View Full Version : Rate the new WTC plans

December 19th, 2002, 03:21 PM
I am starting a poll of forum members for the best WTC design. Rate the new plans for the World Trade Center site by listing them from the best in your opinion to worst. You don't have to rate every design. A summary on the design teams below.


One of the places to see the designs is LowerManhattan.info (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/rebuild/new_design_plans/) website.


Foster and Partners

Tower Details
Building Height: 1,764 ft *538 m
Number of Floors: 98
Height to highest occupied Floor: 1,568 ft. *478 m
Floor to Floor Height: 14 ft *4.3 m
Total Office area: 6,414,368 sq.ft *595,914 sq.m
Total Tower area: 6,464,368 sq.ft *600,559 sq.m


This the tallest of all nine proposals. In it, three towers (one reaching 2,100 ft) surround a raised 'skypark' climbing 10 stories into the air.

Includes Rafael Viñoly, Frederic Schwartz, Ken Smith and Shigeru Ban. With two nods in the direction of Russian Constructivism and another at Louis Kahn, the Think group has imagined two helical matrices that would be the tallest structures in the world and contain buildings designed by different architects.

United Architects
Includes Greg Lynn, Ben van Berkel, Jesse Reiser and Kevin Kennen. United Architects, a US collective, present another five-tower proposal. The structures 'touch each other, fuse together, and create a crystalline veil that surrounds and protects the sacred space of the memorial', they say.

Studio Daniel Libeskind
Daniel Libeskind, designer of Berlin's Jewish Museum, offers a 1,776 ft glass tower that contains plants and foliage.
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Michael Maltzan, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, Elyn Zimmerman and others. Design incorporates a thicket of 1,000-foot-high towers, each connected at various levels.

Richard Meier and Partners
Richard Meier, Peter Eisenman, Charles Gwathmey and Steven Holl. Titled Memorial Square, the design presents five towers arranged at a 90-degree angle at the northeast corner of ground zero. The towers are joined by aerial bridges to create a hinged megastructure that resembles a soaring pair of gates.

"Memorial Square is defined on the east and north sides with hybrid buildings that rise 1,111 feet, restoring the Manhattan skyline with geometric clarity in glowing glass. At ground level these buildings form a unique array of ceremonial gateways leading into the site. These thresholds of reflection open onto Memorial Square, a place that supports daily activities while allowing moments of contemplation and silence."

Height of Buildings: 1,111 feet *
Number of Floors per Building: 82 floors
Office Spaces: 7,100,000 sf *


The lone conventional design, Peterson/Littenberg's vision breaks the site into nine shop-lined blocks. The architects say their trio of towers, two of which again would be the world's tallest, 'symbolise triumph, standing there with big shoulders reaching arms into the air'.

December 19th, 2002, 03:33 PM
The results of CNN poll of 266 thousand people as of today:


Which plan for rebuilding the World Trade Center grounds do you like best?

Foster and Partners * * 24%
Studio Daniel Libeskind * * 18%
THINK Team * * 18% *
United Architects * * 14% * *
Peterson/Littenberg * * 13% *
Meier Eisenman Gwathmey Holl * * 9% * *
Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill * * 5% *

December 19th, 2002, 04:45 PM
Just a quick correction as height is a prime factor. According to William Neuman's recent article, Foster's plan calls for two 1,764-foot (537 metres) towers. This far exceeds the height of Hong Kong's new 7 Union Square (480 metres), and would easily make the new WTC the WTB.

December 19th, 2002, 04:51 PM
1st. Norman Foster - I like his design of the twinned skyscrapers, as well as the transportation center entrance that emerges between them. *I am not sure about the height, though. *I thought I saw somewhere that they are projected at over 1700 feet.

2nd. United Architects tied with Think - I love the way the fused buildings fill out the skyline in the UA proposal. *I do wish that they would be able to complete the buildout before the stated date of 2012. *Think may have a great idea with the elevated park, but they were somewhat hazy on the buildings. *Perhaps Foster's twins could be melded with the Think design.

3rd. Libeskind - May have the most original idea for the memorial with the exposed foundation walls. *I really admire his garden tower, but don't think it's very practical. *I doubt that the resources would be found to create a 1700 ft. entirely decorative element.

10th. Eisenman - perhaps those guys are way ahead of me in terms of architectural avant-garde, but their design reminds me of either a) some prison bars, or b) the wreckage of the original WTC.

Distant 25th. SOM - I expected more from them than a forest of squat skyscrapers. *Absolute disappointment.

Last Place (off the charts) Peterson/Littenberg - It's Beyer Blinder Belle all over again. *That's what happens when some people get past the selection process by yanking some strings with the LMDC. *Total Mediocrity.

