Foster Redesigning 2 WTC

John Hill
14. September 2021
The site of 2 World Trade Center features services for the PATH trains and construction fencing covered in art. (Photo: John Hill/World/Architects)

The Commercial Observer is reporting that Foster + Partners is working on a new design for 2 World Trade Center, the office tower they were commissioned for but then lost to BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group.

The 80-story tower at 2 WTC is the last major piece still to be determined at the World Trade Center development, with the numbered 1, 3, and 4 towers already done and occupied at or near 100%. Norman Foster's firm was hired in 2005 to design the tower opposite the northeast corner of the 9/11 Memorial; appropriately, the design featured four sections cut at an angle at the tower's apex, "turning the corner" from the shorter 3 WTC to One World Trade Center and its symbolic 1,776-foot spire. 

But in 2015 Foster's scheme was shelved in favor of a boxy design by BIG that was tailored to 21st Century Fox Inc. and News Corp. The two Rupert Murdoch-owned companies decided to stay in Midtown rather than moving to 2 WTC, leading Silverstein Properties to bring Foster back on board in 2020. Yet even with that news dropping in January 2020, the wtc.com website, run by Silverstein Properties, still uses images by BIG to represent 2 WTC:

Screenshot of Silverstein Properties' wtc.com website showing web page for 2 World Trade Center, taken on September 14, 2021.

Last week's article at the Commercial Observer, which we didn't see before our WTC at 20 article, cements Foster's status as architect of 2 WTC, with partner David Summerfield confirming that "we are working with Larry Silverstein and the Silverstein organization on a new design for the building." Furthermore, Jeremy Moss from Silverstein Properties said, "we will have commitments to the building" that will enable construction to start within the next six to twelve months. The article also asserts that "companies from both the technology and finance industries have expressed enthusiasm" in the forthcoming tower, but no companies are named. 

It remains to be seen, obviously, what form Foster + Partners' redesigned 2 WTC will take: if it will resemble, in any way, the firm's original design, and/or if it will feature larger floor plates, which were a defining feature of BIG's scheme targeted toward media companies. Whatever the design, the tower's 80 floors will need to land upon the foundation for Foster's first scheme, which was constructed when work was done on the adjacent PATH terminal and other underground components of the WTC site.

Site plan of Foster + Partner's 2 WTC, pre-2015, showing tower directly north of PATH Transportation HUB (Image: Courtesy of Silverstein Properties)

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