Buildings can become the last bastions of humanity when it comes to survival in an urban environment.
Some are taller than others, but all share one thing: they are located in places where people are vulnerable to a myriad of natural disasters.
A recent article in the Washington Post outlined how a building at the World Trade Center in New York was able to remain standing for more than 60 days after it was struck by a plane.
Other buildings can fall apart due to weather, earthquakes, flooding, and natural disasters that can cause structural damage.
The building at Ground Zero, however, has survived for more the better part of two years, thanks to its unique combination of an elevator and a rooftop terrace that allowed it to withstand an attack from the massive tower itself.
That was the story of one of the skyscraping skyscrapes of the United States, one of several buildings in New Jersey that were built to withstand the worst of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
In the months before 9/11, New Jersey became a hub for terrorist attacks, but by December of 2001, the attacks had reached a new level.
“In the first days after the attacks, we were seeing an uptick in terrorist activity in the city,” New Jersey Gov.
John Baldacci said at the time.
New York City has since seen the worst terror attacks in its history, and its been a major target of the war on terror.
But what makes the story even more remarkable is that the structure that was struck was only a fraction of the size of the towers that would eventually topple them.
The buildings that were designed to withstand such a devastating event were built as tall as 30 stories, but were also made to withstand some of the worst natural disasters in the United Kingdom.
On December 14, 2003, a massive explosion rocked the WTC complex.
The explosion killed at least three people, injured dozens more, and shattered the building’s facade.
While most of the structure in the building survived, a few floors below the ground floor collapsed.
A few floors above the ground, a second explosion struck the building.
“The building was designed to survive, but a second fire on the ground level of the building destroyed most of its remaining columns and exposed more of the remaining steel,” a New York City Department of Buildings report said.
Even with a fireproofing system that kept the building intact, the entire building was rendered unusable.
It took three days for the structural integrity of the entire structure to be tested and found to be still intact, according to a New Jersey Department of Transportation report.
This is how the city of New York survived and rebuilt after the September 11 attacks.
The structure of the World War II-era World Trade Tower in New Manhattan.
Photo by the Library of Congress After a series of explosions in Manhattan, including one that took down the World Bank building on the Upper West Side in 2007, a building was finally completed in 2001.
A view of the North Tower of the Twin Towers in New Amsterdam.
Photo from the National Register of Historic Places.
The building is a replica of the original structure of World War I-era buildings that was designed by the architect Joseph Weisenthal, and was built in 1924.
At the time of its construction, the building was home to about 4,000 people, according the New York Times.
But the new building has since been torn down to make way for an apartment complex, a mall, and a hotel.
The towers are now being torn down again to make room for a proposed new apartment complex.
The project was completed in 2017, and the site was originally supposed to be a new high-rise hotel but was pulled back into use for an office building that is expected to be completed in 2020.
More from Smithsonian.com: The Top Ten New York Buildings That Aren’t Built in a Day article