“People thought New York was finished,” says Architectural Record editor in chief Cathleen McGuigan, thinking back on the days after September 11, 2001. “People didn't understand how a city could go on.” But in the decade that followed, the city and country did carry on, spurred by tragedy into new conversations about politics, security, and architecture. “Suddenly there was a huge wide population engaged in the very subject that this magazine covers,” says McGuigan.
Robert Ivy served as editor in chief of RECORD from 1996 to 2011. “We were in an editorial meeting when the planes struck,” he remembers. Though the October issue of the magazine was just days away from going to print at the time, he and his staff went back to the drawing board, creating a new cover featuring the Minoru Yamasaki-designed twin towers, and adding a special report on the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. “We had three or four years of intense involvement with what would happen to Lower Manhattan," says Ivy, "because it created an architectural dilemma of what to do with 16 acres.”
McGuigan, who became editor in chief in 2011 and directed the magazine's coverage of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, remembers the “extraordinarily positive transformation” that took place in the city over the course of that decade—including an outpouring of public interest in architecture and urban design. “It was really inspiring to us. That was why we thought, we're not going to do an elegiac issue. It's actually an issue about rebirth and renaissance.”