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World Trade Center (2001–present)

World Trade Center
The nearly-complete One and 4 World Trade Center as seen from New Jersey. 2 and 3 World Trade Center are still in the early stages of construction.
General information
Status Partially complete;
under construction[note 1]
Location New York City
Groundbreaking 2002
Construction started
  • One WTC: April 27, 2006[1]
  • 2 WTC: June 1, 2010
  • 3 WTC: 2010
  • 4 WTC: January 2008
  • 7 WTC: May 7, 2002[2]
  • One WTC: July, 2014
  • 2 WTC: 2020 (est.)
  • 3 WTC: 2018 (est.)
  • 4 WTC: November 13, 2013[3]
  • 7 WTC: May 23, 2006[4]
Opening Transportation Hub: December, 2015

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The World Trade Center is a partially completed complex of buildings under construction in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States, replacing an earlier complex of seven buildings with the same name on the same site that were damaged or destroyed in the September 11 attacks. The site is being rebuilt with six new skyscrapers, a memorial and museum to those killed in the attacks, and a transportation hub. One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the United States, is the lead building for the new complex, reaching more than 100 stories[15] upon its completion in November 2014.[16]

The [19] The resulting collapse caused structural failure in many of the surrounding buildings as well. The process of cleaning up and recovery at the World Trade Center site took eight months, after which rebuilding of the site commenced.[20][21]

After years of delay and controversy, reconstruction at the World Trade Center site is now underway. The new complex includes One World Trade Center (formerly known as the Freedom Tower), 7 World Trade Center, three other high-rise office buildings, a museum and memorial, and a transportation hub similar in size to Grand Central Terminal. One World Trade Center was completed on August 30, 2012, and the final component of its spire installed on May 10, 2013. 4 World Trade Center opened in November 2014.[22][23] The 9/11 memorial is complete, and the museum opened on May 21, 2014.[24] 3 World Trade Center and the Transportation Hub are also making progress, and are set to be finished by around late 2017[25] and late 2015,[26] respectively. 2 World Trade Center's full construction was placed on hold in 2009; however, on June 9, 2015, it was reported that the building would undergo a new design, led by architect Bjarke Ingels of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). It was also reported that the newly designed 2 World Trade Center would become the headquarters for Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and News Corp. If approved, the new building would be completed by the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001.[27]


  • Cleanup 1
  • Planning 2
  • Rebuilding 3
  • Constituent structures 4
    • Towers 4.1
    • Memorial and museum 4.2
    • Retail space 4.3
    • Transportation Hub 4.4
    • St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church 4.5
  • 2014 logo 5
  • Early controversy and criticism 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
    • Explanatory notes 8.1
    • Citations 8.2
  • Bibliography 9
  • External links 10


Preliminary site plans for the World Trade Center's reconstruction.

The process of cleanup and recovery continued 24 hours a day over a period of eight months. Debris was transported from the World Trade Center site to Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, where it was further sifted.[28] On May 30, 2002, a ceremony was held to officially mark the end of the cleanup efforts.[29] In 2002, ground was broken on construction of a new 7 WTC building located just to the north of the main World Trade Center site. Since it was not part of the site master plan, Larry Silverstein was able to proceed without delay on the rebuilding of 7 World Trade Center, which was completed and officially opened in May 2006; this had been considered a priority since restoring Consolidated Edison Co.'s electrical substation in the building's lower floors was necessary to meet power demands of Lower Manhattan.[30][31][32] While 7 World Trade Center was not part of the master plan for the Twin Towers site, Silverstein and Con Edison recognized that the rebuilding of 7 World Trade Center would have to be consistent with the master plan which was expected to re-open the street grid which had been blocked by the original World Trade Center super-block. As a result, the design for the new 7 World Trade Center allowed for the re-opening of Greenwich Street, which had been blocked by the original 7 World Trade Center.[33] A temporary PATH station at the World Trade Center opened in November 2003, pending replacement by a permanent station designed by Santiago Calatrava.[34]

