Ground zero ten years on: a contractor's perspective..
In 2001 I found myself in New York, just two weeks after the 9/11 attacks.
To be honest, my wife and I agonised over whether we should go. Although it was part of a long-planned holiday, we felt slightly uncomfortable; It didn't seem appropriate somehow, almost ghoulish.
However, we were persuaded after we rang our hotel and they told us they were "desperate" for tourists to return to New York. Mayor Giuliani's impassioned speeches urging visitors to support the city, and not let terrorism win, also helped sway our decision.
For a couple of days we deliberately avoided Ground Zero. But, as those of you who have visited the Big Apple will know, the city is smaller than you think and whilst we were in a taxi, en route to the Staten Island ferry, we stumbled across the site.
I was a little shocked by the number of people surveying the debris - their curiosity seemed morbid to me. Many were taking photographs and videos of what was, to all intents and purposes, a living cemetery. I thought it unnecessary: the images of the still-smoking ruins of the Twin Towers, and the neighbouring buildings, inches thick in dust, will be etched on my memory forever.
We are now a decade on from the atrocity.
Whilst there remains a hole in what must be the world's most recognisable skyline, work has commenced on the site.
A who's who of global architects, including our very own Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, have been marshalled to build six office towers - including the tallest dedicated office building in the world - a memorial, a national 9/11 Museum, public plazas and a transportation terminal to rival Grand Central Station. Sadly, legal issues, battles with insurers and the troubled economy have stalled progress, but the £10.5bn project is on target for completion in 2015.
As a contractor, I wonder how it would feel being involved in what is probably the most famous construction site in the world, and the birthplace of the skyscraper.
Would I feel the same unease I felt as a tourist?
The weight of history would undoubtedly hang heavy, but to help create new landmark buildings that make a statement not just in their architecture, but as a symbol for a city moving on, I think would be a massive privilege.