One World Trade Center

Financial District & Lower Manhattan

Home to One World Observatory – New York's highest observation deck – the 94-story One World Trade Center is architect David M Childs' redesign of Daniel Libeskind's original 2002 concept. Besides being the loftiest building in America, this tapered giant is currently the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, not to mention the sixth tallest in the world by pinnacle height. The tower soars skywards with chamfered edges, resulting in a facade of isosceles triangles that, seen from the base, seem to rise forever.

Crowning the structure is a 408ft cable-stayed spire. Co-designed by sculptor Kenneth Snelson, it brings the building's total height to 1776ft, a symbolic reference to the year of American independence. Indeed, symbolism was infused into other aspects of the building's design: the tower's footprint is equal in size to those of the individual Twin Towers, and the height of the observation decks matches that of the former one. Unlike the original towers, however, One WTC was built with a whole new level of safety in mind: its precautionary features include a 200ft-high blast-resistant base (clad in more than 2000 pieces of glimmering prismatic glass) and 3ft-thick concrete walls encasing all elevators, stairwells, and communication and safety systems.

One thing that wasn't foreseen by the architects and engineers, however, was the antenna's noisy disposition – the strong winds that race through its lattice design produce a haunting, howling sound known to keep some local residents up at night.