By Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — The shining exterior of One World Trade Center will soon be visible for miles around.
The gleaming stainless-steel and glass panels will begin to rise next month to cover the skyscraper, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, the Port Authority said.
The first batch of facade materials, including pieces for the 20th through 24th floors, is already on its way to lower Manhattan. The glass is coming from the manufacturer Viracon of Owaponna, Minn., and the steel pieces are traveling from the main curtain wall contractor, Benson Industries of Portland, Ore., the Port Authority said.
David M. Childs' design for the 1,776-foot tower — which will be the tallest in the city when completed — features eight tall triangles of glass and steel, which grow alternately narrower and wider as they approach the building's peak. Halfway up the tower, the facets of the facade will form a perfect octogon.
"Its overall effect is that of a crystalline form that captures an ever‐evolving display of refracted light," said Childs' firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, in a statement.
"As the sun moves through the sky or we move around the tower, the surfaces appear like a kaleidoscope, and will change throughout the day as light and weather conditions change."
The first 20 stories of the tower, comprising the lobby and mechanical space, will have a more porous, sparkling facade, made of prismatic glass and an aluminum screen.
Steel for tower has reached the 42nd floor and is rising at a rate of one story per week.
The $3.2 billion building is scheduled to open in 2013.