Brookfield Place (formerly known as World Financial Center) is a complex of four postmodern buildings designed by Cesar Pelli. The highlight of the complex is a large atrium that boasts a winter garden with palm trees.
Situated in Battery Park City, just across the street from the site of the former World Trade Center towers, Brookfield place was built between 1985 and 1988 as the World Financial Center. Designed by Cesar Pelli and overlooking the Hudson River, the center was built on the same landfill that was used to construct the rest of Battery Park City. The landfill included dirt excavated from the site of the World Trade Center, which was cleared to make room for the towers.
The center consists of four towers. These buildings are considered post-Modernist because they combine new ideas with traditional forms. The polished granite-and-glass towers are each topped with a specific geometrically-shaped crown, which are said to identify the owners of the buildings. (i.e. dome for Merrill Lynch, solid pyramid for American Express) The lobbies are fashioned from shiny black marble and feature tall columns.
200 Liberty Street (formerly One World Financial Center) stands 577 feet tall (176 m.) and 40 stories high. It boasts more than 1.5 million square feet of leasable office space. This southernmost tower is connected to the rest of the complex through a pedestrian bridge that crosses over Liberty Street. Dow Jones and Co. makes their headquarters here at the first tower.
225 Liberty Street (formerly Two World Financial Center), dubbed the ‘South Tower’ is, at 44 stories and a height of 645 feet (197 m.), the second tallest of the buildings in Brookfield Place. Its domed roof is especially attractive. The building has 2.5 million square feet of rentable office space housing companies like Merrill Lynch, Commerzbank, and Deloitte.
200 Vesey Street (formerly Three World Financial Center) is the tallest of all the buildings, at 739 feet in height (225 m) and 51 stories tall. American Express occupies a sizeable portion of this building and owns it as well.
In contrast, 250 Vesey Street (formerly Four World Financial Center and now also known as the North Tower) is the smallest, featuring 34 floors and reaching a height of 500 feet (152 m). The entire building is occupied by Merrill Lynch and serves as its world headquarters.
The Winter Garden
Not to be confused with the Broadway theater of the same name, The Winter Garden is a glass-domed pavilion that sits between the two tallest buildings of Brookfield Place. Built in 1988 this large atrium includes “2,000 panes of glass, sixteen 40-foot tall Washington palm trees, and 60,000 square feet of tricolor Italian marble”.
The Winter Garden is an impressive 200 ft. long, 120 ft. wide and 125 ft. high (61 x 37 x 38 m.). Its westward-facing glass wall provides an unobstructed view of Ground Zero.
In an effort to promote the arts, Brookfield Place hosts a number of arts-related events at the Winter Garden. Showcasing both visual and performing arts, the center places an emphasis on “commissioned works, site-specific installations and premieres”.
Because of its proximity to the World Trade Center, much of Brookfield Place – including the Winter Garden – was damaged extensively on September 11, 2001.