There have been two buildings in New York City named 7 World Trade Center. The first building, which opened in 1987, was destroyed on September 11, 2001. The newer building was completed in 2006 and it is the first with a World Trade Center address to have been rebuilt.
Construction of the new 7 World Trade Center began in 2002, and was completed in 2006 at a cost of $700 million. The 52-story building is is 750 feet (228 m) tall, and contains 1,700,000 square feet (158 000 m²) of leasable office space starting from the 11th floor. The first ten floors will house an electrical substation which will power most of Lower Manhattan. The office tower has a narrower footprint at ground level than its predecessor (as the course of Greenwich Street has been restored in an effort to re-unite Tribeca and the Financial District).
The architect was David Childs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill who worked in conjunction with glass artist and designer James Carpenter. They used ultra-clear, low-iron glass to provide reflectivity and light, with stainless-steel spandrels behind the glass that also help reflect sunlight. Artist Jenny Holzer created a large light installation inside the main lobby with glowing text moving across wide plastic panels. The entire wall is about 30 meters wide by 7 meters tall and changes colors, according to the time of day.
The building has 2 foot (60 cm) thick reinforced concrete and fireproofed elevator and stairway access shafts, whereas the original building used only drywall to line these shafts. The stairways are wider than in the original building to permit greater egress. Steel columns are encased in much thicker fire protection and the building is being promoted as the safest skyscraper in the U.S. According to Silverstein Properties, the owner of the building, it "will incorporate a host of life-safety enhancements that will become the prototype for new high-rise construction..."
7 World Trade Center is equipped with destination elevators, supplied by the Otis Elevator Company. After entering their floor destination in a lobby keypad, people are grouped together and directed to specific elevators that will stop at their particular floor. There are no buttons to press inside the elevators. This system is designed to reduce waiting and travel times on the elevators.
The building is considered New York City's first "green" office tower by gaining gold status in the US Green Building Council's LEED program. Rainwater is collected and used for irrigation of the park, and to cool the building, and recycled steel was used in the building's construction.
The triangular park was created by David Childs with Ken Smith and his colleague Annie Weinmayr of Ken Smith Landscape Architect, and is situated between the now extended Greenwich Street and West Broadway. It consists of a central open plaza with a fountain and flanking groves of trees and shrubs. As the seasons change, so will the colors in the park, providing a soothing natural complement to the adjacent tower. Artist Jeff Koons created Balloon Flower (Red), the sculpture in the center of the fountain. The mirror-polished stainless steel sculpture represents a twisted balloon in the shape of a flower that has been enlarged to monumental scale.
Building Seven was not included in the original World Trade Center master plan by Daniel Libeskind, but was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill under the leadership of David Childs, who largely redesigned the Freedom Tower.
The building was officially opened at noon on May 23, 2006 with a free concert sponsored by Larry Silverstein. The concert featured Suzanne Vega, Citizen Cope, Bill Ware Vibes, Brazilian Girls, Ollabelle, Pharaoh's Daughter, Ronan Tynan of the Irish Tenors, and special guest Lou Reed.
From September 8 to October 7, 2006, the work of photographer Jonathan Hyman was on exhibit in 7 World Trade Center, on the 45th floor. The exhibit, "An American Landscape", was hosted by the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. The photographs captured the response of people in New York City and across the United States following the September 11, 2001 attacks. At the time of the exhibit, the 45th floor was a large, empty concrete space, which will eventually be turned into offices. From the 45th floor, visitors could also see 360 degree views of Lower Manhattan, Midtown Manhattan, the Hudson River, Brooklyn Bridge, and a view of the World Trade Center site