Yamasaki’s towers once graced the New York skyline. They were one of the most famous structures of the Big Apple and even the world. More commonly called, the “Twin Towers,” I will call them “Yamasaki’s Towers” because Minoru Yamasaki was the lead architect who designed the World Trade Center. What a wonder the Twin Towers truly were!
Not only were Yamasaki’s towers a large business complex, they were also a major tourist attraction. There were 140,000 tourists who visited the World Trade Center every year. With a vast amount of office space, there were 50,000 people who worked at the Twin Towers. The World Trade Center was so huge that it even contained its own zip code, 10045.
As the tallest skyscrapers in Manhattan, the Twin Towers outshined all the other buildings in New York. Yamasaki’s dreams were big just like the Twin Towers that he built. Yamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants, worked very hard to make his dreams come true.
When Yamasaki attended the University of Washington, where he was enrolled in an architectural program, he worked his way through college in a salmon cannery. Yamasaki graduated from the University of Washington, with a Bachelor of Architecture, in 1934.
After Yamasaki graduated from college, he moved to Manhattan and found work wrapping dishes for an importing company. Even though he had a rough start, Yamasaki eventually found work, closer to his field, working as a draftsman and engineer. When he enrolled in New York University, for a master’s degree in architecture, Yamasaki acquired a job with the architectural firm Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, the firm that designed the iconic Empire State Building.
Working at Shreve, Lamb & Harmon as well as in Smith, Hinchman & Grills helped him become a professional architect with vast experience. In 1949, he began his own partnership, Yamasaki & Associates, Inc. Working from Birmingham and Troy Michigan, one of the first projects that he designed, at his own firm, was Ruhl’s Bakery at 7 Mile Road and Monica Street in Detroit.
Eventually, Yamasaki left his mark in the architectural world designing many structures including the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, which he created in 1955. The project that would make Yamasaki one of the most well-known architects in the world was the creation of the Twin Towers.
Construction of the World Trade Center began on March 21, 1966. The first tower was completed in 1970. Emery Roth and Sons were the associate architects who helped design the Twin Towers. The entire project of the World Trade Center was finally completed in 1973, and the Twin Towers added magic to the New York skyline.
When the Twin Towers opened to the public on April 4, 1973, they had modern features that many other buildings did not have. They had fastest elevators of the time that ran at 1,700 feet per minute. The World Trade Center also had a sky lobby system that saved plenty of space.
Way ahead of their time, the Twin Towers captured the spirit of Manhattan like no other buildings ever could. Looking so powerful in pictures, I always saw the Twin Towers as a symbol of hope that your biggest dreams can actually come true. The height of the towers represented the amount of work and sacrifice that it would take to turn your dreams into reality.
Yamasaki’s towers looked so strong that they could last to posterity, but they were destroyed on September 11, 2001 as a result of the 911 attacks. Yamasaki never saw his masterpiece crumble to pieces, for he passed away 15 years before the disaster. If he would have been alive, it certainly would have been devastating for him. Architects have a vision of building to make the world a better place. They only accept the destruction from the hands of Mother Nature, not man.
As we observe the 20th anniversary of Patriot Day we still mourn for all the victims of the disaster and for the Twin Towers, which will always be a symbol of our nation. Even though they were destroyed, we will always have a connection to the World Trade Center. Yamasaki’s towers will forever stand tall in our history and never fall.
Not only has the history of the Twin Towers been recorded in books, it has also been recorded in many movies where they appear as backdrops or cutaways. After the 911 attacks, we all see these movies differently because a part of the heart of Manhattan is gone forever.
During the opening credits of the film, Saturday Night Fever, we see the Twin Towers and in many other scenes throughout the movie as well. When the song, “How Deep Is Your Love,” plays in this film, with the backdrop of the World Trade Center, we realize that these buildings were more than just tall skyscrapers. As Americans, we had such a deep connection to them that our hearts can rebuild them once again.