Cladding Fragment from the World Trade Center

This crumpled piece of exterior sheathing was recovered from the debris pile of the World Trade Center after the building collapsed following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. While the towers withstood the initial damage caused by the impact of the hijacked jet liners being crashed into the structures, the intense fire that then raged proved to be too much.
The twin towers of the World Trade Center, a New York City landmark and the tallest buildings in the world when completed in 1973, were noted for their incredible 110-story height and their gleaming exterior. The towers were clad in an aluminum alloy sheathing that gave the buildings a golden sheen at sunrise and sunset. The material covered the closely-spaced exterior steel columns, enhancing their soaring appearance. Architect Minoru Yamasaki choose to use an aluminum alloy after first considering the more expensive alternative of stainless steel. The highly reflective sheathing of the twin towers added to the building's impact as a memorable landmark.
Currently not on view
Object Name
cladding fragment
Date made
late 1960s-early 1970s
Physical Description
aluminum alloy (overall material)
overall: 55 in x 16 in x 9 in; 139.7 cm x 40.64 cm x 22.86 cm
Place Made
United States: New York, Manhattan, World Trade Center
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Government, Politics, and Reform
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, General
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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