It’s pretty impressive when a bro takes a picture of his face every day for 16 years and posts a time-lapse video online. These occasional tours through every permutation of regrettable facial hair, though, lack the kind of back story that makes a time lapse of One World Trade Center more than a mere technical marvel.
Marking the opening of One World Observatory, a lookout post on floors 100-102 of the new World Trade Center, EarthCam has released a sweeping video of the building’s 11-year construction. Although many people wanted a speedier build-up, as a rebuke to those who destroyed the building in the first place, the project got bogged down in delays, design reconfigurations, budget disputes, and lawsuits. It took almost a year and a half after 9/11 before the city even decided on a rebuilding plan, and then construction finally got underway in October of 2004. Now, 11 years later, this video condenses that slow, steady progress into a two-minute salute to rebuilding.
Corresponding with the delays, the first quarter of the video is devoted to ground-level toil on the surrounding area and building the foundation. As the video goes on, the World Trade Center takes shape as a skyscraper and inches ever upward, blank spaces becoming windows like dominos falling over. It’s a triumph of ingenuity that makes one appreciate all the effort that goes into any massive construction–let alone one fraught with so much symbolic baggage.