WTC Architect: Collapse 'Unbelievable'

By Michal Meyer and Stuart Winer

JERUSALEM (September 12) - Aaron Swirsky, one of the architects of the World Trade Center, yesterday expressed disbelief on hearing of the collapse of the twin towers. Swirsky told JPostRadio the buildings had been designed with "accidents" in mind.

"The terrorism was different in those days, but there was always the possibility of an accident with a plane hitting the building. The building was designed like a pipe structurally, with the main structure in the perimeter of the building." This meant that a hole in the building would not collapse the whole structure. The fact that the buildings did collapse he described as "incredible."

Swirsky said the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center made a big hole in one building. "The intent was to topple the building, but because of the design it didn't. But now... it is unbelievable." He said the collapse may have been due to the size of the plane, bigger than the architects had ever planned for.

Another missile. Vieques, Puerto Rico
The floors above the crash sites would have been safe, at least at first, said Twirsky. "What is really tragic is the building was designed with each floor as a hermetic unit, as to evacuate a building like that is a nightmare. Imagine you are on the 100th floor and there is no elevator, so each floor is designed to be safe; but when it collapses then that whole theory goes up in smoke."

The buildings had no sprinklers, because each floor could be sealed off from the others in case of a fire. "There are shutters that would shut off the vertical openings (between floors) so that the fire couldn't travel from one floor to the other. That was the theory. When the danger had subsided they could evacuate."

After the planes crashed into the buildings, Swirsky said people in the floors above would have been trapped. They would have been unable to escape. The buildings were not designed to allow for a quick exit in case of emergency. Afterward, those trapped would have fallen with the buildings when they collapsed.


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