9/11/11: This must-see docu-series reveals the New World Trade Center

It’s nearly ten years since 9/11. As you’d expect, 9/11/11 is going to be all about remembering what happened – but for New Yorkers, a big part of the story is what happens next at the site of the former World Trade Center. This impressive three-hour Discovery documentary has all the answers… and then some.

For several years after 9/11, projects to begin new design and construction from Ground Zero infamously faced one setback after another. But that’s not what this is about. A ton of progress has since been made, and this series, entitled Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero, follows the enormous project as it’s progressed rapidly over the last couple of years or so.

“The new WTC1 is packed full of symbolic design that echoes the previous buildings but radiates strength, literally and metaphorically”

The documentary has been broadcast in three parts, a few days ago on the Discovery channel. The first focuses on the beautiful new World Trade Center 1 (formerly known as the Freedom Tower), the flagship building of the new site which now has reached an important completion milestone in time for the 9/11/11 ceremonies this Sunday. The second episode continues the story, focusing on some of the extreme challenges the project has faced, while the third is an intimate look at the memorial museum that’s been worked on behind the scenes – a collection of moving items that have now returned to the WTC site to tell the story of what happened – and the iconic building that houses it.

So many things about this new World Trade Center I find fascinating. The new WTC1 is packed full of symbolic design that echoes the previous buildings but radiates strength, literally and metaphorically; the memorial site where the two towers previously stood and the museum are truly beautiful and fitting – so much thought has gone into every last detail of this stuff by some very impressive, very deeply emotionally involved people and the final result is going to be nothing short of majestic.

The quality of CG that shows that “final vision” (complete with several additional, unique WTC buildings, around 2014) is great, but the work that has been completed to date is now tangible and what makes the documentary so poignant are the stories, motivations and determination of the thousands of people taking part in the project. They’ve raced to get as far as they can in time for the 10 year mark, and you can’t help but be inspired by their pride.

Fittingly, the series is timed to avoid the negative and focus only on the positive WTC developments

Tucked away in the end credits you’ll see that the programme is directed by Steven Spielberg, and you may recognise the narrative from Ed Harris. They have really gone for it with this one in terms of exclusive access to the project and production values, and anyone who’s interested in engineering, architecture, New York or the emotion that’s connected to anything related to 9/11 absolutely needs to watch these programmes. They aired a few days ago in the US and apparently air this week in the UK. Some preview videos and clips can be found at Discovery’s site, however, since they are broadcast ad-free, and considering the spirit of the occasion, I don’t feel bad linking off-site where people are more than happy to let you download all three shows in high quality via BitTorrent.

This isn’t all that’s going on in terms of must-see 9/11 documentaries either.

National Geographic has put out some interesting stuff, including a comprehensive interview with George W. Bush about his account of the events of that day:

(And please – no 9/11 conspiracy theory bullshit welcome here!)

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