View Full Version : Ground Zero Designers Asked for Revisions

February 13th, 2003, 01:40 AM

Ground Zero Designers Are Asked for Revisions

The two teams of architects working on designs for the World Trade Center site have been asked to modify their plans to address engineering problems in the pit at the site, according to people involved in the rebuilding effort.

In the two weeks since the two finalists were announced, both teams, Studio Daniel Libeskind and Think, have been asked to change their designs to make room for parking, public transit and other purposes in the "bathtub," the seven-acre hole on the western half of ground zero, beneath the spots where the twin towers stood.

Those requests for changes have angered some relatives of the attack victims, who hold that the entire bathtub down to the bedrock, more than 70 feet below ground level is sacred because so many of the dead were found there.

The two opposing views are likely to clash today when officials from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are to meet with victims' families to review plans for the site. In addition, one of the most vocal advocacy groups for the relatives is to meet with Gov. George E. Pataki today to describe their concerns about the rebuilding.

Mr. Libeskind, whose proposal for the site is centered on a memorial in the bathtub, has been asked to reconfigure his design to raise the floor of the memorial area to roughly 25 feet below ground level, people involved in the rebuilding effort said.

That would allow several floors to be built across the bathtub beneath the memorial. Those floors would brace the concrete slurry walls that keep out groundwater, as similar floors did in the original trade center basement, and also provide parking for visitors' buses.

Similarly, the Think team has been asked to modify its tall latticework cultural towers, possibly making them shorter than their proposed 1,665 feet, altering the base of the frames and changing the elements that would be housed within them.

As currently conceived, the foundations of at least one of the towers would conflict with the underground PATH station, which is also being rebuilt in the bathtub. One option being considered is to flare the base of the towers, making them similar to the Eiffel Tower's base and thereby avoiding the underground PATH structures.

Rebuilding officials also have asked the Think team to reconsider the number and kind of buildings installed in the towers. "More elements equals more elevators," said Roland Betts, a development corporation board member who is chairman of the task force overseeing the site design competition. "And more elevators means they look less like spindly towers than like something with a solid core."

The Think architects originally proposed building a 9/11 Interpretive Museum between the two towers, touching the points on the new towers corresponding to the spots where the hijacked airplanes hit the two towers on Sept. 11, 2001. That symbolism has been regarded as too heavy-handed by some rebuilding officials and architecture professionals, and the team has been asked to move the museum lower, perhaps to the 35th floor or so.

The Libeskind team has also been asked to reconsider several other features, including the semicircular ramp that it designed to stretch over West Street as it descends into the ground zero site. In addition to some officials' belief that the ramp would interfere with the rebuilt Winter Garden at the World Financial Center, there is a feeling that long pedestrian ramps are often unpopular in public spaces.

Several aspects of Mr. Libeskind's proposal for the excavated bathtub pose problems. Mr. Libeskind had originally proposed building a second bathtub on the eastern part of the site for parking and other facilities that would have been in the bathtub. After examination, officials decided there was not enough room there, since much of the space will be needed for mechanical systems of the other buildings that will eventually be put on the site.

That leaves the option of raising the floor of the bathtub memorial site and using the space underneath. George Tamaro, who works for Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers and is serving as a consultant to the Port Authority on issues regarding the slurry wall, said in an interview that the wall could be held up by using several support floors at its lower levels and by erecting buttressing closer to ground level.

In addition to needing support, Mr. Tamaro said, the wall would suffer if it continued to be exposed to the elements. As it freezes and thaws, the wall will contract and expand, leading to leaks and possible failures.

People involved in the rebuilding effort said the state and city officials overseeing the effort were not likely to ask the architects to add more office space to their designs.

Rather, the amount of space could be left vague, to give developers flexibility to account for demand.

February 13th, 2003, 03:08 AM
I like the idea of bringing the floor of the bathrub up.

I'm very worried that the mega-memorialists are getting a private meeting with Pataki.

Reducing the height of the lattice tower by very much is completely unacceptable.

Flairing the bottoms of the lattice towers out could be OK.

Filling the towers will turn them into something different but that might not be a bad thing.

Reworking both Libeskind's circular ramp and THINK's flying ramps is a good idea.

I'll be very interested to see what happens and if new renderings will be released.

February 13th, 2003, 03:29 AM
I like your thoughts and observations JM.
I tend to concur with those ideas on a regular basis!

(Edited by amigo32 at 4:30 am on Feb. 13, 2003)

February 13th, 2003, 08:46 AM
Those requests for changes have angered some relatives of the attack victims, who hold that the entire bathtub down to the bedrock, more than 70 feet below ground level is sacred because so many of the dead were found there.
Agglomeration: You were right!
Hopefully, since this is an engineering issue, logic will prevail.

Since the Think towers are wider than the originals, they should be taller to have the same aspect.

I figured the ramps would go in both plans. Pataki has pretty much endorsed on to the short tunnel, as has CB1.

February 13th, 2003, 09:45 AM
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=7029386&BRD=1841&PAG=461&dept_id=1 12709&rfi=6

February 16th, 2003, 02:08 PM
I can't believe libeskind is one of the finalist!!!!!