September 11th, 2001 changed the face of the world forever, as the terrorist attacks that caused the collapse of the World Trade Centre’s twin towers in New York brought with them a climate of fear and international tension that was to last throughout the decade
It was Bovis Lend Lease that eventually took control of the clean up at the site, now known as Ground Zero. Daniel Libeskind won the design competition for the new World Trade Center with his “needle skyscraper” design. This later became the Freedom Tower after Libeskind’s vision was redesigned by World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein and Skidmore Owings & Merrill, as the entire project started to resemble the narrative of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.
Building design in the UK and elsewhere came under the microscope amid fears of chemical attacks by terror groups. Core Cities, a national group of building control officers hastily established to scrutinise high-profile buildings vulnerability to terrorist attacks, recommended fitting showers in the City of Manchester stadium to cleanse Commonwealth Games spectators in the event of a chemical attack.
Rodney Burrows, Core Cities’ chair, explained: “The fire service does not have the capacity to hose down vast amounts of people, so one idea is to install shower units to decontaminate people.”
Stadium design remained in the headlines after local authorities said football supporters would be prevented from leaving a stadium in the event of a terrorist attack using biological weapons. Later, the Metropolitan police were called into the Wembley stadium site to check that explosives hadn’t been hidden in the foundations, as security concerns around high-profile buildings intensified.
On the international stage, the “war on terror” moved to Iraq as America and Britain led the “shock and awe” with a massive bombing onslaught on Baghdad. Saddam Hussein’s statute was memorably toppled in a momentarily iconic image, soon superseded by other more somber ones chronicling the chaos and violence that the invasion unleashed.
The bloody quagmire that the West found itself in left UK contractors reluctant to get involved in lucrative Iraq reconstruction contracts, because of fears the country would be too dangerous for their personnel. It didn’t matter – US firm Halliburton got most of them anyway. It later found itself under criminal investigation from the FBI, the US Justice Department and the Pentagon’s inspector general over accusations that it and its KBR subsidiary received special treatment for Iraqi reconstruction contracts because of their links to vice president and former Halliburton boss Dick Cheney.
Review of the Decade 2000-2009
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The world after 9/11