December 19th, 2002, 06:02 PM
I like Foster the best. *Although I would like to see some more building besides those two interconnecting towers.

December 19th, 2002, 06:06 PM
Obviously there's a lot to devour with these plans, and they are just design concepts, so nothing is set in stone.
I just thought I'd start with what kind of impact these buildings would make upon the skyline.

I like how the Libeskind design fits with the rest of the skyline, it's very nice. It would be even better if that tall tower were in the southeast corner of the site rather than the northwest, making the apex closer to the center of the downtown skyline. I wouldn't mind if the buildings were all a little taller either.


I need more time to absorb what kind of impact a building as fabulous as this would have upon the skyline. Is it too close to the original WTC? A "new-and-improved" twin towers? The other thing is that it is so massive, even moreso than even the original twins.


I like the massing of this United Architects design, but the buildings are a little too....weird.


I'm actually intrigued with this idea, but this version does little to improve the skyline. What if the tops of each tower were different heights - do they all have to be exactly the same? Nothing super tall here either. What's with all this flatness on the skyline?


The Think designs are the hardest to visualize, they lack renderings with all their concepts. I hate to say it, but as impressive as these Vinoly towers are, the first thing I saw when seeing that cool museum near the top was a jet flying through the buildings. Sorry if I ruined it for you, but is that what others would see too? At the very least, it makes the point that the similarity with the original twins is a little scary. Too bad, I think they're pretty awesome.


While the buildings themselves may be excellent, here is the proof that SOM's ultimate goal is to flatten out the New York skyline.


Another renewed twin towers, except weaker. No, no, no.


As far as the memorials, the transportation, and the rest of the space - I need to go see them live.....

(Edited by NYatKNIGHT at 6:09 pm on Dec. 19, 2002)

December 19th, 2002, 06:27 PM
I'm not in love with either of them, but the only two I can really let myself acknowledge as a starting point are:

1. United Architects
2. Foster and Partners

December 20th, 2002, 02:39 AM
Well, everyone tossed in their 2 cents (or dollars) of opinion on this. It IS a lot to digest, but we have to do it soon before they choose the wrong design for what could be the most important contruction project of the 1st 20 years of this new century. Here's my take, in order from most to least favorable:

1) Libeskind. The concept of the vertical city excites me. Lord Fosters Commerzbank tower in Frankfurt is the closest realization that we currently have to this idea, but this takes the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and stretches them out a bit further! The colors, massing, and the view from Jersey all look great too, but I want people up at the top of this tower, we can't back down one bit!

2) United - If I picture New York as Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz, there would be a tower like this somewhere in the mix. The renderings are nothing short of amazing to me, and it pushes the envelope, of how we view a building and it's shape, to a new edge. It's a bit bulky at the bottom, and I think the top should be more than flat, but that can be worked on. This is a great "first draft"

3) Norman Foster. I like this guy's past works. Swiss Re Tower might be the best in Europe when done, but this rendering looks a bit too much like Hearst taken up another 70 floors. It looks too much like the old WTC, and it's very brunt since it pretty much goes all the way up without setbacks. Not a bad effort, but too much a reminder of what we lost and we can't have back.

4) THINK. Pretty much sums up what this proposal made me do. Sky park renderings look pretty sweet, but I don't think it makes the impact on the skyline as well as the higher-ranked ideas do. This is a pretty big team too, how did they ever agree on anything? The "great room" proposal seems too eerily similar to the Trylon and the Perisphere from the '39 Worlds Fair. Sorry, not at this site!

5) Peterson and Littenberg. Only here because it took 2 people to come up with a lousy proposal, as opposed to the plans below this having a zillion people come up with nearly 0. The rendering on this thread looks like the ones from the 1st set of proposals. I think we know how all of those turned out!

6) Meier and Eisenman. The 60's are over! No more blocks, or radical modernism, or just stuff that architects use to show off and impress. Very disappointed with this proposal. Meier is my favorite modernist and Eisenman was great before he got too strange in the last 10 years. Do we really need all these towers stopping at the same height, and connects at the same floors?? c'mon!

7) SOM. Flat-out sucks, and I use the pun intentionally. I agree with Chris that their goal is to flatten the skyline out. Can someone PLEASE explain to me why they can design buildings as well as the Jin Mao Tower, but this is the best all their minds can come up with for the most important proposal in the states? I don't see what these guys went to school all those years for...maybe it's me.

Comments? Criticisms? I wanna hear them - this deserves a healthy debate!

December 20th, 2002, 03:20 AM
WOW! *I have to agree with an extreme majority of almost everything that you have just said. *Almost like you were reading my thoughts, spooky. *Anyway, *I have nothing else to say, you pretty much nailed everything right on the head! *

December 20th, 2002, 09:31 AM
A temporary assessment.

