Wishbone Takes Shape at Trade Center SiteDec 02, 2008
This is as seasonal as it gets for City Room’s roving reporter on the built environment: a remarkable 30-foot-tall steel structure at the base of 1 World Trade Center that reminds me of a wishbone.
Among the many complications facing the architects and engineers of 1 World Trade Center, also known as Freedom Tower, is that it is being built directly over an operating railroad. Its site coincides with the north sweep of the track loop over which PATH trains return to the Hudson River tubes, destined for New Jersey.
Columns supporting the 1,368-foot tower (1,776 feet with its mast) have to run through this track yard and, of course, must be situated so that they do not interfere with the passage of trains.
Where the column pattern of the tower and the track layout conflict, something has to give. In this case, it is column line 9B, near the northeast corner of 1 World Trade Center. There are two PATH tracks, directly below, that must be cleared. But the column itself cannot be moved. So this inverted Y-shaped structure was devised to bridge the two tracks, said Carl Galioto, a partner in the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, designers of the tower.
Now one of the most distinctive features of the World Trade Center site, the structure will eventually be covered in concrete and subsumed within the rest of the tower framework. So it’s the first, and last – the last Thanksgiving for this particular wishbone.