Hettema Group's One World Observatory opens to the public

New York’s One World Trade Center has cut the ribbon on the Hettema Group-designed One World Observatory, allowing visitors to venture to the very top of the western-hemisphere’s tallest skyscraper.

The “entertainment experience” – managed by Legends Hospitality – is comprised of a 120,000sq ft (11,148sq m) observation deck at the top of the US$3.9bn (€3.6bn, £2.6bn) Skidmore, Owings and Merrill-designed (SOM) tower, along with an accompanying ground-floor experience.

On entering the building, guests walk along a multi-sensory passageway which details the story of the new World Trade Center’s construction. The walkway features soundbites, along with messages incorporating historical facts and statistics about the building's structure and foundations.

From there they ascend in five glass elevators, which go up 1,268 ft (386.5 m) to the 1,792 ft (546.2 m) tower’s top floor. The “Skypod” elevators give riders the virtual experience of being outside of the building, with New York seemingly rising up from the ground from its foundations in the 1600s as they make the 60 second climb.

The attraction also includes a selection of multi-media exhibits, presenting One World Trade Center as a “global nexus of 21st-century commerce, culture and community, set in the heart of the most dynamic international city in the world”. Included on the observation deck are several dining options, a gift shop, a 9,300sq ft (864sq m) space for special events and the “See Forever” theatre, where visitors will learn about the construction of the building. The observatory also features the Sky Portal where guests can step onto a 14-foot wide circular disc that will deliver a real-time, high-definition view of the streets below.

Speaking to CLAD a Hettema spokesperson said that from the start, the goal was not to focus on 9/11, rather the future and the vibrancy and resiliency of New York City. The tower itself was constructed by Tishman Realty & Construction – the firm that built the original World Trade Centers destroyed in the 9/11 attacks.

SOM’s design uses the sun to create a kaleidoscope effect on the building’s exterior, with the varied outer glass surfaces changing appearance depending on light and weather conditions. Development of the One World Observatory on floors 100-102 started in early 2014 and is expected to welcome millions of visitors each year.

The building, which is largely office space, welcomed its first tenants – Condé Nast – in November 2014, 13 years after the terror attacks destroyed both World Trade Centers.

Related stories
09 Apr 2015

One World Observatory to be unveiled at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill-designed One World Trade Center

04 Apr 2013

New York's One World Trade Center previews observation deck attraction

New York’s One World Trade Center has cut the ribbon on the Hettema Group-designed One World Observatory, allowing visitors to venture to the very top of the western-hemisphere’s tallest skyscraper. The “entertainment experience” – managed by Legends Hospitality – is comprised of a 120,000sq ft (11,148sq m) observation deck at the top of the US$3.9bn (€3.6bn, £2.6bn) Skidmore, Owings and Merrill-designed (SOM) tower, along with an accompanying ground-floor experience. On
The One World Observatory sits at the very top of New York's skyline / One World Trade Center
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