With the main World Trade Center site, numerous stakeholders were involved including Silverstein and the Port Authority, which in turn meant that Governor of New York, had some authority. In addition, the victims' families, people in the surrounding neighborhoods, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and others wanted input. Governor Pataki established the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) in November 2001 as an official commission to oversee the rebuilding process.[35] The LMDC held a competition to solicit possible designs for the site. The Memory Foundations design by Daniel Libeskind was chosen as the master plan for the World Trade Center site.[36] The plan included the 1,776 feet (541 m) Freedom Tower (now known as One World Trade Center) as well as a memorial and a number of other office towers. Out of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, a design by Michael Arad and Peter Walker titled Reflecting Absence was selected in January 2004.[37]


Governor Pataki established the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) in November 2001, as an official commission to oversee the rebuilding process.[38] The LMDC coordinates federal assistance in the rebuilding process, and works with the Port Authority, Larry Silverstein, and Studio Daniel Libeskind, the master plan architect for the site's redesign. The corporation also handles communication with the local community, businesses, the city of New York, and relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks.[39] A 16-member board of directors, half appointed by the governor and half by the mayor of New York, governs the LMDC.[40] The LMDC had questionable legal status regarding the restoration of the World Trade Center site, because the Port Authority owns most of the property and Larry Silverstein leased the World Trade Center's office space in July 2001. But the LMDC, in an April 2002 articulation of its principles for action, asserted its role in revitalizing lower Manhattan.[41]

In the months following the attacks, architects and urban planning experts held meetings and forums to discuss ideas for rebuilding the site.[42] In January 2002, New York City art dealer Max Protetch solicited 50 concepts and renderings from artists and architects, which were put on exhibit in his Chelsea art gallery.[43]

In April 2002, the LMDC sent out requests for proposals to redesign the World Trade Center site to 24 Manhattan architecture firms, but then soon withdrew them. The following month, the LMDC selected Beyer Blinder Belle as planner for the redesign of the World Trade Center site.[44] On July 16, 2002, Beyer Blinder Belle unveiled six concepts for redesigning the World Trade Center site.[45] All six designs were voted "poor" by the roughly 5,000 New Yorkers that submitted feedback, so the LDMC announced a new, international, open-design study.[46]

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The memorial is in the foreground, the museum to the left.

In an August 2002 press release, the LMDC announced a design study for the World Trade Center site.[47] The following month, the LMDC, along with New York New Visions – a coalition of 21 architecture, engineering, planning, landscape architecture and design organizations – announced seven semifinalists. The following seven architecture firms were then invited to compete to be the master plan architect for the World Trade Center:

Peterson Littenberg, a small New York architecture firm, had been enlisted by the LMDC earlier that summer as a consultant, and was invited to participate as the seventh semifinalist.[49]

The seven semifinalists presented their entries to the public on December 18, 2002, at the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center. In the following weeks, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill withdrew its entry from the competition.[50]

Days before the announcement of the two finalists in February 2003, Larry Silverstein wrote to LMDC Chair John Whitehead to express his disapproval of all of the semifinalists' designs. As the Twin Towers' insurance money recipient, Silverstein claimed that he had the sole right to decide what would be built. He announced that he had already picked Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as his master planner for the site.[51] On February 1, 2003, the LMDC selected two finalists, the THINK Team and Studio Daniel Libeskind, and planned on picking a single winner by the end of the month. Rafael Viñoly of the THINK Team and Studio Daniel Libeskind presented their designs to the LMDC, which selected the THINK design. Earlier the same day, however, Roland Betts, a member of the LMDC, had called a meeting and the corporation had agreed to vote for the THINK design before hearing the final presentations. Governor Pataki, who had originally commissioned the LMDC, intervened and overruled the LMDC's decision.[51] On February 27, 2003, Studio Daniel Libeskind officially won the competition to be the master planner for the World Trade Center redesign.

