By Matt Chaban New York Daily News
Think of 4 World Trade Center as the memorial to the memorial.
“We wanted to create something quiet and dignified,” Gary Kamemoto said of Japanese master architect Fumihiko Maki’s geometric design for the 978-foot tower that opens on 11/12/13.
“It shouldn’t look like an office building, it should look more abstract and ephemeral.” The quiet stature Maki sought engulfs you as you step into the lobby.
Ten-foot-high panes of invisible glass are all that separate the space from the National September 11 Memorial just across Greenwich St., which will soon reopen to traffic for the first time since it was incorporated into the 16-acre World Trade Center superblock.
“That’s something you haven’t seen in 50 years,” said Kamemoto, who is Maki’s international project director.
The memorial to America’s 9/11 dead haunts the space, reflected in the monolith wall clad in Swedish black granite, flecked with bits of aluminum.
“Sky Memory,” a titanium sculpture, cantilevers over the 46-foot-high room, like a swooping Erector set 154-feet long.
“In the granite, it forms a zero, the Japanese symbol for rebirth,” Kamemoto said.
And with the hyper-reflective glass of the tower, it is possible to see the Statue of Liberty in some spots while looking north.
Overall, it’s a fitting symbol of Ground Zero’s rebirth.
Upstairs are breathtaking views of the 16-acre site. Located on the southeastern corner, 4 World Trade was angled to pay deference to the memorial. It also has straight on views of the harbor, a half-dozen bridges, and Governors, Liberty and Ellis islands.
Towers 2 and 3 will some day block views to the north, but for now, 4 World Trade offers the opportunity to look down on landmarks such as the Woolworth Building, the Municipal Building, Frank Gehry’s new apartment tower and, in the distance, the Empire State Building.
And of course 1 World Trade — once called the Freedom Tower — looms large to the left.
For Kamemoto, the building seems like something from another world.
“We’ve been talking about this building for so long, it’s nice to finally be touring it, instead,” he said.