View Full Version : Modifications to WTC Finalists

February 5th, 2003, 05:24 PM
There are some very important points buried in this article.

2 Teams of Architects to Compete for Ground Zero Design
NY Times

Two teams of architects, one that sees the foundations of democracy in the concrete walls surrounding ground zero and another that imagines New York's rebirth in soaring towers of culture, have been selected as finalists in the competition to create the design for the World Trade Center site, rebuilding officials said yesterday.

Each of the designs includes what would be the tallest building in the world, though in both plans, the towers' upper reaches are not occupied by offices. Rather, there is a memorial observation deck in one case, and a hanging garden in the other.

The two teams, Studio Daniel Libeskind, the firm headed by the Berlin-based architect Daniel Libeskind, and the Think team, headed by the architects Frederic Schwartz, Rafael Viñoly and Ken Smith of New York, and Shigeru Ban of Tokyo, will now work with rebuilding officials on refinements to their designs. One team is to be selected as the winner by the end of the month.

The winning design will include the layout and conceptual vision for the trade center site's buildings, transportation terminals and a memorial to the victims of Sept. 11, 2001 — an architectural project like no other and one that is already among the most watched in the world.

Rebuilding officials from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the offices of the mayor and the governor were effusive yesterday in their praise for the two plans, which they said stood out in their excellence from the plans by five other teams of architects that were also unveiled in December.

And they vowed that while each of the designs selected yesterday would require modifications, those changes would not alter the architects' central vision. Among possible changes, an official said, is raising the level of the floor of the memorial space in the Libeskind design and adjusting the height of the Think team's towers downward.

"No plan in its current configuration is perfect," said the official, Roland W. Betts, a development corporation director who oversaw the task force that selected the two plans. "Rest assured that whatever the modifications, the core idea of each plan will be preserved. The goal of the next few weeks is not to compromise the plans but to make them better."

Even after a single team is chosen to complete a plan for the layout of the site, the office buildings that will be constructed there over the next 10 to 12 years could look significantly different from the renderings created by the two teams.

That is because these two plans, unlike some of those that were rejected, have the memorial, rather than office towers, as their centerpiece. The architects themselves have acknowledged that the design of the office buildings in their drawings are subject to change.

The final site plan will include parcels where office buildings will eventually be located, including the size and shape of each building's footprint and the anticipated height. But the design of the office buildings' actual skin will depend on when they are built and by what developer.

There are also several other forces competing for control of the site and for the authority to develop it. Among those forces is Larry A. Silverstein, the lead representative of the firms that hold the lease to the site. In a letter Friday to rebuilding officials, Mr. Silverstein asserted that the lease gave his group the right to rebuild the site as the group sees fit and to choose the architecture firm that will design it.

In response to a question yesterday, Mr. Betts said that "in spite of what he said in his letter," Mr. Silverstein has been involved in discussions and decisions about the site. "We had a number of consultants looking at all the issues that were raised in that letter and we came to different conclusions," Mr. Betts added.

But other, possibly conflicting forces are also at work. The city is seeking to negotiate a land swap that would give it authority over the trade center site, while transferring ownership of the city's two major airports to the Port Authority, the agency that now owns the trade center property.

Officials from the Port Authority and the development corporation have clashed in recent weeks over priorities for the site, people involved in the process said. The Port Authority has been primarily focused on infrastructure, encompassing everything from the layout of a new transportation complex to the location of truck ramps into the basement levels of the site.

Development corporation officials, meanwhile, have often been more interested in aesthetics, including which architect's concept makes a more significant impact on the skyline and on the memorial.

Some officials of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, half of whose directors are appointed by the governor and half by the city, have also maintained that regardless of who owns the land at the trade center site, the development corporation will continue to oversee the development.

The decision announced yesterday had been expected, because the Libeskind and Think plans had won wide acclaim from architects, design professionals and the general public.

Mr. Libeskind's plan includes an open pit on the western portion of the trade center site, where the memorial to victims would be located.