Best: The Meier team proposal. It's the only one to offer a symbolism as bold and powerful as that of the twins. Serene and inspiring, and clever with respect to the hanging gardens and the safety concept.

Worst: The Peterson Littenberg one. An offensive joke particularly in contrast with the rest. Out of place.

I dislike SOM's high plateau, an indistinct agglutination that uglifies the skyline. It must be the idea that you're safer in a herd.

Foster's: Muschamp is right, it's too superficial for the site. It looks like an embodiment of rapacious greed and ambition, lacking spirit and grace.

The other two I'm interested in are Libeskind's and THINK's, but they seem to lack coherence or thought.

December 20th, 2002, 09:44 AM
Personally, I have come to one conclusion, and I have only 3 words for it....FOSTER! FOSTER! FOSTER! *His tower has grown on me a lot, and it can basically fit into any plan. *Some people consider the tower too large, with too much space. *But considering what it's supposed to be replacing, his plan would still need an extra 3 to 4 million sf of office space.

Because the tower would be based on Church Street (and also Greenwich, which isn't pictured in his plan) you could easily create the memorial over the footprint area. *That leaves room to the north and south for other towers or cultural amenities.



I love this new design. *It doesn't fit the Manhattan skyline, but neither did the Twin Towers. *And I love the way the top will light up at night. *As I said earlier, this tower could be adapted to any plan...






December 20th, 2002, 10:01 AM
1. United - Stunning - like nothing in existence anywhere else in the world. * It was so hard to visualize. *When I saw their presentation and view it from different perspectives, I was awestruck. *The most challenging piece of architecture and the most beautiful. *Recalling how spectacular sunsets gleamed off the twin towers, I imagine this building(s) would be even more spectacular.

2. Libeskind - I loved ther preservation of the bathtub in this one. *As iconic as the twin towers were pre-9/11, the bathtub is post 9/11. *I thought it was brilliant. *The rendering of the skyline was inspiring. *As the first one out of the gate, this proposal was hard to beat.

3. Foster - I was hoping a more "American" icon. *Although it is a stunning building, it evokes images of Hong Kong & Shanghai.

4. SOM - I really found their proposal interesting although it was about as sparse as you get in terms of presentation. *I don't think this scheme belongs at the WTC site, but I think it is a giant leap forward from the usual stuff they hoist upon us. *I wouldn't mind something like this at the old Con-Ed site by the U.N. (don't flame me!). *I did think that their transportation station was spot on incredible. *I hope that portion of their plan in implemented.

5. *Richard Meir- Hmmm. *It looks like a fence. *But each of those towers is over 1000 feet. *I thought their whole concept of the park emanating from different angles was a lot of hooey. *But, I have to say that I loved the idea of seven portals into the memorial square. *I would imagine that walking toward these structure from street level would be quite spectacular.

6. *THINK - I thought the "sky park" created a wall along West Street that we don't need. *I thought the world's largest room symbolized a place that people could be locked out of - a place where people could be forced to tranverse metal detectors and security details. *I want park space - OPEN park space. *The tower attached was an inspired height, but it's design was boring. *The lattice towers are too evocative of the twin towers - I do not want to see twin anything on the site.

7. *Peterson & Littenberg - I felt a little embarrassed and sorry for them. *The were so totally out-designed, out-classed and out-thought. *I can't see there presentation doing anything but damaging their reputation. *There proposal would fit in very nicely in a second or third tier city, but it is not a New York worthy proposal. *The only aspect I liked was the recreation of Fulton and Liberty Streets as tree-lined shopping Avenues. *Their architecture and park designs were horrible.

I don't think any of the other proposals came near United's for the vantage intrigue and audacity. *

December 20th, 2002, 10:18 AM
I noticed that Foster's design has seen a lot of criticism for being too "Asian." *Perhaps one reason for that is that we are seeing a lot more innovative architectural design coming from Hong Kong and Shanghai than the boxes SOM has been unveiling in NY. *A building that is angular, but fluid, dominating and inspiring may echo recent Asian designs, but can definitely rejuvenate New York's skyline.

TLOZ Link5
December 20th, 2002, 10:57 AM
1) Foster. *His supertall design reminds me of his proposal for Millennium Tower London. *The renderings of both make each building seem so massive, overshadowing all the other buildings in the area, yet at the same time being so stunning and awe-inspiring that you can't help but hate the fact that it hasn't been built.

2) Petersen/Littenberg. *They had a bit more freedom from the PA this time around, and BBB wasn't there to screw things up either. *I thought this plan looked dignified and elegant, especially with the West Street promenade and shopping strips on Liberty and Fulton. *Classy, but admittedly too art-decoesque; we need something a bit more imaginative.

