Connect to share and comment

Maki-designed building first to open on World Trade Center site


Four World Trade Center, designed by renowned Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, was the first building to open on the original World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan on Wednesday.

"I am extremely honored to be here today," said Maki at the ribbon cutting ceremony. The architect also thanked the building's owner and developer for "inviting us and bestowing in us the confidence to undertake this most important challenge."

The new building is the first to open at the site of the worst September 11, 2001 attacks that killed around 3,000 people, 24 of them Japanese nationals.

While not expected to be open to the public until late 2014 or early 2015, the nearly 298 meter tall building is now open to tenants to begin construction inside.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center site, and the City of New York are leasing half of the building's over 200,000 square meters of office space.

Cloaked in highly reflective glass, the trapezoidal building has a minimalist feel, almost seeming to disappear into the sky from some angles.

The design was meant to create a dignified atmosphere on the side overlooking the memorial where the Twin Towers stood, yet also become a part of the active and lively neighborhood with retail space on the opposite side.

"(Maki's) design is extraordinary in its own right, at the same time elegantly embraces and pays homage to the (site's) master plan," said developer Larry Silverstein, president and CEO of Silverstein Properties, which is redeveloping the site.

Kazusada Sumiyama, 76, who lost his son Yoichi Sugiyama in the terrorist attacks called having a building up and open for business at the site a "good, forward-looking step."

"My son worked there for a little over a year as a business man, so I'm glad to see it coming back to life as a business center," Sumiyama said in a phone interview.