iwan baan + james ewing photograph the recently opened 1 WTC by SOM iwan baan + james ewing photograph the recently opened 1 WTC by SOM
nov 05, 2014

iwan baan + james ewing photograph the recently opened 1 WTC by SOM

the first offices have opened for use in the landmark one world trade center tower, designed by architecture office skidmore, owings & merrill. while reaching a height of 1,776 feet at its spire’s peak, the high rise contains 104 stories, of which floors 20 through 44 are now occupied as the headquarters of media and publishing company condé nast.


13 years after the tragic events of 9/11, the occasion marks a key moment in the lineage of the lower manhattan site, re-establishing its potential as a business center. beyond this, the ‘freedom tower’ exists as a striking visual icon in lower manhattan, both along the city’s skyline as well as from the ground level. to document its presence, photographers iwan baan and james ewing have captured various views of the fully formed structure.

SOM one world trade center designboom
the tower reaches an overall height of 1,776 feet at the peak of its spire
image © iwan baan (also main image) / all images courtesy of skidmore, owings & merrill



the tower will continue to be opened in stages within the coming months, with the 102nd-storey observation deck accessible in the spring of 2015. at the moment, only 60 percent of the building has been leased, with tenants also including general services administration and the advertising company kids creative.


the high rise is arguably regarded as the tallest building in the western hemisphere, depending on if its spire is included in the height calculation (1,776 feet). the glass volume is composed of triangular planes with vertices at the corners of its densely-built square plinth below and parapet above (rotated 45 degrees from the base).

SOM one world trade center designboom
the tower’s parapet level is rotated 45 degress with respect to the building’s base
image © iwan baan



the tower’s opening occurs soon after the ground breaking of the santiago calatrava-designed rebuilding of the greek orthodox church destroyed in the wreckage of 9/11. for more info on the st. nicholas national shrine, see designboom’s article here.

SOM one world trade center designboom
the tall and triangulated glass volume re-establishes the site within the lower manhattan skyline
image © iwan baan

SOM one world trade center designboomfloors 20 through 44 are occupied by the headquarters of publishing company condé nast
image © james ewing | OTTO

SOM one world trade center designboomground level views of 1 WTC
images © james ewing | OTTO

SOM one world trade center designboomimage © james ewing | OTTO

SOM one world trade center designboomimage © james ewing | OTTO

SOM one world trade center designboomfloor 102 (of 104 in total) will be used as an observation deck, accessible by spring 2015
image © james ewing | OTTO

SOM one world trade center designboom
the entirely glass façades project varied conditions of transparency and reflectivity at different times of day
images © james ewing | OTTO

SOM one world trade center designboomimage © james ewing | OTTO

SOM one world trade center designboom
the tower rises above the world trade center memorial and pavilion
images © james ewing | OTTO



  • A big name like Iwan Baan won’t make trivial photography any better. You could have left Baan’s photos out of this post and we wouldn’t miss anything. James Ewing’s photos however are great.

    Thomas Geist says:
  • Wow. That is impressive. I’m still torn between the idea of building another tower opposed to simply having the memorial and pavilion. As long as everyone stays safe…

    Eric C Jackson says:
  • Just like the old Parker Vacumatic

    idle_crane says:
  • The damn thing looks lonely.

    lightmaker says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news