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NEW YORK CITY-David M. Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has detailed refinements made to the 1,776-ft Freedom Tower. The firm’s design team has spent the past year refining the concept unveiled in June 2005.

The tower is being built according to World Trade Center Sustainable Design Guidelines that were drafted in consultation with environmental groups and community advocates. The building also incorporates advanced life safety systems that exceed the requirements of the New York City Building Code.

The tower will contain 2.6 million sf of office space, an observation deck, restaurants, parking and the Metropolitan Television Alliance broadcast and antennae facilities. Rising from the plaza level, a 50-ft high public lobby is topped by a series of mechanical floors; together these form the 186-ft high building base. To satisfy security concerns, the building’s setback distance from West Street was increased from 25 feet to an average of 90 feet . The base will be clad in more than 2,000 sheets of prismatic glass.

Sixty-nine office floors rise above the base to 1,120 ft elevation. Mechanical floors, two television broadcast floors, two restaurants and an observation deck culminate in a metal and glass parapet that marks 1,362 feet and 1,368 feet–the two heights of the original Twin Towers. A communications platform ring rises above the parapet and a 404-ft cable-stayed antenna, designed in collaboration with artist Kenneth Snelson, rises to a final height of 1,776 feet.

Construction on below-grade utility relocations, footings and foundations started in April. It is projected that steel for the building will be visible above grade in 2008, with a topping out in 2010. The building is projected to be ready for occupancy in 2011. “As the first office tower to rise on the actual World Trade Center site, the Freedom Tower will recapture the New York City skyline, reasserting Downtown Manhattan’s preeminence as a business center and establishing a new civic icon for our country,” says World Trade Center developer Larry A. Silverstein.

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