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11 Fascinating Facts About One World Trade Center

Updated: Dec. 09, 2022

One World Trade (formerly known as the Freedom Tower) has become an architectural and emotional force in Lower Manhattan. Here's why.

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Alexander Prokopenko/Shutterstock

It’s tall

With its 18-piece spire, One World Trade Center stands at 1,776 feet, a direct reference to the year the Declaration of Independence was signed. However, even at this soaring height, it’s controversial whether it’s the tallest building in the United States. In Chicago, where the Willis Tower holds the national record for tallest building at 1,451 feet, residents have joined the debate over how a skyscraper’s true height should be determined; subtracting the spire knocks 1WTC’s total height down to 1,368 feet. Check out these interesting facts about practically everything.

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It’s solid

World Trade Center One contains more than 40,000 metric tons of structural steel. As for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, according to a tweet from its official account, the memorial contains “49,000 cubic yards of concrete, enough to pave more than 200 miles of NYC sidewalks.” To put that figure into perspective, 200 miles is the rough equivalent of 4,000 New York City blocks. Read about these twists of fate that saved people’s lives on 9/11.

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It’s meaningful

The tower’s observation deck was specifically constructed with the memory of the Twin Towers in mind. The deck itself begins at 1,362 feet, and a glass parapet extends to 1,368 feet—the exact height of the South and North Towers. Don’t miss these other hidden meanings in everyday objects.

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Christoph Lischetzki/Shutterstock

It’s safe

Taking heed of every structural and safety failure of the Twin Towers, developers carefully designed the new tower to be the safest office building in the world. Among 1WTC’s unique construction elements are its high-strength concrete, which can withstand seven times more pressure than standard concrete, and its reinforcement steel bars, which are significantly longer than normal (traditionally thumb-sized, 1WTC’s rebars are forearm length). Between the dense fireproofing and additional staircase for first responders, the tower well exceeds the city’s building safety code requirements. These are the questions people still have about 9/11.

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Blue elevator buttons pressed G lift down to ground floor
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You can quickly go up and down

One World Trade Center has a total of 71 elevators. They can travel as fast as 23 miles per hour. That means that an elevator can go from the ground floor to the 102nd floor in just 60 seconds!

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It’s green

In addition to the many green features of the One World Trade Center tower—it was built from recycled construction debris and materials, and generates power internally—the entire site was specially constructed to collect rainwater to help care for the plaza’s greenery, cool the building, and replenish the memorial fountain. These are the tallest skyscrapers in the world.

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11 Fascinating Facts About One World Trade Center
Mark Lennihan/AP/Shutterstock

It joins the old with the new

Many people don’t know this, but one of the trees that was planted around the memorial actually lived through the attack on 9/11. It is known as the “Survivor Tree.” People were actually able to recover it from the debris and plant it on the site of One World Trade Center. It is a symbol of rebirth and survival. Read about the woman that was personally blamed for the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

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It’s historic

The 9/11 Museum houses videos and artifacts from the original World Trade Center, including a ticket from the South Tower’s observation deck and two tridents from the buildings.

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11 Fascinating Facts About One World Trade Center

It incorporates lots of shapes

The building has a cubic base and its edges form eight isosceles triangles. Near its middle, the tower forms a perfect octagon.

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It’s hard-working

One World Trade has 103 floors, 71 of which are office space. Tenants include the U.S. General Service Administration and magazine publisher Condé Nast. Also, below the site, a concourse offers 55,000 square feet of retail space, connections to 11 New York City subways and PATH trains, and underground access to the ferry terminal on the Hudson River. Read about the powerful things one 9/11 survivor learned after the attack.

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11 Fascinating Facts About One World Trade Center
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It pays tribute

One World Trade Center was built in remembrance of the victims of the terrorist attack that happened on September 11, 2001. It is a constant reminder of the lives that were lost and hope for the future. Two large square pools, each with a waterfall, stand in the exact spots of the twin towers. In one of the busiest areas of Manhattan, the memorial is able to remain a tranquil and peaceful spot for people to pay tribute.  Every one of the victims names has been inscribed on the sides of the pools. Many visitors will leave roses next to the names of people they knew. Next, find out 15 facts about America you never knew.