The pit, including the footprints of the trade center towers, would be outlined by the concrete slurry walls designed to hold back groundwater from what were formerly the concourse and basement levels of the trade center.

It is within those walls that most of the remains of the victims were found. Mr. Libeskind has said that the walls "withstood the unimaginable trauma of the destruction and stand as eloquent as the Constitution itself, asserting the durability of democracy and the value of individual life."

A museum that would cantilever over the pit would serve as an entrance to the ground zero memorial. In addition, two large public spaces at ground level would commemorate the victims; the park areas would be located to catch rays of sunlight each year on the morning of Sept. 11, from the time of the first attack to the collapse of the north tower.

Additionally, a series of office and cultural buildings would surround the memorial site, including a 1,776-foot spire inhabited in its upper half by hanging gardens.

Mr. Libeskind estimated that the public spaces and reinforcement of the bathtub walls would cost $280 million to $330 million.

The second semifinalist, the Think team, originally designed three options, but the team began in recent weeks to promote its "World Cultural Center" design almost exclusively. The design includes two 1,665-foot latticework towers, inspired by the Eiffel Tower. Within them, various buildings would be constructed to hang seemingly in midair. They would include a museum, a performing arts center, a conference center, educational facilities, viewing platforms and other public spaces.

The towers would surround the footprints of the twin towers and would themselves be surrounded by large glass-bottomed reflecting pools, which would bring natural light to the underground retail and transit concourse.

As many as eight commercial office buildings and a hotel would surround the towers on the site's perimeter. Mr. Viñoly estimated that the public spaces and the framework of the cultural towers would cost $750 million to $800 million.

"Each of these plans breaks new ground literally by creating new ground," John C. Whitehead, the chairman of the development corporation, said yesterday. "They have the audacity and faith, on the one hand, to suspend buildings in midair, and on the other to make meaning of the void."

An exhibit of the two semifinalists' designs is to reopen at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden on Friday.

The two plans, each with a distinct focus on the memorial, have enjoyed general support from family members of many of the victims of the attacks, although each design also has drawn criticism for some of its elements.

More pointed has been the criticism of the development corporation, the Port Authority, and their process for arriving at the designs. Yesterday, officials of the Regional Plan Association, a planning advocacy group, repeated criticisms that the process seemed to be made up as it has progressed.

"Public agencies owe something to the public: a process that they can follow along with, know when they will be asked to participate and know when decisions will be made," said Jeremy Soffin, a spokesman for the planning group.


-THINKs height going down is unacceptable IMO

-With the final design of the office towers in both plans being up in the air, the aesthetics of the site could change considerable.

-The PA seems not to be involved in the decisions above ground. The LMDC seems to be taking responsibility for the skyline. Best to aim any complaints there.

-Cost could become an issue.

February 5th, 2003, 05:57 PM
Among possible changes, an official said, is raising the level of the floor of the memorial space in the Libeskind design

Good. I also think its important to mention that with libeskind we have an architect like Foster. I believe one of the major obligations to Libeskind is the building heights, 75 storeys, but he is willing to raise the bar to 90 storeys. If and only if the public outcry is heard. Instead of complaining about a botched process, accept this. Instead turn your attention to increasing building heights, Libeskind is willing. Make your voices heard.
I am thinking about creating a website about this. With the graphics created and a petition.

and adjusting the height of the Think team's towers downward.


Think is more compromising, a New York firm, but with the wrong heart.

NyC MaNiAc
February 5th, 2003, 06:39 PM
the process seems to be going rather quick now...

If a final design is selected at the end of the month will all the modifications and what not...whats from keeping the project from starting construction a couple months from now?

I know the whole thing is quite complicated but at this rate when will these buildings really rise?