Libeskind's original proposal, which is titled Memory Foundations, underwent extensive revisions during collaboration with Larry Silverstein, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, whom Silverstein hired.[52] Though Libeskind designed the site, the individual buildings have been designed by different architects. While not all of Liebeskind's ideas were incorporated into the final design, his design and the public support it garnered did solidify the principle that the original footprints of the Twin Towers should be turned into a memorial and not be used for commercial purposes. As a result, Liebeskind's lawyers at the New York firm of Wachtell Lipton embarked on the multi-year negotiation process to frame a master plan for the rebuilding.[53] The first step in this process, completed in 2003, was the "swap" in which Silverstein gave up his rights to the footprints of the Twin Towers so that they could become a memorial, and in exchange received the right to build five new office towers around the memorial.[54] The "swap" and the ensuing negotiations, which lasted for many years, have been referred to as the most complex real estate transaction in human history because of the complexity of the issues involved, the many stakeholders, and the difficulty of reaching consensus.[55]


Large construction side with cranes and two recessed, square areas
Construction of the 9/11 Memorial complex in December 2010

On March 13, 2006, workers arrived at the World Trade Center site to remove remaining debris and start surveying work. This marked the official start of construction of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, though not without controversy and concerns from some family members.[56] In April 2006, the Port Authority and Larry Silverstein reached an agreement in which Silverstein ceded rights to develop the Freedom Tower and Tower Five in exchange for financing with Liberty Bonds for Towers Two, Three, and Four.[57][58] On April 27, 2006, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the Freedom Tower.[59]

In May 2006, architects

  • World Trade Center – Silverstein Properties
  • World Trade Center – Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

External links

  • "World Trade Center Building Performance Study". Federal Emergency Management Agency. May 2002. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 


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  1. ^ 1, 4, and 7 WTC, as well as the 9/11 Memorial and Museum are complete. 2, 3, and 5 WTC, as well as Liberty Park and the Vehicle Security Center, the Transportation Hub, and the Performing Arts Center are under construction.

Explanatory notes


See also


An episode of CBS's 60 Minutes in 2010 focused on the lack of progress at Ground Zero, particularly on the lack of completion dates for a majority of the buildings, the main tower, One World Trade Center's having undergone three different designs, and the delays and monetary expense involved. Investor Larry Silverstein said the Port Authority's estimated completion date for the entire site was 2037, and billions of dollars had already been spent on the project, even though Ground Zero "is still a hole in the ground". During an interview for the episode, Larry Silverstein said: "I am the most frustrated person in the world....I'm seventy-eight years of age; I want to see this thing done in my lifetime".[150]

The social center of the old World Trade Center included a spectacular restaurant on the 107th floor, called Windows on the World, and its Greatest Bar in the World; these were tourist attractions in their own right, and a social gathering spot for people who worked in the towers.[145][146] This restaurant also housed one of the most prestigious wine schools in the United States, called "Windows on the World Wine School", run by wine personality Kevin Zraly.[147] Despite numerous assurances that these local landmarks and global attractions would be rebuilt,[148] the Port Authority scrapped plans to rebuild these WTC attractions, which has outraged some observers.[149]

There was much debate regarding the future of Twin Towers Alliance.[143] Others did not want anything built there at all or wanted the entire site to become a memorial. Finally, a master plan was agreed upon, which would feature a memorial and museum where the original Twin Towers stood and six new skyscrapers surrounding it.[144]

Early controversy and criticism

Landor Associates was awarded a $3.57 million contract in 2013 to design the logo. Douglas Riccardi, the principal in the design firm Memo, stated, "Its strength is its ability to be seen in many ways. You could never get more meaning in five little bars. The problem is that people may not bother to find out what the meanings are."[142]

  • Each of the five bars in the logo represents the five towers that will be the World Trade Center when it is complete.[141][142]
  • The top half of the logo features bars cut off at a 17.76-degree angle, evoking One World Trade Center's 1,776-foot height.[141][142]
  • There are two white columns at the top symbolizing the Tribute in Light memorial.[141][142]
  • The three black bars at the top also symbolize the Twin Towers' trident-shaped columns.[141][142]
  • The two black bars at the bottom also stand for the twin pools of the 9/11 Memorial.[141][142]
  • The logo, as a whole, is in the shape of a "W", which stands for "World Trade Center" and "Westfield World Trade Center".[141][142]

