NEW YORK—It has been five years since the United States was forever changed by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, the country has grieved, cleared the rubble of destruction, and begun to heal. From the Pentagon repairs to the planning of a memorial and new tower in New York City, America is repairing and rebuilding to be stronger than ever before.

Freedom Tower

Plans for the 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower, planned for Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, were recently finalized. The building’s lead architect, David M. Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, has described the Freedom Tower as a monolithic glass structure reflecting the sky and topped by a sculpted antenna. The 187-foot-high, bomb-resistant concrete base will be clad in a screen of glass prisms rather than metal panels, which will crumble into little fragments—much like automobile safety glass—in the case of attack.

Freedom Tower

Rendering of Freedom Tower
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation

The design includes 2.6 million square feet of office space, tenant amenity spaces, an observation deck, world-class restaurants, and broadcast and antennae facilities for the Manhattan Television Alliance (MTVA). The design also provides for below-grade shopping and access to the PATH and subway trains, as well as the World Financial Center. The $2 billion structure is scheduled for completion in 2012.

World Trade Center Memorial

Rendering of World Trade Center Memorial
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation

While the Freedom Tower symbolizes the future and hope as it rises into the sky, the World Trade Center Memorial and Memorial Museum below represents the past and remembrance.

"Reflecting Absence," the winning World Trade Center Site Memorial design by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, was unveiled in January 2004. Working with the designers, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) and Studio Daniel Libeskind established a location for a below-grade Memorial Center at the southwest corner of the memorial site. The Memorial will pay tribute to those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center; in Shanksville, Pa.; and at the Pentagon, as well as those who perished in the World Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993.

The Port Authority will construct the Memorial, which is scheduled to open on Sept. 11, 2009.

Pentagon repairs

In Washington, D.C., rebuilding of the Pentagon was completed less than a year after American Airlines Flight 77—hijacked by terrorists—slammed into the building’s west side. Project Phoenix, the name given to the rebuilding efforts, included full reconstruction of 2 million square feet and was estimated to cost $700 million. Many changes were made to the destroyed section of the Pentagon, improving the physical structure and its performance.

Looking forward

In response to the Sept. 11 tragedies, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a three-year building and fire safety investigation to study the factors contributing to the probable causes of post-impact collapse of the World Trade Center towers.

NIST released the final report in October 2005, which included 30 recommendations for improving building and occupant safety derived from the findings. On March 24, 2006, the first 19 proposed changes to model building codes based upon and consistent with the NIST recommendations were submitted to the International Code Council (ICC). All ICC members will have the opportunity to vote on the proposals at hearings scheduled for this fall. When ICC government member representatives meet in the spring of 2007, all changes passed and those that received public comments will be subject to approval and inclusion in the ICC codes.