The Secrecy-Shrouded Building Holding Giuliani's Command Center
Building 7 was the dark flat-topped 47-story skyscraper immediately north of the World Trade Center super-block, across Vesey Street. Its designation as 7 World Trade Center is somewhat misleading: whereas WTC 1 through 6 surrounded the WTC plaza and were completed in the 1970s, Building 7 was 300 feet from the plaza and its construction did not begun until 1985. 1 It was of an entirely different architectural style than the other six buildings. It was completely destroyed late in the afternoon on September 11th.
Building 7 was privately owned from the beginning, in contrast to the other six buildings, which were publicly owned until the summer of 2001. Building 7 was formerly the headquarters of the junk-bond firm Drexel Burnham Lambert, which contributed to the savings and loans collapse and $500 billion bailout of the latter 1980s.
Emergency Command Center
The 23rd floor of Building 7 had received 15 million dollars' worth of renovations to create an emergency command center for then-Mayor Rudolf Giuliani. The features of the command center include:
- Bullet- and bomb-resistant windows
- An independent, secure air and water supply
- The ability to withstand winds of 200 mph
Building 7 was a 100% steel frame building. Like most modern skyscrapers, it had a series of columns ringing its perimeter, and a bundle of columns in its core structure. Its perimeter columns numbered 58 and its core columns numbered 25, according to the rather vague description provided in FEMA's WTC Building Performance Study. The following figure from the report shows the shape of the building and some details about the structural system. The top four illustrations show the perimeter structure, the middle one shows the footprint, and the bottom three show seven floors of part of the core structure. However, it does not combine views of the core perimeter structure (above) and the core structure (lower portion of below).
2. Giuliani Improvises After Command Center Gets Hit, Washington Technology, 10/08/01 [cached]
3. Terrorism and Anti-Terrorism, Gotham Gazette, 9/12/01 [cached]
4. Divided We Stand, Basic Books, 1990, page 151