3) THINK Sky Park. *The elevated platform for a park with all sorts of amenities was very intriguing, and the towers might look interesting, albeit a bit aloof from the rest of the site with no low-rise buildings*to put them into context.

4) United Architects. *Sinuous, helical, and at the same time evoking a sense of voluptuous beauty. *The massing is great, but it's a bit too wild for my taste. *It looks like something you might find in Mälmo, right next to the Turning Torso.

5) THINK Great Room. *Open and lithic, but a glass enclosure reminds me of invisible restrictions. *Preserving the tower footprints in large clyinders sounded a bit wierd, and the 2,100' tower seemed too out of context with the rest of Downtown.

6) THINK World Cultural Center. *I like the idea, but the twins are obviously too invocative of the old WTC. *Having performing arts spaces in the sky sounds way too loopy, but very romantic nonetheless; kinda like Jazz@Lincoln Center at AOL-TW. *And yes, Knight, the museum does look like a plane slicing through both buildings. *Brr...

7) Libeskind. *A 1,776 foot tower seems so symbolic, but filling it with gardens sounds like an acid-trip fantasy. *It's like stretching the Ford Foundation building to twelve times its height and sheathing it with glass. *The other buildings are okay, I guess.

8) Skidmore. *What could have possessed them to design nine towers of equal height, which aren't even standing up straight? *Some of them look like they're beginning to topple over, not to mention the fact that the roof gardens or whatever there is on top eerily resemble the darker-colored hat trusses atop the twin towers. *With all the great work that this firm has done overseas, I'm saddened to think that this was the best they thought they could do. *:(

9) Meier and Eisenman. *Distant last. *Obviously, this doesn't need to be dignified with a critique. *Two tic-tac-toe grids placed at 90-degree angles to each other...compared to this design, Skidmore's proposal looks like Rockefeller Center. *Sheesh, John Whitehead; were you even watching these guys make fools of themselves?

(Edited by TLOZ Link5 at 11:02 am on Dec. 20, 2002)

December 20th, 2002, 12:16 PM
Amigo32 - if ya were referring to what I posted, I appreciate the comments. If not, no biggie - I was just wondering. This thread has been great, I wish it was easier to find intellectual conversation like this on other forums. Keep up the good work!

December 20th, 2002, 01:09 PM
1. Foster : but another pair of thousand footers would help integrate the complex in the skyline.

2. United Architects : can they do that ? I say, build it in Long Island City.
And the Libeskind's design would look great in JC.

December 20th, 2002, 02:37 PM
From the Independent today *(news.independent.co.uk)

Immaculate conceptions: Proposals from seven practices to replace the World Trade Centre

By Jay Merrick

The latest set of architectural and masterplanning solutions to New York's devastated World Trade Centre site are not, as might have been hoped, the Magnificent Seven. They are * just like the first wave of confused offerings * yet more immaculate conceptions in search of a meaningful birth. They are thoughtful, absurdly grandiose, and depressingly unremarkable.

In most cases, scale seems to be the problem. Bigness has been equated with architectural gestures of defiance, but at the expense of something that is already big and beautiful enough as a sign of prosperous democracy * New York's riveting skyline. There is clearly a need for an iconic redevelopment, something that not only demonstrates lusty vertical perseverance, but which salves some of the psychological damage caused by the loss of the twin towers.

Lack of subtlety in the form of glass-and-steel hyperbole simply cannot be the right approach. On those grounds, the extraordinarily cross-braced vertical grid of towers proposed by Richard Meier and Partners fails decisively.

Nevertheless, two of the proposals featuring extremely tall towers do seem to offer interesting solutions. The Tokyo-based THINK team has created two beautifully latticed ghosts of the Twin Towers, more of a memorial than a pulsating hive of commerce. If they have enough money-generating density then this may be an appealing alternative.

Britain's Norman Foster, has gone for extreme height with his two towers. What makes them intriguing, and much less of a visual hammer-blow than Meier's bastion, is their variable profile. If New York decides in favour of bigness, this is clearly the best design. It's also certain that Foster, whose office mounted its own inquiry into how the tower collapsed, will have looked closely at safety.

December 20th, 2002, 02:51 PM
Current vote on BBC website asking:

Which design is your favourite?

(18165 Votes Cast)

Richard Meier and Partners

Foster and Partners

Skidmore Owings and Merrill group

Think team

United Architects

Studio Libeskind


Allow for national bias towards Foster.

December 20th, 2002, 04:06 PM
Its alot to take in, and Im still trying to digest all this.

At first I was impressed with Libeskind it had caught my eye first but only because of a visual chaos, I have already lost interest. It is not symbolic, in trying to appease everyone it does not excel in any single area.

