Skip to content

Freedom Tower Security to Be Overhauled

Amid concerns by New York police that the Freedom Tower, as originally designed and approved, was vulnerable to vehicle bombs, the site’s landlord and developer have sent the structure’s plans back to the architects to incorporate more security features.

New security plans for the tower are still in development, but when completed, they will represent a “new paradigm for supertall buildings,” says Carl Galioto, a partner at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the firm designing the building.

Original plans called for a standoff distance of 25 feet around the property, but the building will now be built 90 feet from an adjacent street. Other features that will receive a “substantially increased level” of security, notes Galioto, are Freedom Tower’s structural support system and window glazing.

Some core security elements won’t change, says Galioto. Specifically, Freedom Tower will have “a core within the building core” that will encase the buildings’ elevators and wider stairways in concrete. Designed to function independently of the main building controls, the core will contain its own emergency power source, telephone room, and electric closet.

Firefighters will have access to a special elevator dedicated to evacuating handicapped, ill, and injured persons and others with any level of limited mobility. All elevators will be pressurized to withstand smoke, and elevator equipment will be designed to withstand water. The core will also feature an extra stairwell reserved for use by emergency responders.