Tuesday 6 December 2016

Ground Zero: Risen from the ashes

Will Dean

Published 09/09/2011 | 10:57

The wreckage of the World Trade Centre on 16 September
The wreckage of the World Trade Centre on 16 September
The construction of One World Trade Centre continues
Workers at Ground Zero sift through debris for human remains in May 2002
Mourners gather at the first anniversary of the attacks
The final steel beam to be removed from the wreckage
The cornerstone of One World Trade Centre is is positioned in July 2004
Mourners gather at the first anniversary of the attacks
The September 11 memorial park

THE rebuilding has huge emotional and political importance in America and beyond. As Manhattan's skyline is transformed once again.

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For the most mediated construction project in human history, the scale of the rebuild remains difficult to comprehend – especially for those who've not been to lower Manhattan in the past decade. The images of a smoky Ground Zero that dominated in the days, weeks and months after 11 September, made the task of reclaiming the site as a place of life feel almost impossible. Films made in October 2001 show New York firefighters forlornly scratching away at the surface debris in the hope of finding remains of their colleagues – new skyscrapers looked a lifetime away.

These pictures document the resurrection of Ground Zero, from five days after the collapse of the twin towers, all the way through to August this year. Here you can see key stages of a rebuild that was tougher – and more political – than any construction site in post-war history. It's been designed by a Harlem Globetrotter-like roster of star architects from Daniel Libeskind, who oversaw the initial plan for the space to Norman Foster and Richard Rogers (towers Two and Three) as well as Santiago Calatrava's dove-like transportation hub. The buildings are all at different levels of completion, but the symbolic tower One is due to top out by next April and will open to its new primary tenants, magazine publisher Condé Nast at the end of 2013.



Despite the main tower equalling the height of the old twin towers, and becoming one of the tallest buildings in the world, the symbolic centre of the World Trade Centre site will be Michael Arad's 9/11 memorial; two perennial waterfalls at the footprints of where the towers once stood. The size of this vast site – eight acres, and half of all the WTC in total – can appear dwarved in plans and aerial shots but its scale is made clear by the shot of workers inside the sunken expanse.



It's been an astonishing transformation, one which most observers will have only witnessed happening once a year with the annual memorial services on 11 September.



The more things change, the more they stay the same.



Independent News Service

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