In the aftermath of 9/11, New York City allowed for a new tower to be constructed at Ground Zero. Ten years later, One World Trade Center is nearly complete. Called the Freedom Tower, or simply 1 WTC, it will stand taller than anything in New York when completed and take the title of America’s tallest building. It’s also the most technologically advanced tower in the world, a vertical city with its own electricity and water supply.
Its construction is no small feat. It took eight years to build the Empire State Building in less than half that time and it came with far less manageable boundaries. At One World Trade Center, thousands of engineers and architects had to work around subway lines, a massive electrical substation, and the enormous slurry wall that holds back the Hudson River.
To document it all, there is Brian Morgan, whose career as an architect was derailed when he chose to photograph construction of 1 WTC instead. He has captured more than 10 years of the tower’s history in photographs—some seen here for the first time—and has put together a book, Under The Wire: Freedom Tower, New York.
The book, a collection of Morgan’s work and commentary by journalist Tom Shachtman, is more than just an inside look at the skyscraper. It also captures the spirit of New York City in the 21st century. The tower frames views that once held the Twin Towers and its pictures reveal more about what was lost on September 11 than any history book, documentary or Hollywood movie ever could.
The new World Trade Center isn’t completely finished yet. The observatory is set to open in 2015 and the whole building by early 2016. Until then, we can rely on Morgan’s photographs to see it all unfold as it happens—the enormous cranes swinging steel beams into place, workers laboring on concrete so high up, and a decade of New York City’s skyline evolving before our eyes.