yamasaki architects


The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency in Riyadh by Minoru Yamasaki in 1981. The architect, already known to blend Islamic forms with concrete in his Saudi projects, creates this as the pinnacle of his work in the Kingdom. The travertine and bronze clad façade shroud an introversive atrium that reflects an unknown paradise. The atrium regulates climate and creates a quiet, contemplative atmosphere that is shielded from the loud and sweltering air of the exterior. In addition it tames the harsh sunlight and gently allows it to enter through its skylights. The hallways around the it feature verandas formed by elegant, graceful travertine screens that turn the hard material into a lace-like substance. The manipulation of these qualities makes this a flawless example of the modernization of Islamic architecture. 

The dedication of the original World Trade Center took place on April 4, 1973. A ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the completion of the Twin Towers’ construction.

At 110 stories each, 1 WTC, or the North Tower, and 2 WTC, the South Tower, provided nearly 10 million square feet of office space. Reaching over a quarter of a mile into the sky, they were the tallest buildings in NYC, and for a brief period, they were the tallest buildings in the world. As of 2001, the WTC housed more than 430 businesses from 28 different countries — roughly 50,000 workers. It attracted tens of thousands of tourists and commuters every day.

Minoru Yamasaki, the architect who designed the original WTC, said that the WTC “should, because of its importance, become a living representation of man’s belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, his beliefs in the cooperation of men, and through cooperation, his ability to find greatness.”

Photo taken by Fernando Zaccaria

Had you been to the original Twin Towers? What do you remember most about them?