My favorite is Foster, I have come to really love this design, and Im completely serious I have fallen in love, *Foster will do this to you. I wish I could understand his genius, to disect his visionary. It reinvents the former completley, it even goes beyond. It has no relation to the skyline but neither did the originals but it goes further to overshadow the entire skyline, this is quite a task in NYC, and something none of the other plans accomplished. Iconic, the new WTC should be the first to catch your eye, and *to overwhelm you, its only fitting, and why not go far and beyond the original.

December 20th, 2002, 06:14 PM
I've just visited the models (and seen the video walk throughs etc.) and they have really changed my mind about things.

King's NY done modern. Nice idea, bad execution. What's worse is all those tower sit on what looks like a 10 story super block. Yuk! It's best feature is that it ignored the footprints. :)

Meier, Eisman et al
Too brutalist for my tastes. The red pavement running out of the side and the "shadow" of trees is hoakey as is the evocation of the WTC ruings. Cold and arrogant all in all. What bothers me most is the site plan itself. Barren, monolithic, anti-urban and empty. It's Boston's City Hall Plaza all over again.


United Architects
The curvy organic version of Meier's plan. Suffers from all the same problems on the ground and in the site plan. West St. is barely addressed. It's an interesting and impressive building none the less but the project doesn't say cathedral, it says cold and deserted. The aliens have landed, get the video game now!




Half of me thinks the bent tower (it really does bend back and forth. It is not an illusion) is ungraceful and insipid. The other half sees the power in it. Of all the proposals it comes the closest to the "in your face" spirit to the WTC itself. The site plan is excellent. The streets passing through as pedestrian only. Taking advantage of the height difference between Church and West Sts. with a deck is an elegant solution, not to mention relatively cheap and non-disruptive. It also manages to create a nice park and outdoor room with the lower surrounding buildings. If I could just embrace the tower more fully I'd feel a lot happier with this one.




The radial design emanating from the central building is unique and refreshing. The pie slice blocks gives it something new. Keeping the pit in the SW corner is very moving. The design of the buildings is appealing for the site and really gives it a sense of place both in the skyline and on the street level. Although the circular ramp aboviously reinforces the radial idea, I think it could be lost without the plan suffering much. West St. could be handled better too. It's weakest feature is the World Gardens skyline feature. It needs more heft or more grace or more something, I'm not quite sure. Also, I'd like the pinacle to be in the SE corner not the NE. All in all one of my favorites.




I though this was the new WTC not the new Rockefeller Center? But hold on a minute. Lose the horrid towers and the architecture in general and this plan has a lot to recommend itself as a site plan. (Exactly what the PA is looking for). The sunken central park is promising and actually minimizes the impact the footprints have on the site. Of all the plans this one best re-integrates the street grid into the site and creates a number of unique outdoor rooms. If only they were pedestrian only like Fosters. Burying West St. for the promenade and more importantly allowing buildings in front of the WFC is a great, if expensive, idea. If only the presented it with better architecture. In any case, this is the PA's choice without a doubt. They did the most popular of the first set of plans and were basically told to gussie up the presentation. The NY deco rehash is going to appeal to many. Don't be surprised when you see the final site plan looking at lot like this when its revealed in Feb. IMO it's a done deal. I'm pinning my hopes on some truely great architecture for the towers when the time comes.





THINK - Sky Park

Basically what we have here is 3 towers (actually design to be decided) on the east side of the site and a group of lowerises on the west side with a park on the roofs. Its very clear in the model that the east-west streets all go through the site and the block are filled with buildings. My issue with this plan is that the roof top park has to be a destination in itself. There's no reason to go up there otherwise. Even with the ramps people are most likely to stay below to shop and get to and from transport. The connection to WFC is no improvement on the old WTC bridges really. I like the idea of the three towers, if something great is done with them. Somehow this one just doesn't move me.





The only plan that manages to create a landmark without resorting to height. It's the Milano Galleria done NY style. I love how all the surrounding streets lead right into and pass through the grand plaza. Keeping the footprints separate in the glass cylinders not only solves the roof support problems but allows for the memorial museum to be placed below the plaza. I'm sure Westfield will love the ring of buildings which they will line with shops at ground level. The transmission tower is highly underated because of the lack of a good rendering IMO. In the model, its faceted faced reminds my of Foster's Hearst tower tapering to a peak. The Great Room idea is again re-iterated in the tower itself with its huge open lobby. The walk through video is nothing short of stunning. This is really one of my very favorites. If only the were a couple of taller towers sprouting through the roof of the great room as a conterpoint to the transmission tower as well as a deck over west st. acting as a front porch park to the great room itself.



http://www.eframes.com/sizedimage.asp?uid=853389919&image=2567RoomCombo1. jpg&path=J%2FJoel%5FGarcia%5Fverizon%5Fnet&maxedge =720


The massing of the twin towers is comforting as is their placement. The ground level has the surrounding streets going up ramps and crossing between the towers creating a star which creates and unusual effect. I'm just not sure I'm ready for the floating elements built in the frame. I'm just not sure I'm ready for all the office space to be built in surrounding 50 floor buildings. Perhaps if the proposed frames were filled with a solid building rather than floating buildingettes I'd be happier.





