets the bar high and gives us all something to strive for as the rest of the World Trade Center site begins to take shape. I'm pleased that we are now united in our ultimate mission of rebuilding."
The entire building is 52 stories with tenant floors starting at the 11th floor above street level. The first 10 floors largely are given over to a series of huge bays housing transformers for a Consolidated Edison substation and the street-level lobby facing Greenwich Street, which leads to elevator banks to the tenant floors. The Con Ed substation supplies electrical service to all of Lower Manhattan and replaces equipment destroyed by the attacks on the World Trade Center.
The surface surrounding the lower 10 stories of the building was designed by Mr. Childs in collaboration with artist James Carpenter, and is a study in reflected color and light. The surface is calibrated to create the illusion of depth. It is animated with light, which evolves naturally by day with the changing exterior conditions, and artificially by night with programmed LED projection sequences. To further complement the kinetic nature of the surfaces, artist Jenny Holzer has created a lobby installation with moving text "as big as Manhattan" chronicling the history of the city through historic poems.
The new 7 World Trade Center is located at 250 Greenwich Street and is bound by Greenwich, Vesey, Washington and Barclay Streets. To create a more vibrant and interconnected neighborhood, Mr. Silverstein's architect, David Childs, Consulting Design Partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, designed a sleeker building, which allows for the re-introduction of Greenwich Street through the World Trade Center site and for the creation of a new neighborhood park.
"7 World Trade Center is first and foremost an urban gesture," said Mr. Childs. "By pulling the building back from its eastern property line, we allowed Greenwich Street to extend through the site, thereby reuniting Tribeca and the Financial District. A one-acre park now occupies the unused portion of the site, so there is light, air and landscaping in this previously congested area of the city. Designed before the master plan for the World Trade Center site was in place, 7 World Trade Center serves as a gateway to the new World Trade Center and sets an example for future buildings downtown in terms of urbanism, design excellence, safety, and sustainability."
Jeff Koons, one of the world's most widely recognized artists, created Balloon Flower (Red), the sculpture that sits in the center of the fountain in the new park at 7 World Trade Center. The mirror-polished stainless steel sculpture represents a twisted balloon in the shape of a flower that has been enlarged to monumental scale. Since 1995, Koons created Balloon Flower in five versions: blue, magenta, yellow, orange, and red. Balloon Flower is part of the series known as Celebration, consisting of twenty sculptures and sixteen paintings. Many works of Celebration, including a balloon dog and a mound of Play-Doh, are inspired by a child's playroom.
The triangular park was created by David Childs with Ken Smith and his colleague Annie Weinmayr of Ken Smith Landscape Architect, and is situated between the now extended Greenwich Street and West Broadway. It consists of a central open plaza with a fountain and flanking groves of trees and shrubs. As the seasons change, so will the colors in the park, providing a soothing natural complement to the adjacent tower.
The U.S. Green Building Council, which has developed the nation's only common standard of measurement for a "green" building, recently certified 7 World Trade Center at Gold status under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. As the first "green" office building in New York City, 7 World Trade Center has been recognized for its pioneering approach to providing occupants with cleaner air and more natural light, while conserving energy and other natural resources. Green efforts include: Rainwater collection for irrigating the park and cooling the building; use of recycled material in the construction effort and separation of refuse and recyclable materials on site; and use of latest glass technology, providing maximum building energy conservation and more natural light for tenants.
Tishman Construction Corporation Chairman and CEO Daniel R. Tishman, a leader in the green-design-and-construction movement, said, "It has been an honor to serve as Construction Manager for 7 World Trade Center. Our firm, led by my father, John Tishman, built the original Seven World Trade Center, and it was meaningful to all of us that we participate in its recreation. It was also important to generate a case study for life safety innovation and environmentally responsible design in high-rise construction. With this building, we have set a new standard, and we will apply even greater standards to Freedom Tower and beyond."