1 WTC’s Bomb-Proof Base Gets a Shiny ‘Green’ Skin

By Aline Reynolds Tribeca Trib

A two-pane panel of glass is hoisted to a corner section of the 1 World Trade Center podium. Carl Glassman, Tribeca Trib

A two-pane panel of glass is hoisted to a corner section of the 1 World Trade Center podium. Carl Glassman, Tribeca Trib

The bunker-like base of 1 World Trade Center is getting a shine.

Each day, more shimmering glass covers are hoisted and fastened onto the building’s 186-foot high podium. More than 2,000 of these “green” panels, each with two sheaths of glass, will make up the tower’s base once it is finished later this year or early next.

The European-made glass, each piece measuring 13 feet 4 inches by two feet, has a special coating that absorbs sunlight while trapping minimal amounts of heat. Once the installation is complete, the glass will form a shiny skin around the protective concrete walls of the base. In early 2011, designers nixed an original plan to use a prismatic glass, deemed too costly, impractical and brittle.

“This [glass] has much more high-end lighting behind it, it’s much more efficient from an energy point of view, and it also has a third dimension to it,” said Steven Plate, the Port Authority’s director of World Trade Center Construction.

The glass panels, arranged at different angles, will be illuminated with energy-efficient lighting that, Plate said, will “make the building sparkle.”

“When people come here,” he added, “they really [will] know that this is probably one of the most special buildings in the world.”

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