And my comments...
Well...I want two huge office buildings that are based off of the old twin towers but are not duplicates. Both of these plans make that seemingly impossible. Libeskind just has some towers scattered about with no main focal point and with THINK it gets the tower part right...but there just about empty. (Besides for the museum, performing arts center and all that other nonsense, IMO) All that stuff can be put somewhere else Downtown.
The thought of having "open" twin tower disgusts me. SO there tall but...its not a true building! Is it possible that the other 8 office buildings surrounding it will be "worlds tallest building" height or what about the possibility of screwing these open towers and just making them true "closed" office buildings. (with slight modifications of course.)
Your thoughts?

February 5th, 2003, 08:25 PM
construction of any office buildings is years away after the memorial process is completed/constructed

February 5th, 2003, 10:58 PM
And it will take a long time for the memorial to be constructed, much less planned out.

February 6th, 2003, 04:21 AM
Who cares about the possible modifications ?
These two projects are doomed to mediocrity.

February 6th, 2003, 09:12 AM
A little more on the 2 plans from globest.com...
.................................................. .........

The two designs moving forward in the redevelopment process are Studio Daniel Libeskind’s Gardens of the World, which includes a 1,776-ft glass tower with gardens on its upper floors, and the "THINK" team’s World Cultural Center, calling for the construction of two glass cylinders above the WTC footprints featuring a glass-lattice design.

Betts explained that, “Larry will spend time with each of the two competitors advancing, and we’ll take his criticism into account.”

While Silverstein accused the new batch of WTC design proposals as having an inadequate amount of office space, 10 million sf was lost on Sept. 11, it should be noted that both Libeskind’s and THINK’s designs met the LMDC’s requirements with 7.63 million sf and 8.56 million sf, respectively. The two groups exceeded the amount of retail space originally at the WTC site, 600,000 sf, with Libeskind proposing 900,000 sf of street level retail and THINK including an over one million-sf retail component.

The two teams--narrowed from an original group of seven architects--will spend the next three weeks retooling their concepts based on feedback from the selection committee--made up of the LMDC, Port Authority, Governor George Pataki's office and the city.

For example, questions have been raised about the feasibility of the tower foundations in THINK’s current design, specifically based on engineering analysis related to the location of underground PATH train tunnels. And Libeskind’s group was asked to re-examine the infrastructure of its memorial space--located below ground in the bathtub of the former twin towers—because additional reinforcing may be required of the existing slurry walls.
.................................................. ................

Looking at the video of THINK's towers, the view is very similar to the view from the Twin Towers, it also has a touch of the top of Foster's towers. *This is by far the better of the 2 plans, and comes the closest to replacing the public spaces lost at the WTC...

February 6th, 2003, 11:34 AM
More opinion from NY1...


February 6th, 2003, 12:33 PM
Oh man. *THINK's going to win and I'm going to be very depressed about it.

February 6th, 2003, 12:36 PM
Most depressing to me is the desire to "adjust the height of the Think team's towers downward." Why? What's the point in that? That attitude is bad for ANY proposal.

February 6th, 2003, 03:55 PM
The height should be ajusted to zero. The perfect, invisible tower. Nobody working in it. No potential target.

February 6th, 2003, 04:41 PM
The Think towers require a certain height to have their observation platforms at the same level as the WTC's. They even need to be taller because they are wider. It's a matter both of symbolism and proportions.

February 6th, 2003, 05:27 PM
I think people are going to say that THINK's towers wouldn't count as buildings anyway. That they shouldn't be measured with the other tall skyscrapers of the world. They're huge jungle gyms. If some other city built them and tried to call 'em the biggest buildings in the world, I'd discount that the same way people don't count the CN Tower.

February 6th, 2003, 05:52 PM
Christian is absolutley right about the proportions in THINK. It must be the same as the WTC therefore with THINK's towers being wider they must also be taller.

Also, I doubt if public opinion will have anything to do with the final choice between the 2. They have picked 2 that they believe the public will accept and now it is up to the interested parties (Silverstein, Westfield, the PA, the victims families, the memorial committe) to pick their favorite of the 2.

I am very afraid that THINK will be scaled down to around 1300ft or less.