7 World Trade Center
New York, NY
Michael Gericke (partner in charge); Lior Vaturi, Kalene Rivers (designers)
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (architect); Jenny Holzer (media installation)
The rebirth of 7 World Trade Center was significant to Lower Manhattan in many ways. The original building was destroyed on September 11, 2001, and the new 52-story building is the first permanent structure to rise from the World Trade Center site. It was also the first LEED skyscraper in New York and was awarded the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Gold status.
While changing the name of the building was debated following 9/11, it was retained to acknowledge its history and to commemorate those lost in the terrorist attacks. Environmental graphics needed to respect the past while creating a strong new legacy. They also needed to integrate with the enormous electrical substation that takes up the first 10 stories, surrounded by a stainless steel grill wall.
Pentagram Design conceived a symbolic 60-ft.-tall "7" that faces the World Trade Center site and is formed by extensions of portions of the stainless steel grill. Both monumental and subtle, it changes with the sun's position and the time of day. Inside the lobby, a large light installation by Jenny Holzer features glowing text moving across wide glass panels, and a stainless steel and stone floor pattern is also based on the number 7.
"In a word…sublime." "The heroic scale of the house address of this building becomes all the more suitable when we consider it is the first renewed building on the World Trade Center site. The numeral seven is 60 feet tall, yet cleverly subtle. Instead of a number applied, it seems as if it is extruded forward from the pattern language of the architect's curtain wall. The dimensional relief offers subtle, ever-changing interplay with the sun and a daylong play of sun and shadow. The building lobby offers large illuminated messages in an artful light installation by Jenny Holzer. That media is all the more suited given the building's housing of the Lower Manhattan electrical substation behind those electrified words. One can imagine the variety of illuminating messages that could greet us in this space, both historical and timely."