Sculptor Kenneth Snelson is tired of having his name all over the derided spire atop One World Trade Center. It has been widely reported that Snelson consulted with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) on the 441-foot-tall spire that brings the tower to its highly symbolic height of 1,776 feet. But he said he was only peripherally involved in the early stages of the design and is not all that connected to what now towers above Lower Manhattan. Snelson said everyone involved in the design of the spire had the best intentions, but as for its final iteration, he’s no fan. “I don’t know why somebody doesn’t decide, ‘well, we should remove the spire,’” he said.
Posts tagged with "Spires":
Seven tons of glass and steel clad a structural stainless frame on the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building.Brooklyn-based metal fabrication company Kammetal and DCM Erectors of New Jersey were selected to fabricate and install the crowning beacon atop the spire on 1 World Trade Center. The fabrication team executed SOM’s design for a dynamic and complex adornment to one of the country’s most anticipated buildings, along with the help of engineers at Buro Happold to ensure safety at 1,776 feet. To craft a 15-ton, 50-foot beacon that accounted for thermal expansion and movement, Kammetal modeled and drew their designs in SolidWorks. The company’s team laser cut 48 triangular 316 stainless steel panels with ¼-inch thickness in a nondirectional finish to clad DCM’s square tubular steel frame. “Before we started the project, we had the structural frame 3D scanned to generate a point cloud,” explained Sam Kusack, president at Kammetal. “Because the structure was so dynamic—it contains zero right angles or reference points—we had to verify the conditions.” Once the angles were defined, multiple processes were employed to achieve the gentle curves of the cone. In order to ensure even bumping, or bending on a press break, the fabricators laser-scribed lines at every 1/8-inch along the panels’ interior. And to securely fasten each panel to the complex angles of the frame, Kammetal also devised a proprietary clip system that affixes each panel without obstruction. Clips that fell along certain angles could not be bent safely and had to be welded into place. To install tempered and laminated heat-soaked glass panels from Oldcastle, Kusack designed a proprietary vacuum panel lifting mechanism to adjust the panels without affecting the edges. “There’s a gap of just 3/8-inches, so it was the only way to handle the panels,” he told AN. The arm required a unique radius and capacity for strength to pick up each panel in a balanced manner and evenly align the gaps. Custom gaskets fabricated in London seal the glass from the elements. Kammetal also realized SOM’s original design for a rainscreen, which serves as a ventilation component. The beacon houses various mechanicals, including FAA lighting, so slots were laser cut to allow for air-cooling. To install the beacon, DCM Erectors fabricated a series of frames, supports, platforms, and transportation devices to safely place the beacon on top of the spire. “The owner of DCM invented a lot of gear and technology to realize this installation,” Kusack marveled. For example, a holding location was constructed at 1,700 feet to assemble the final interior and exterior components that all had to be raised an additional 70 feet so the apex could be lowered into place.
Move over, Willis Tower. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) issued its official ruling Tuesday: New York’s One World Trade Center unseats the Chicago skyscraper as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The new tower’s symbolic height of 1,776 feet was called into question when a design change suggested it might achieve that elevation only through the addition of a removable broadcast antenna. CTBUH counts only structural elements that are considered an integral part of the building’s aesthetic. It was designers Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s assertion that 1 World Trade Center’s communications equipment represented a permanent architectural feature that persuaded CTBUH to affirm its height. The bottom point of the building was also in dispute. Without antennae, 1 World Trade Center is 1,368 feet tall — the height of the original World Trade Center tower destroyed in the 2001 terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Chicago’s Willis Tower (also an SOM building), still commonly referred to as the Sears Tower, stands 1,451 feet tall — 1,729 feet tall with antennas. It was the tallest building in the world until 1996, when the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, won CTBUH’s recognition.
Anticipation was running as high as the tower itself as construction crews were standing by to raise the final two sections of the spire to the top of One World Trade Center today, a move that would have officially made the tower the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1,776 feet, but high winds brought on delays. The final two sections of the 408-foot-tall spire, capped by a shining, pointed beacon, were scheduled to rise this afternoon, but the Port Authority decided to wait for for clearer skies to top-off the tower. The 800-ton spire, once completed, will serve as a television broadcast antenna, while the crystalline beacon, packed with 264 LEDs for a blistering 316,800 lumens, will shine into the sky each night, from sunset to sunrise once everything is up and running. Created by J.R. Clancy, Ballantyne Strong, and TDK Engineering, the beacon will also contain a rotating mirror to reflect different colored lights for the holidays, as we have all come to expect of New York's tallest buildings. The spire has stirred up controversy in the past, as budget cuts that removed an artistic cladding from its design may have downgraded the appendage to an antenna, as opposed to the more lyrical "spire." In the eyes of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the organization that ranks the world's tallest buildings, this slight change could round down the height of One World Trade to 1,368 feet, leaving Chicago's Willis Tower secure in its position as Tallest in the West. Even if One World Trade doesn't make the grade, the views from the top will still be one of a kind.
After a 1,500-nautical-mile voyage from Canada, half of the World Trade Center's antenna has arrived in New York, and, this morning, the first segments were hoisted 104 stories—over 1,300 feet above the streets of Lower Manhattan—for installation. During AN's site tour in September, the "roots" of the antenna were clearly visible, ready to accept the structure. Building this antenna is no small effort, either. Like the scale of everything at the World Trade site, the structure is gigantic, measuring in at 408-feet tall, higher than most skyscrapers in the rest of the country. Once finished, the antenna will bring the building's overall height to 1,776 feet. There remains some contention on how to describe the antenna structure—as simply an antenna or, more poetically, a spire—and despite what seems a semantic argument, the results could have tall repercussions. The Port Authority and the Durst Organization—both who use the term spire—opted to remove an architectural cladding designed by SOM and artist Kenneth Snelson from the antenna earlier this year, trimming millions from the building's price tag. Without that sculptural finish, however, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), the organization charged with ranking building heights, could opt to exclude the antenna from the overall building height, where an integrated spire would count. That would mean One World Trade won't clock in as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, or even the tallest in New York City.
The Durst Organization and the Port Authority have decided to abandon designs for what they once assured the public would be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and architect David Childs of SOM is fighting back. By stripping away the sculptural finishes designed by SOM with artist Kenneth Snelson the developers and the Port may no longer qualify for the tallest title bestowed by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the body that tallies and ranks building heights. In today's New York Times a spokesperson for the Council said that the galvanzized steel replacement would probably be interpreted as an antenna and not a spire and would not qualify as part of the building structure. Besides losing the title, the developers will also arguably be pulling one of the most significant works of art from the site. Douglas Durst told The Wall Street Journal that the spire should have been designed better as it will cost too much to maintain. "It's not the end of the world," he told the paper. To the Times he indicated the utilitarian replacement should work just fine: “I try not to get involved with the aesthetics. We’re here to discuss how it’s built and how it’s maintained.”