The World Trade Center's new logo, revealed in August 2014, was designed by the firm Landor Associates and shaped like a "W". All the black bars, the empty spaces, and the "W" itself symbolizes something, giving the logo at least six meanings:[140]

A deal has been reached between church officials, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the Port Authority to have the church rebuilt on the same site, but three times the original size on October 14, 2011, according to NY1.[139]

Government officials have backed down from a July 2008 deal to relocate the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only church destroyed in the September 11 attacks.[137][138]

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church

Santiago Calatrava designed the World Trade Center Transportation Hub (its main asset being the PATH station) to replace the old World Trade Center station.[133] The Transport Hub will connect the PATH station and 1 New York City Transit Authority subway train to the ferry terminal, the World Financial Center and One World Trade Center on the west and the 2 3 4 5 A C J Z N R New York City Transit Authority subway trains through the Fulton Center on the East. One will be able to walk most of the way across lower Manhattan. The Port Authority will cool the new station, as well as the September 11 Memorial and Museum, via a heat exchanger fed by four pipes carrying water from the Hudson River.[134] The cost for the transportation hub is estimated at $3.44 billion.[26][135][136]

Entrance to the PATH at the World Trade Center

Transportation Hub

In early December 2013, Australian retail corporation Westfield announced that it will invest US$800 million for complete control of the retail space at the rebuilt center. Westfield purchased the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s 50 percent stake in the retail part of the World Trade Center site, increasing its total investment to more than US$1.4 billion.[132]

Retail space

On October 12, 2004, the LMDC announced that Gehry Partners LLP and Snøhetta, an architectural firm from Norway, would design the site's performing arts and museum complexes, respectively, in the same area as the memorial.[127][128] The Snøhetta-designed museum[129] will act as a memorial museum and visitors' center, after family members of 9/11 victims objected to the building's original occupant, the International Freedom Center.[130] Gehry's performing arts complex will house only the Joyce Theater, as the Signature Theater Company dropped out due to space constraints and cost limitations.[130] The Ground Zero Museum Workshop is a privately run 501c nonprofit museum that is not connected to the official Ground Zero Memorial or Gehry's museum.[131]

A memorial called "Reflecting Absence" honors the victims of the September 11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.[116] The memorial, designed by Peter Walker and Israeli-American architect Michael Arad, consists of a field of trees interrupted by the footprints of the twin towers. Pools of water fill the footprints, underneath which sits a memorial space whose walls bear the names of the victims. The slurry wall, which holds back the Hudson River in the west and was an integral part of Libeskind's proposal, remains exposed.[117] Walker and Arad were selected from more than 5,000 entrants in the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition in January 2004. Construction of the memorial was completed before September 11, 2011.[118][119][120][121][122][123][124][125][126]

The completed South Pool in April 2012

Memorial and museum

7 World Trade Center stands off of Port Authority property. David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed the tower, which opened in May 2006.[115]

Bear Stearns had caused construction to stagnate, as the company changed its plans and relocated its headquarters to 383 Madison Avenue.[114] Construction began on September 9, 2011.[81]

Maki and Associates designed Four World Trade Center, also known as 150 Greenwich Street.[110][111]

Richard Rogers Partnership designed Three World Trade Center, or 175 Greenwich Street, which stands across Greenwich Street from the Memorial's two reflecting pools.[86][87]

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels designed Two World Trade Center, also known as 200 Greenwich Street. The building's gardens integrate Tribeca with the Financial District at the World Trade Center.[82][83]

One World Trade Center (previously coined the "Freedom Tower" by Governor Pataki) is the centerpiece of Libeskind's design. The building rises to 1,368 feet (417 m), the height of the original World Trade Center north tower, and its antenna rises to the symbolic height of 1,776 feet (541 m). This height refers to 1776, the year in which the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. The tower was a collaboration between Studio Daniel Libeskind and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architect David Childs.[105] Childs acted as the design architect and project manager for the tower, and Daniel Libeskind collaborated on the concept and schematic design.[106] According to a NY1 article on March 8, 2011, a plan to build a restaurant on top of One World Trade Center (to duplicate the Windows on the World restaurant atop the previous North Tower) was scrapped entirely because of potential risk of rising costs to build and maintain the establishment over the benefits of having one at all.[107] Also in 2011 it was confirmed that Condé Nast Publications would be a primary tenant of the building.[108][109]

The completed 7 World Trade Center in 2008.


