Posted on 12 February 2003
"Today, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center stand only in our memory, an image that calls to mind sorrow and loss. But during the years that they straddled the skyline, they were more than just office buildings. They were symbols of America", Gillespie explains.
Completed in 1976, the Twin Towers were, at the time, the tallest man-made structure in New York City. What went on before the ground was even broken is a fascinating story in itself. Gillespie will explain the political manoeuvering that was necessary for the co-sponsor, the State of New Jersey, to agree to situate the project across the river in New York. He will present portraits of the engineers, architects, politicians, and contractors who proudly and ambitiously dreamt, designed, and built the World Trade Center.
He will explain how engineers prepared the site and solved complex problems in order to erect the towers, each with 110 stories. And he discusses the contrast between the architectural community's almost universal disdain and the public's enthusiastic acceptance of the building as a symbol of New York.
"To the crowds of tourists who visited daily, it was a man-made wonder with a breathtaking view," Gillespie says, "some people considered the building a symbol of arrogance; for others, it was a prestigious corporate address. For daredevil, George Willig, it was a challenge to be climbed. For Hollywood, it was the perfect location for a remake of King Kong."
Finally, Gillespie will tell the story of the demise of the building on September 11, 2001, followed by an account of the efforts to remove the rubble and to construct an appropriate memorial within a new complex, the shape of which is yet to be decided.