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4 World Trade Center opens for business

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Provided by Networx.com

It's an auspicious day for New York City today, with a ribbon cutting for 4 World Trade Center, the first of the buildings in the new World Trade Center complex to open for business. Although the LEED-certified building is intended for use as private offices and retail spaces, its 57th floor with sweeping views of the city will be available for event rentals -- not doubt for a pretty penny!

The formal arrival of 4 World Trade Center marks an important moment for New York City, which has been pushing forward on recovery from the terrorist attacks that gutted Lower Manhattan on 11 September, 2001. As the World Trade Center complex begins to come together with innovative, striking, and defiant architecture, the city is projecting a clear message to the nation and the world: it's remaining at the heart of business, culture, and society in America.

While commercial buildings lie outside our usual interest in home improvement topics, 4 World Trade center occupies a unique place in our hearts; not least because many of the Networx team members hail from New York and it's a special moment for them. And because this building represents some very innovative New York construction and design, as the city was heavily invested in both recovery and looking to the future with green, ecologically-friendly design that would show it's possible to build commercial buildings with the best interests of the environment in mind.

Designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, the building doesn't have the flash of Freedom Tower, but its quieter, more restrained aesthetic is still striking, and Maki has done an excellent job of integrating indoor and outdoor space. He was sensitive to the fact that the World Trade Center Memorial is very close to 4 World Trade Center. For this reason, he maintained a seamlessly somber, reflective design within the entry to and lobby of the building, transitioning to an interior with rich views of the surrounding trees and blue skies (on sunny days) to create a tranquil and elegant space.

How did the building earn the coveted LEED Gold certification? A number of measures, including the use of rainwater collection and low-flow fixtures, insulated floor-to-ceiling glass, highly efficient heating and cooling systems, smarter elevators, and a committment to using renewable sources for the building's energy needs. Those windows, by the way, offer unparalleled natural light and a gorgeous view of the city, cutting down on the need for lighting and creating a more open, beautiful workspace.

Cleaning materials used throughout the building are environmentally friendly and the air conditioning system does not use ozone-depleting chemicals. Workers and visitors to the building are encouraged to help out the environment with a parking program that gives priority spaces to eco-friendly vehicles, and construction crews even thought about the environment while building with a low-emissions program to keep their neighbors comfortable.

You can see a two minute timelapse video of 4 World Trade Center under construction here, showing how it went from shattered earth to glass-clad beauty.

While researching this article, I found a historic photo of the original World Trade Center under construction. It was a strangely emotional moment for me, and I thought I'd share it with you:

This image was taken from New Jersey, and as you can see, only one of the Twin Towers had an antenna at this stage of construction. It's still jarring to see the New York skyline without these familiar structures, but today marks an important moment in New York's journey towards a new skyline, and a new life.

Congratulations, New York!

Katie Marks writes for Networx.com.

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