No. 66 . 12 September 2001 
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World Trade Center Destroyed

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the world was shocked by horrific attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and by the related attack on the Pentagon in Washington D.C. ArchitectureWeek joins the world in profound sympathy for the victims and their families.

At this writing, the death toll is unknown but will certainly be appallingly high. Over forty thousand people worked in the New York towers, and several thousand probably did not survive the impact, the explosions, the fires, and the subsequent total structural collapses.

ArchitectureWeek will follow the story over the next weeks, months, perhaps years, as the facts of the buildings' architectural and structural vulnerability become more clear. In the meantime, let this be, among many other things, a sober reminder of the importance and fragility of our built infrastructure.

ArchitectureWeek contributing editor Michael J. Crosbie was on a train heading into New York at the time of the attacks. Safe but shaken, he writes:

"The images of buildings burning, exploding, and disappearing replay before my eyes over and over again. Suddenly, within minutes, landmarks on a city skyline vanish. The human carnage is impossible to fathom, sickening to contemplate.

The skyscraper targets in New York City were prominent symbols of our civilization, buildings of American invention that all over the world expressed the spirit of a will to soar above the earth in creations of steel, concrete, and glass. The terrorists chose very carefully. They discerned those skyscrapers as the cathedrals of our age and aimed at their heart."

As we each try to cope with the shock, the disbelief, and the grief, and as emergency response teams move quickly in the massive rescue and recovery effort, let us together move more cautiously to presume guilt and seek vengeance. Only fairness and decency can speak truth to criminal violence.

In this time for standing resolute and courageous as civilized people, fair justice, in due course, on the foundation of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, shall stand also as a cornerstone of our democracy.

Kevin Matthews, Editor in Chief
B.J. Novitski, Managing Editor

Related links:

About the World Trade Center
About the Pentagon
AISC to Investigate World Trade Center Collapse

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