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Hettema Group Reaches New Heights With Opening of One World Observatory

Pasadena, CA, USA (June 30, 2015) — The Hettema Group (THG) proudly announces the opening of the firm’s latest visionary project, the One World Observatory at the World Trade Center in New York, in collaboration with Legends, who owns and operates the Observatory, as well as other world class venues around the globe.

The award-winning creative design team was hired by Legends to conceive, design and produce the “once in a lifetime project,” said Phil Hettema, THG founder. “Legends is known around the world for creating stellar experiences that guests love, so we were honored to be selected to work closely with their team on One World Observatory. Of all the tremendous projects we’ve been privileged to work on, nothing comes close to the symbolic importance of One World Observatory,” Hettema noted. “We’ve been excited and energized by the challenge to create this unique visitor experience in this special place, and present it in the full context of past, present and future.”

Positioned on top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere – on levels 100, 101, and 102 of the One World Trade Center building – One World Observatory provides guests with unique, panoramic views of New York City, its most iconic sites, and surrounding waters from above 1,250 feet.

The customized guest experience utilizes a unique and compelling array of immersive technological and media based elements to complement the spectacular views of Tower One – which evoke feelings of the City’s signature pride, hope and determination – the experience also includes retail and dining options, including a sit-down restaurant.

The experience invites guests to explore all three levels, each equipped with the latest in innovative technology. Upon entry, guests are greeted in the Global Welcome Center, where an immense digital global map displays and records every guest’s point of origin as well as bidding them welcome in the corresponding language.  Visitors then proceed to Voices, which tells the personal stories of the men and women who built One World Trade Center, and Foundations, which symbolically connects the audience to the millenniums’ old granite bedrock which is the foundation of Tower One.

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In one of the most notable elements of the experience, visitors board one of five dedicated elevators, termed Sky Pods, to ascend to the 102nd floor in under 60 seconds. Immersive, floor-to-ceiling LED technology in each cab invites guests to experience a virtual time-lapse that recreates the development of New York City’s skyline from the 1500s to present day.

The Sky Pod elevators, among the fastest in the world, bring passengers directly to the SEE FOREVER Theater on the 102nd floor. The SEE FOREVER Theater presents a two-minute video presentation that combines bird’s eye imagery, time-lapse shots with abstract textures and patterns to present the unique rhythm and pulse of New York City to dramatic life in three dimensions.

The Main Observatory space on the 100th floor includes an interactive skyline “concierge” – City Pulse – that allows guests to deeply connect with the landmarks and neighborhoods they observe from above. At City Pulse, global ambassadors are stationed within a ring of HD video monitors and outfitted in gesture recognition technology, summoning imagery and real time information to the screens and providing guests with close-up views and personalized recommendations. The Main Observatory also features the Sky Portal where guests are invited to step onto a 14-foot wide circular disc that delivers an unforgettable view, using real-time, high-definition footage of the streets below.


One World Observatory also offers three distinct dining options on the 101st floor available to guests with Observatory tickets, including access to curated eateries from casual café fare to seated fine dining.

One World Observatory is located at One World Trade Center, New York, New York 10007. The entrance to the Observatory is located on the West Plaza located alongside West Street at the Northwest corner of the World Trade Center site near the intersection of West and Vesey Streets. The Observatory is open year round. For more information, please visit

One World Trade Center is a joint venture between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and The Durst Organization. The One World Observatory team includes The Hettema Group as concept developer and experience designer, architect Montroy Andersen DeMarco, and construction manager JRM.

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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