Name Image Date construction started Date of completion Construction summary Current status
1 World Trade Center April 27, 2006 November 3, 2014 Construction was supposed to begin in Fall 2004 after the design plans were finalized earlier that year but NYPD raised security concerns which caused extensive revisions to the existing plans and delaying the start of the construction of the building by two years.[75] Among the notable changes was the tower was moved further away from the West Highway and a heavily fortified base of the building.[76] In 2006, the Port Authority took over from Silverstein Properties as the project's developer Tishman Construction Corporation is the construction manager.[77] and construction began in April of that year. Digging the foundation and installing tower-foundation steel columns, concrete, and rebar took twice as long as it normally would. The construction crews were prevented from using heavy machineries to dig the foundation due to the building's location now closer to be the near the existing Subway line.[76] The building reached grade level by 2010 and progressed at a pace of one floor a week and was topped out in August 2012, and structurally completed in May 2013.[78] The building opened on November 3, 2014 with the first 170 employees of anchor tenant Conde Nast began work at the building.[79] Completed
2 World Trade Center N/A November 10, 2008 c. 2021 21st Century Fox and News Corp signed a non-binding agreement to anchor the building, but Norman Foster was replaced by Bjarke Ingels since then.[27][80] [81] Construction of everything up to street level was completed in mid-2013.[82][83] The rest of the building, however, has yet to be built until tenants for Tower 2 can be found.[84][85] On hold
3 World Trade Center November 10, 2008

c. 2018

Groundbreaking occurred in the fall of 2008 but construction was halted in Summer of 2012 due to lack of anchor tenants. However work progressed on the below-grade foundations and ground level podium which was completed by October 2013.[86][87] An anchor tenant, Group M was finally signed in late 2013[88] but finance negotiations between Silverstein Properties and Port Authority dragged until an agreement was reached in June 2014. Construction resumed in August 2014 and building is now scheduled to be completed by 2018.[89] Under construction
4 World Trade Center November 10, 2008 November 13, 2013 Construction began in the fall of 2008 and the building was declared complete on November 13, 2013.[90][91][92][93] The first tenants to move in were two government agencies,[94] and as of July 2015, the building is 62% leased.[95] Completed
5 World Trade Center N/A September 9, 2011 TBA Site preparation work began on September 9, 2011, with the Port Authority acting as the building's developer.[96] but construction on the main structure never commenced.[81] On hold
7 World Trade Center May 7, 2002 May 23, 2006 Construction of the new 7 World Trade Center began in 2002 and was completed in 2006. The building is 52 stories tall (plus one underground floor), making it the 28th-tallest in New York.[7][97] Opened on May 23, 2006 and achieved LEED gold status.[98] Completed
National September 11 Memorial March 13, 2006 September 11, 2011 The Memorial opened on September 11, 2011, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the attacks.[99][100] Completed
National September 11 Museum March 13, 2006 May 21, 2014 The museum was initially scheduled to open on September 11, 2012, one year after the opening of the Memorial. However, construction was halted in December 2011 due to financial disputes between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum Foundation, deciding on who should be responsible for infrastructure costs. Those disputes were resolved and construction resumed on March 13, 2012. Further delays were caused when Hurricane Sandy significantly damaged the site in November 2012. The museum was completed and opened to families of the victims on May 15, 2014 and opened to the general public on May 21, 2014. Completed
World Trade Center Transportation Hub April 26, 2010 December 17, 2015 A temporary PATH station opened in 2003 and construction on the permanent station was supposed to begin in fall 2004; however, the NYPD raised security concerns on the entire site. Among the revisions effecting the Transportation Hub was doubling the number of support columns.[75] In the original plan, the construction of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum was only supposed to have begun after the Transportation Hub had been completed because the roof of the Transportation Hub provided the foundation on which the Memorial rested upon and the walls of the Museum.[101] Due to the two-year delay and pressure by Victim's families to have the Memorial completed by the 10-year anniversary, it was decided to concentrate on building the Memorial and holding off construction of the Transportation Hub. Construction finally began on the Transportation Hub in 2010 and now is expected to be finished by December 2015, six years after it was originally expected to be finished. Under construction
Performing Arts Center N/A TBA c. 2019 Construction was to begin in December 2014 when the removal of the temporary PATH station commenced.[102] However, after a downgrade of plans, the construction date was moved back indefinitely. After the PATH station is removed, construction may start; the center may open as early as 2019.[103] Construction not started
Vehicular Security Center N/A November 10, 2011 c. 2016 The VSC will open in phases, and the completed structure will open sometime in 2016.[102] Under construction
Liberty Park N/A November 20, 2013 c. 2015 Construction began in November 2013 when the Vehicular Security Center's roof was structurally complete. At last update, in second quarter of 2015, delayed from the previous first quarter of 2015.[102] Under construction
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church N/A October 18, 2014 c. 2017 Construction began with the groundbreaking occurring on October 18, 2014. The structure should be complete by late 2016 or early 2017.[104] Under construction