December 20th, 2002, 06:35 PM
Yes Foster is able to find the obvious most elegant solutions for busy open city spaces, their simple change to Trafalger square in London totally transformed it at very little cost.

December 20th, 2002, 08:32 PM
The idea is great but just doesn't quite seem to fit into Manhattan but the lighting is fabulous, like something out of a dream. If this was chosen, I would be pretty pleased.

2) SOM: D-
It just doesn't get much worse than this. I swear they're trying to build a forest! Even worse, the buildings are the same height! Talk about flattening out the skyline...

The idea doesn't seem so bad but it just doesn't seem practical. Besides, I can hardly even understand what the heck is supposed to be going on. And I certainly agree - the museum reminded me of an airplane as soon as I saw it. *

4) Meier & Eisenman: F
This is even worse than Beyer Blinder Belle...

5) United: B-
Seems somewhat ridiculous for New York, but I am kind of intrigued. This could begin a new era in the city.

6) Libeskind: A
This grabbed me right from the beginning! I think it fits in beautifullly with the Lower Manhattan skyline and I would probably die of excitement if it were actually built! Excellent, excellent, excellent!

7) Peterson/Littenurg: A-
Okay, I know most of you don't really like this design and I most admit that it evokes some of those BBB images, but I really like it. It is simple, practical, and fitting for the site and almost belongs in the skyline. I just wish they'd take off those semi-ridiculous looking "sticks" from the tops and add some REAL height onto there.

December 20th, 2002, 08:35 PM
JerzDevl2000. *Yea, I was referring to what you posted. Like I said, it was almost like you were reading my mind. *I am in total agreement with almost all of your arguments, they are good arguments and they just make logical sense. *IMHO.

December 21st, 2002, 08:07 AM

My favorite, definitely. Tall, and looks good from most angles.


http://www.eframes.com/sizedimage.asp?uid=801204861&image=8618F22.jpg&pat h=J%2FJoel%5FGarcia%5Fverizon%5Fnet&maxedge=800


I like this a lot, but not for the WTC site.
Not that impressive compared to the original twins...



http://www.eframes.com/sizedimage.asp?uid=801204861&image=9733L28.jpg&pat h=J%2FJoel%5FGarcia%5Fverizon%5Fnet&maxedge=600

THINK's skypark

I like this, but it doesn't stand out IMO.


http://www.eframes.com/sizedimage.asp?uid=801204861&image=675L39.jpg&path =J%2FJoel%5FGarcia%5Fverizon%5Fnet&maxedge=800

I don't like ANY of the other proposals, including THINK's 2,100 ft. plan.


I really liked the 2,000 ft. tall KPF vision from a few months back. (the skyscraper, NOT the promenade.) Two 2,000 ft twins would be even better.



December 22nd, 2002, 06:53 AM
How surprising that the Independent champions the national architect. What an arrogant article.

A correction: Asian skyscrapers are NOT the most innovative. They are merely the highest and have different conventions than American ones. The most groundbreaking highrises are proposed and built in Europe (Swiss Re, Agbar, London Bridge). The critic did not mean that Foster's scheme is "too Asian" but too shallow, as Hong Kong's skyscraper's usually are. New York is not just a center of finance.

That said, I don't at all think that Foster's proposal is the worst. Maybe he could give it some soul.

All the comments that consider the Meier team proposal to be too abstract, radical or monolithic only comfort me in my view. It is the boldest and has the most potent symbolism. It dares to ingenuously reconfigure the skyline again to offer something entirely new, and as such it is an appropriate sequel to the twins while avoiding its two crucial mistakes (single use and creation of a rather barren, wind-swept plaza - the Meier team design is mixed-use and porous).

December 22nd, 2002, 08:34 AM
Trade center plans glow with potential
Blueprints not just for N.Y., but for urban life

John King, Chronicle Urban Design Writer
December 21, 2002 *

Here's the great thing about the new proposals for the World Trade Center site: They glow. Brash and dramatic, the images reflect an optimism that the future of cities is bright.

Some are jarring at first. A few seem more concerned with rhetoric than real estate. Together, though, they affirm that architecture and cities can change for the better. They're not symbols of protection, buildings hunkered down in self-defense, but of potential.

Of the schemes submitted by seven firms chosen in an international competition, the one by English architect Norman Foster works best in its overall approach to street, skyline and memorial.

