RISING: Rebuilding Ground Zero

(Discovery / Dreamworks – 6x60 – 2011)

The rebuilding of Ground Zero is the single most important architectural endeavor in American history, and one on which the entire world is focused. Never before has a construction site been so closely scrutinized, and never before has a work of steel, glass and concrete meant so much to so many. The new World Trade Center will stand not only as a monument to the limitless potential of architecture and engineering, but of patriotism, pride and a nation's ability to heal.

This six-part series for Discovery Channel and Science Channel, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, is the definitive chronicle of Ground Zero's rise from the ashes, as seen through the eyes of those who are making it happen. From the architects to the steelworkers, the victims' families to the developers and politicians, people at all levels of this project understand it's more than a job – it is history in the making.

Numerous projects with very different demands are ongoing at the same 16-acre site. Episode One lays out the master plan, and how all these different parts fit into the whole, and then unpack the story of One World Trade Center, formerly known as "The Freedom Tower." It will be North America's tallest building, New York's newest icon and the United States' most optimistic symbol. Episode Two dives deeper into the features that make Tower One one of a kind – America's fastest elevators, unprecedented sustainability, and a 40-story spire that reaches heights never attempted in New York.

Episode Three descends below grade into the new National 9/11 Museum, as its builders and curators prepare to tell the story of a tragedy that is beyond description, using some of the physical remnants of that day – staircases, crushed fire trucks, and the original steel footings of the Twin Towers, still embedded 80 feet below grade. Episode Four focuses on the resurgence of the surrounding neighborhood, as well as the east side of Ground Zero, where the commercial potential of the World Trade Center will be reborn.

Episode Five tracks the progress on the Transportation Hub, which will give downtown its own Grand Central station, and usher hundreds of thousands of commuters through a cavernous complex on a daily bases.

The final episode, Episode Six, focuses on the Memorial Plaza – which features the world's biggest fountains flowing into the footprints of the Twin Towers, and a forest of more than 400 trees. We are embedded with the workers who were hustling to complete it by the 10th anniversary of 9/11/11, when press, politicians and next of kin turn their attention to the site once again. More than eight years after 9/11, New York – and America – is rising again, and this series is there to capture its ascent.

Christopher Cassel of Castle Pictures served as supervising producer, writer and field director on the series, produced through KPI.

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