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Nova Documentary Review: Engineering Ground Zero

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This coming September 11th, 2011 will mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the New York World Trade Center. Two hijacked planes were crashed into two of the most influential financial buildings during the highest point of the business day, maximizing the potential damage and loss of life. The casualties were unimaginable and the damages too horrific to recall without becoming emotional.

The nation was stunned by these events and additional attacks on that day. It is practically unthinkable that this was a planned and thoughtfully carried out by a diabolical man that, until recently, eluded authorities and continued that mission until his death. It was in the days following September 11, 2001 that we saw the true strength and fortitude of our nation’s most celebrated city and its inhabitants.

Engineering Ground Zero is the newest of the ground-breaking documentaries produced by NOVA and PBS. The film documents what has been a monumental task: the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, the building of the WTC Memorial, and the healing of the physical wound left in the aftermath of 9/11.

This documentary covers the daily uphill struggle to rebuild the center of New York’s financial district with a bold approach to modern design and new security minded construction that will survive any potential issues that could arise. Probing every facet of creation and construction, the film features interviews with architects David Childs and Michael Arad, Chris Ward of the Port Authority, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg as well as the designers, developers, contractors and construction workers that turn the wrenches and lay the foundation for a more secure future.

The construction and connected projects cover 16 acres of ground in Lower Manhattan, which not only encompasses the above-ground structures, but the underground structures, subway and train platforms, basement parking structures, and a new museum planned to commemorate the old World Trade Center and those who perished in the incident. This will be a thriving city within a city, which will be teaming with life. The three focuses of this documentary are “1 WTC” or One World Trade Center, an architectural icon of a building that will be the first of its kind, designed to withstand and natural or man-made event and a beacon of hope to New York and all that live there, much like Lady Liberty in the harbor, it will be a portrait of the people.

The 9/11 memorial, which is to be a sacred structure dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives, including the first responders, the firemen, police and medical personnel who that gave their lives trying to save victims. And although some of the victims, those whose remains were never found or able to be sorted out, their names will be emblazed into the very stone and metal of the fountains and structures that will give tribute to their sacrifice.

In addition to the massive memorial structure and fountains, there are to be trees and flora, giving, growing and sustaining life in the heart of it all.In addition to these two structures will be the new transportation hub, which will route the public transit traffic and massive underground transit system, moving the people of New York on their daily travels to and from work.

Watching this documentary was both moving and inspiring to me. I was born in New York and I have fond memories of the World Trade Center and the area surrounding it. When the attacks happened, I was in California feeling helpless and horrified.  I went home to New York soon after to see the World Trade Center, and was torn apart. I felt an unimaginable loss and thought of what my children will never know. But now, seeing the steps taken to rebuild, what is being built to revive and heal not just a community but a world within and without, to find new hope in what was one a vision of pain, this is a tribute to all of man’s genius and desire to be at peace within himself.

About Joseph Timmons

Writer, Artist and Musician living in California. I like Music, all Music and I have a fondness for the arts. I will write about anything, but I am most prolific when it comes to Music and the Entertainment Arts. I consider myself an admirer of Fashion and Social Events. When out and about, look around, I may be there - I travel around and get in to every party !
  • TimH

    A documentary entitled “Engineering Ground Zero” should have been reviewed by an engineer, who would have explained that concrete is not the same as steel and never will be. Where steel can resist structural forces both in compression and in tension (pulling apart), concrete can only resist structural forces in compression. Since most structural members may be subject to both compression and tension forces, most structural members must include steel. This is why steel rebars are used with concrete, not just give the concrete something to stick to.