His treatment of the felled towers' footprints is startling: They would be preserved as walled voids, six dark cubes of stillness. Around them wrap acres of lushly planted open space, the type of greenery that, properly designed, Lower Manhattan needs.

As for Foster's towers, two twisting structures that evoke the twin towers, there's no denying they're mammoth -- perhaps too clinically "futuristic" in this first pass. But they're subtle as well, with tree-filled atriums high in the air.

Atop the 98th floor of each tower, a daunting 1,568 feet, the glazed skin of the outside walls would rise another 200 feet, meeting to create spaces that Foster likens to "vast cathedrals literally in the clouds."

If the officials want to focus on a team, by contrast, the grandly titled THINK stands out. This alliance of mostly New York architects unveiled not one scheme but three, all audacious.

The THINK scheme that received the most attention is the most visual: a World Cultural Center that would be a sci-fi movie come to life. Two open scaffolded structures frame the void left by the towers. They're linked midair by a crumpled metal "9/11 interpretive center" that's a little too fusilage-like for comfort.

My own preference is their plan where the drama is on the ground, with a 30- story glass roof and walls encasing much of the site. The space is so vast that the twin footprints of the past are both inside. It would be a room like no other in the world.

What stands out more than any details in THINK's plans is that the team lives up to its name. The members grappled with the nature of the site and the form that cities might take as technology continues to change. You sense that if the site was theirs, they would respond with ingenuity to whatever restraints are imposed by real life.

That's not the case when looking at the scheme submitted by another local team, four New York veterans including Richard Meier, one of America's best- known architects.

Their vision: an L-shaped set of five 1,111-foot-high towers linked by horizontal cross-sections -- a grid that brings tic-tac-toe to mind more readily than the "interlaced fingers of protective hands" described by the designers. The real problem, though, is the granite plaza that spills in all directions. Instead of a Rockefeller Center for the 21st century (Meier's image), this hard, formless space would likely become yet another barren urban plaza -- and the 20th century produced enough of those, thank you.

More seductive, but nearly as troublesome, is German architect Daniel Libeskind's scheme with angled skyscrapers that culminate in a 1,776-foot spire that's part tower, part greenhouse.

On the skyline, the crystalline sweep captures the romance that cities hold despite all their flaws. Libeskind also deserves praise for his powerful notion of a submerged memorial space that would leave the rough scarred edges of the below-ground slurry wall on the west.

But the plan's street-level images are dismaying. They're like some oversized sculpture garden. Tiny pedestrians move amid the jags and zags that have become Libeskind's design signature. It'd be a great place to visit, but you can't imagine daily life there.

And again, that's what counts: creating an urban district that holds up over time.

The media-friendly event on Wednesday and the provocative visions spread across newspapers and television are already part of history. The World Trade Center site is controlled by the landowner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a government body created after the terrorist attack, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

Each agency has its own planners and consultants operating apart from the architectural competition. The initial request was not for plans but for "ideas" that the house planners would then fold into their work. Now, though, officials say that by February they want to choose a single team from the competition.

It's an absurdly tight schedule that might slip. But whatever happens, the agencies deserve praise for holding such a risky competition, casting the net so wide.

In a good way, what happened on Wednesday is that a Pandora's box of architecture was opened for all to see. The public glimpsed ideas that defy the tone of too much civic debate -- the instinct to expect the worst. Gardens atop towers? Parks in the air? Why not?

"The challenge in all cities is how you equate high-density living with high-quality living," Foster said after his presentation. "We need to work to consciously elevate the quality of urban life."

Whoever gets chosen, whatever takes shape, that's the task facing every urban area. Lower Manhattan is


(Edited by NYguy at 8:35 am on Dec. 22, 2002)

December 22nd, 2002, 10:43 AM
avoiding its two crucial mistakes (single use and creation of a rather barren, wind-swept plaza

That's exactly what I have against it. The plaza looks to me to be barren, wind-swept and brutal.

To me, the proposal works better as sculpture seen from afar. At ground level I think it will be very anti-urban.

(Edited by JMGarcia at 10:44 am on Dec. 22, 2002)

December 22nd, 2002, 10:45 AM
Foster and Libeskind are my top two. I prefer Foster's buildings, but I like Libeskind's layout much better.

I would choose Libeskind over Foster if only its supertall was better.

December 22nd, 2002, 10:53 AM
Joel, there are plenty of plazas in Europe that are voids like that and that are vibrant and work fine. You cannot identify a barren plaza simply by seeing a void.

December 22nd, 2002, 11:02 AM
It's not the void that bothers specifically. There's no life on the edge of the site, Liberty, Vesey, and West Sts. have nothing to offer and Church St has little. The feet of the towers also don't seem to provide much. Everything is pushed underground much as in the original WTC. This is why I think it will end up being anti-urban. Unlike the great squares in Europe, there's just no reason for people to traverse the plaza. I think they'll just head underground at the first chance.

