Skidmore, Owings & Merrill have revealed detailed refinements made to the Freedom Tower design, bringing to a close the design development phase of the World Trade Center’s most iconic building. The refinements build upon the conceptual designs that were unveiled last year and provide a much greater level of detail with regard to critical design elements including: the prismatic glass cladding for the tower’s reinforced base, the antenna at the top, the white glass curtain wall and the generous allotment of open spaces and landscaping for public use. The Freedom Tower is designed to facilitate emergency response with enhanced emergency communication cables, together with a dedicated stair for use by firefighters. These are used in conjunction with enhanced elevators housed in a protected central building core that serve every floor of the building. In addition, “areas of refuge” are located on each floor.Freedom Tower architect David Childs said “Our design team has spent the past year refining the concept we unveiled in June 2005. The result is an open, welcoming building that both radiates light and is filled with light, we think we have achieved our goal of creating a great urban place -- a building that serves the people who work in it, welcomes those who visit it, and plays an integral and vibrant role in the city that surrounds it.”Construction on below-ground utility relocations, footings, and foundations for the Freedom Tower started in April 2006 and it is projected that steel for the building will be visible above grade in 2008, with a topping out in 2010. The building is projected to be ready for occupancy in 2011.