Each trident will stand around 70 feet tall and weigh approximately 100,000
Two iconic pieces of the former Twin Towers are now back at the World Trade Center site, where the National September 11 Memorial and Museum pavilion will be built around them.
The steel “tridents” formed the perimeter structure of the lower floors of the towers, and were removed during the recovery effort in 2001 and 2002. They were reinstalled by crews from the Port Authority and the National 9/11 Memorial on September 7, 2010. They now stand in their permanent location at the Memorial Museum -- to be visible from the public plaza through the museum’s glass atrium.
Click here to view a slide show of recent WTC rebuilding photos.
Each trident is actually two separate pieces -- a top and a bottom piece -- that are being reconnected for installation in the museum. Once installation is complete, each trident will stand around 70 feet tall and weigh approximately 100,000 pounds, with their bases one level below ground level. They will remain wrapped in a white covering to protect them during construction.
Referred to originally as “trees,” these seven-story steel structures once formed the distinctive Gothic arch motif at the base of the two skyscrapers. The forked steel columns rose from the base of the towers embedded at bedrock, branching from one column into three at the sixth floor. The three columns then ascended to the top of the Twin Towers, around 1,100 feet above.
The two tridents returning to the WTC site were originally located next to each other on the eastern façade of the north tower. A third and smaller trident fragment is being planned for display in the historical exhibition, in an area focusing on the rescue and recovery operations at the WTC site.
Until the Twin Towers were built, most skyscrapers were supported by a strong inner “core” of steel columns. In contrast, the outer walls (or “curtain wall”) of the towers actually bore the weight of the building, freeing the interior from support columns and creating the maximum amount of rentable space.
“Standing sentry in the Museum pavilion, the tridents will serve as beacons for visitors to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum,” said 9/11 Memorial Museum Director Alice Greenwald. “We looked at a number of different artifacts to install within the pavilion, but the tridents seemed most fitting because they epitomize the buildings while also conveying the spirit of fortitude that characterized the response to the attacks.”
In the months to come, additional WTC artifacts will return to the site, including a section of the North Tower’s antenna and a fire truck that responded on 9/11.
Two weeks ago, the sixteen of nearly 400 swamp white oak trees were planted on the Memorial plaza, marking a major construction milestone at the site on the way to a public opening by September 11, 2011.
Construction also continues to make swift progress elsewhere at the Memorial site, with granite panels that line the giant twin reflecting pools nearly complete. Interior stairwells, mechanical and plumbing systems, and pavilion steel also are making steady progress.
Click here to view a 3D Google Earth rendering of the Memorial site.