Line the void with shops, residential, and hotels and it might be a different story.


December 22nd, 2002, 12:40 PM
There are cultural institutions but I admit that it may not be enough. It would be a place more of reflection and contemplation than transit and shopping.

December 22nd, 2002, 01:33 PM
I will give the Meier plan this - its really creates an icon landmark on the skyline. If built, there would be no doubt what city you were looking at.


December 23rd, 2002, 09:57 AM
Nice commentary - I haven't been down to see the plans yet, but you offer some fresh insights into what I saw on NY1.

December 23rd, 2002, 10:51 AM
Quote: from JMGarcia on 1:33 pm on Dec. 22, 2002
I will give the Meier plan this - its really creates an icon landmark on the skyline. If built, there would be no doubt what city you were looking at.


Too bad it's not (even) as tall as the original Twins...

(Edited by Grimm at 10:52 am on Dec. 23, 2002)

December 23rd, 2002, 03:46 PM
It's absurd to be technical. This is not about securing a place in the record books.

December 24th, 2002, 01:17 AM
I saw the plans again today. Now I really believe, out of all the plans, Liebskin's is the most logical. Unlike Foster's plan which is like placing two targets in the middle of a park, Liebskin's proposal actually looks like it is a continuation of the city but still provides distinction, great architecture, and a suitable memorial.

December 25th, 2002, 03:05 PM
A part the Petersin-Littenberg project all proposals are bold. Some of them are masterpieces. In particular the design of the polish architect Daniel Libeskind and of the British Foster are probabily the best. In the Libeskind project we can find many of his aesthetical points: the cuts, diagonal cuts, the irregular forms, the symbolic meaning of architecture. Strange fact, Libeskind (who was born in 1946 in Poland) studied at the Hejduk and Eisenmann Cooper Union (Eisenmann is one of the others architects involved in the new WTC). Libeskind studied music and philosophy in Essex, U.K. and his way of approching architecture is atipical: very teoretical. In this project you can find quotations of the disaster (the buildings cut, the shape not-well shaped, the huge diagonal cut, metaphor of the injuries of the tragedy so the memory still and forever present) but at the same time the gardens-spire, which phisically brings the life (the garden) in the sky, in that sky where came the dead.
The Foster's project is less conceptual, less poetic, but it's however very lyrical, elegant: hi-tech, symbol of the progress, but with a touch of poetry in the elegance of the design, so light. Lightness, metaphor of what the sky should be, blue and without - black, smoke.

December 25th, 2002, 03:51 PM
More news folks, there are reports that SOM has decided to withdraw from the rebuilding competition. Its initial design of 9 or so skyscrapers got poor reviews from critics of all stripes. That will leave six architectural firms and eight designs. We'll have to see what follows from this point on. The authorities have set a deadline for the end of January for one of the projects to be approved.

December 25th, 2002, 06:47 PM
SOM's and PL's proposals are the only I've eliminated from consideration. The three I'm most interested in are Meier's, Libeskind's and Foster's. All are flawed and all are thrilling. Almost every time I re-examine them I change my mind. It's so complex, there's so much at stake and they've given themselves so little time to choose. It's actually only a competition of ideas, as Bernard Tschumi, who was one of the semifinalists, said at a conference I attended. He continued to develop his scheme regardless of his loss. He presented it: three very tall towers of different shapes - "the tri-towers (of Babel?)" - with hanging gardens, connected to each other high in the sky, which recalls some of these.

December 26th, 2002, 02:33 AM
I'm staring to like the Libeskind proposals more and more - it is great architecture AND art, and continues the city's grid and urbanism quite well into the old WTC site. Kudos to SOM getting eliminated. Now they can go back to redoing Hong Kong in ticky-tack fashion....

Grimm - thanx for the KPF proposal. I know it's not one of the 7 or 9 that were in the set that came out this week, but it's interesting to get another take on the views for rebuilding. I'm not crazy about it though, the approach to the site seems to cute off BPC like a chinese wall. It seems eerily similar to the ill-fated Brooklyn-Battery bridge proposal of the 1940's!

December 26th, 2002, 06:47 AM

December 26th, 2002, 07:25 AM
Spectacular! * ONLY Spectacular! *That is all that I ask. *
MAKE these people sort out the details! *OK, *I am only dreaming. *They never will. *Their agendas will cancel each other out. *

(Edited by amigo32 at 7:41 am on Dec. 26, 2002)

(Edited by amigo32 at 7:54 am on Dec. 26, 2002)

December 29th, 2002, 07:21 AM
This page should address some of the concerns about the NY team's plan: http://www.richardmeier.com/press.htm