Six towers, a 9/11 memorial and museum, a mall, a transportation hub, a parking lot, a park, and a church are to eventually occupy the new World Trade Center. As of March 2015, progress on the construction of the redesigned site was as follows:

Constituent structures

In April 2014, with the opening of the 9/11 Museum, temporary fences, used for construction, were removed around the 9/11 Memorial. At the same time, the 9/11 Memorial discontinued the requirement for tickets in order to enter the memorial, not only providing pedestrian access to the future towers, but also a path through the site to the Memorial Plaza and surrounding streets.[73] All construction-related fences in the World Trade Center are expected to be removed with the opening of the final tower sometime in 2015–18.[74]

In early December 2013, Australian retail corporation Westfield announced that it will invest US$800 million for complete control of the retail space at the rebuilt center. Westfield, Australia's largest shopping mall operator, will purchase the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s 50 percent stake in the retail part of the World Trade Center site, increasing its total investment to more than US$1.4 billion.[72]

A report in September 2013 revealed that, at the time of the report, the World Trade Center Association (WTCA) continues to negotiate with the One World Trade Center in regard to the title "World Trade Center", as the WTCA purchased the rights to the name in 1986. The WTCA is seeking free office space in the tower worth US$500,000 in exchange for the use of "World Trade Center" on the One World Trade Center tower and associated souvenirs.[71]

Publisher Condé Nast agreed to move its headquarters to One World Trade Center in 2010, and with this shift, many more tenants were expected to move to the building.[65] As of August 2011, One World Trade Center was at 80 stories with glass up to the 54th floor, Tower Four was up around 38 stories with glass up to the 15th floor, and the former Deutsche Bank Building had been completely dismantled, and the Port Authority was working on their Vehicle Security Center.[66] The World Trade Center Transportation Hub's PATH hall is nearly complete. The memorial officially opened to relatives of the deceased on September 11, 2011, and to the general public on September 12. World Trade Center Tower Three's foundations are becoming visible, and will be completed in mid-2014 if Silverstein Properties can meet requirements set by the Port Authority, as they very likely will.[67][68] By December 2011, Tower Two's foundations were finished and assembly of the frame was started.[69] Because numerous American and Chinese companies were "very interested" in leasing space at the WTC, Two World Trade Center was likely to be finished earlier than expected.[70]

[64] designed Tower Two and masterminded the iconic diamond design, will greatly enhance the street-level atmosphere of the rebuilt site. The projects will be complete between early 2013 to mid-2015 respectively.Foster and Partners, and the famed British architect Norman Foster of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of David Childs, who designed the transit hub, One WTC designer Santiago Calatrava Four renowned architects, including Spanish architect [63] was selected as the architect for the building.Kohn Pedersen Fox and [62]

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