PDA

View Full Version : Designs Leave Blanks For 9/11 Memorial



amigo32
February 12th, 2003, 05:11 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/12/nyregion/12MEMO.html

Designs Leave Blanks for 9/11 Memorial Contest to Fill
By EDWARD WYATT

When rebuilding officials selected the finalists for the design of the World Trade Center site, their choices instantly raised a difficult question: In light of the finalists' designs for memorials to victims of the attack of Sept. 11, 2001, what is left for a memorial competition?

Plenty, according to the architects. They say their site plans Daniel Libeskind's, with a deep pit remaining at ground zero, and the Think group's plan, featuring tall cultural towers offer acres of space, spread over multiple parts of the site, that could be the subject of the memorial competition.

The suggestion may puzzle some critics, who have noted that the defining element of each design is the attention it pays to the memorial, rather than to commercial buildings, parkland, transportation or any of the other myriad uses of what was one of downtown's most heavily trafficked plots of land. The winning finalist is to be chosen by the end of the month; then a memorial design competition is to begin, with a goal of choosing a design by Sept. 11, the second anniversary of the attack.

"It's an obvious reaction: Is it a moot point to have a competition?" said Claire Weisz, co-executive director of the Design Trust for Public Space, a nonprofit organization, and a member of a task force that reviewed aspects of the architects' designs for New York New Visions, a civic group. She said she believed that it was not moot. "The designs still leave a lot of territory for determining what a specific person's memorial design might be," she said.

Anita Contini, a vice president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation who is overseeing the memorial development, agrees. "Both of these designs present a fitting context for the memorial and allow for a wide variety of artistic interpretation," she said.

The architects themselves say they expect the memorial competition to produce ideas that could alter the current perceptions of their designs. Mr. Libeskind, for example, acknowledges that the pit, 70 feet deep, that is at the center of his design has been interpreted by some people as harsh and perhaps too dominating for a public space.

"Many people took that site itself as the memorial," Mr. Libeskind said. "But I think what I drew is really the site for the development of a memorial. There could be anything down there: water or trees or vegetation. It should not just be a stark place and a reminder of the devastation, but it should also have something hopeful and lyrical about it."

Frederic Schwartz, a member of the Think team, said a memorial designer could also approach his team's site in numerous ways, beginning with the several locations, totaling roughly 10 acres, that could serve as part of a memorial.

The platforms near the tops of the two towers, for example, are intended as memorial sites, as are the footprints of the original twin towers, each of which is encircled by one of the latticework towers.

In addition, Mr. Schwartz said, the approximately seven-acre area bounded by West, Fulton, Greenwich and Liberty Streets, surrounding the base of the towers, could also be a location of aspects of a memorial. Though the Think team originally planned on a reflecting pool to cover that area, that idea has been scrapped, he said.

The team is also considering designating two small adjacent blocks along West Street as open spaces suitable for use as part of a memorial: one, to the north, bordered by Greenwich, Fulton and Vesey, and one to the south bordered by Greenwich, Liberty and Cedar.

The way that participants in the memorial competition will address those various spaces is hard to foresee, Ms. Weisz said. At least some are likely to consider the element of time: that is, what does the memorial say to visitors now, when the meaning of Sept. 11 is still being interpreted, and what is it likely to say 15 years from now?

Mr. Libeskind has addressed that by conceiving the Wedge of Light, part of the site where sunlight would shine once a year, on Sept. 11, from the time the plane hit the north tower until the time the tower collapsed. The Think team has also done so, with towers where the use of cultural elements will change over time.

"I think the competition will bring out ideas that very much are about how the places could evolve over time, as world history evolves and our understanding of what happened evolves," Ms. Weisz said.

Some people already have firm ideas about the meaning of the event. At public hearings last month, several people spoke out saying they wanted it made clear that the attack on the trade center was a terrorist act, and that the victims were murdered, not merely killed.

Ms. Contini of the development corporation said that public comments are being reviewed and that possible changes to the memorial documents will be discussed with the drafting committees to prepare for the competition. The corporation is expected to hire consultants soon to oversee elements of the memorial competition, which will be judged by an independent jury.

"This competition will, I think, be different from what has been done before," Ms. Contini said. "The submissions will address not only the memorial site, but how that relates to the overall trade center site. Much as we did with the site plans, I expect that we will see teams made up of people from a variety of disciplines collaborating with each other."

JMGarcia
February 12th, 2003, 07:02 PM
This is exactly what I've been saying.


Mr. Libeskind, for example, acknowledges that the pit, 70 feet deep, that is at the center of his design has been interpreted by some people as harsh and perhaps too dominating for a public space.

"Many people took that site itself as the memorial," Mr. Libeskind said. "But I think what I drew is really the site for the development of a memorial. There could be anything down there: water or trees or vegetation. It should not just be a stark place and a reminder of the devastation, but it should also have something hopeful and lyrical about it."



The platforms near the tops of the two towers, for example, are intended as memorial sites, as are the footprints of the original twin towers, each of which is encircled by one of the latticework towers.

In addition, Mr. Schwartz said, the approximately seven-acre area bounded by West, Fulton, Greenwich and Liberty Streets, surrounding the base of the towers, could also be a location of aspects of a memorial. Though the Think team originally planned on a reflecting pool to cover that area, that idea has been scrapped, he said.


You can't take the current designs as is when it comes to the memorial. Libeskind won't end up with an empty pit and THINK's outside platforms won't just be public observation areas.

ZippyTheChimp
February 12th, 2003, 07:51 PM
I'm glad the reflecting pools were eliminated from Think.

Libeskind provides the most latitude to a memorial designer.

Think is the only plan that guarantees anything tall.
However, because the towers would be built with public funds, there has been talk of reducing the size.

Agglomeration
February 12th, 2003, 11:09 PM
Whatever happens, let's hope this memorial process doesn't give leverage to the mega-memorialists to try to hijack total control of the WTC site. At the very least we need at least half the site for development.

(Edited by Agglomeration at 10:09 pm on Feb. 12, 2003)

ZippyTheChimp
February 13th, 2003, 12:02 AM
I'm pretty sure the maximum area for a memorial is set for either plan. Unless there are more surprises.

JMGarcia
February 13th, 2003, 06:27 PM
Think is the only plan that guarantees anything tall.
However, because the towers would be built with public funds, there has been talk of reducing the size.

This to me is the whole quandry.

THINK will guarantee a tall structure but how much will it be reduced? It will also provides enough office space for Silverstein without him going over 750 ft. Between that fact and the fact that no tall office tower will be built on the site so as not to overshadow the lattice towers there is virtually no chance of adding anything but the lattice towers to the skyline.

The Libeskind plan provides the only chance of a tall office tower(s). As is, it doesn't provide all the office space Silverstein wants and the Garden Tower is weak and could better accomodate a tall office tower. If I was 100% sure that the market would accept high office space then I would support Libeskind without reservation. I'm not 100% sure and therefore still can't really decide between the 2. The reduction in height of the lattice towers might make up my mind for me but probably any reduction wouldn't happen before a choice is made and they'd slip it in later.

ZippyTheChimp
February 13th, 2003, 06:57 PM
I've given up trying to judge these plans based on building heights.

I prefer the Libeskind street plan.
I'm starting to like the idea of public towers.
The Libeskind memorial would be even better with a more shallow pit.

The problem I have with these towers is that I can't visualize them from up close (especially since what goes inside is arbitrary).

I agree that if it was certain that the towers were going to be reduced, I would reject it.

If they're not careful, they could wind up looking like gas storage tanks.