View Full Version : Gardens taken out of the "garden" tower

March 4th, 2003, 09:09 AM
Withering Gardens
Communications equipment supplants plants in WTC plan
By Blair Kamin
CHICAGO TRIBUNE. March 4, 2003

Soaring gardens that were a distinctive feature of the winning design for the former World Trade Center site were removed and replaced by communications equipment before the design was selected last week, redevelopment officials said yesterday.

Architect Daniel Libeskind's original proposal called for gardens to occupy the upper reaches of a 1,776-foot skyscraper, a gesture he said would "affirm life" after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. As final changes were made, the gardens were supplanted by communications equipment, which could generate millions of dollars in fees from companies who want to beam their signals from what will be one of the world's tallest structures.

More than 100 television and radio antennae, as well as cell phone transmitters, were lost in the destruction of the Twin Towers.

The gardens are "not part of the scheme at the moment, but that doesn't mean they won't be later," said Alexander Garvin, vice president for planning, design and development at the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

George Hargreaves, the Cambridge, Mass.-based landscape architect on Libeskind's team, confirmed that the gardens "were taken out of the concept for commercial reasons."

Gardens still might be incorporated in the top of the skyscraper, most likely in an observatory and restaurants, he said.

"The idea is still alive, but it's reduced," Hargreaves said. "My hope is to get two or three floors of it back in amongst all the telecommunications equipment going in the top of the building."

The fate of the gardens underscores how economic forces led to changes in Libeskind's proposal and are sure to have a major impact on whatever rises at the 16-acre site. In the winning design, the amount of planned office space rose to at least 10 million square feet, compared to the 7.6 million Libeskind originally suggested.

Originally, "Gardens of the World" would have begun at the 70th story and would have risen at least 300 feet toward the tower's summit, Hargreaves said. The gardens would have been stacked in zones roughly five stories high and would have included plants from at least five ecosystems - alpine tundra, desert, rainforest, savanna, and temperate deciduous, he said.

Visitors might have traveled in an elevator to the different zones or taken stairs from one zone to another, Hargreaves said. The idea was to create a park in the sky.

"We were taking a global approach," Hargreaves said. "That's one thing about ecology and the environment. It doesn't recognize national boundaries."

Critics questioned whether the plan was practical and whether visitors would have wanted to visit a sky-high park.

The Libeskind team eliminated the vertical garden idea after team members received comments funneled to them by the LMDC, Hargreaves said. "Developers didn't exactly love it," he said. "That's typical of any [design] competition. It's no holds barred, and then you get a dose of economic reality."

"This will change 15 times before we're done," he said of the winning design. "What we have to concentrate on is the public realm," such as streets, the parks and the railroad stations. "That's what we know will happen."

Blair Kamin is the architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Co. newspaper.

March 4th, 2003, 09:17 AM
I kind of assumed this would happen. Putting trees that generate no money but would cost who knows how much to maintain at the top of the tallest buildiing in the world is just the kind pie-in-the-sky idea that never leaves the pretty concept sketches. Lets just hope any other change due to commercial reasons would beef up that spire...

March 4th, 2003, 11:42 AM
Incorporate both the gardens & broadcast tower!

Do both...keep the gardens on a more limited scale...2 stories each of the 5 different zones...10 stories total. Have restaurants dedicated to 2 stories...one at the beginning of the gardens and one at the top or end of the gardens. Then, you would have the observation area above that and then the broadcast equipment on the last 3-5 stories.

Raise the roof to 1776 feet...the broadcast antenna to 2001 feet...keeping the symbolism of our nation's commencement and 9/11 2001 alive!!!

Raise the height of the attached crystal tower by 200 feet to 1325 feet...fully occupied and the second crystal tower to 1300 feet.

I agree...the garden tower will be beefed up...bigger floor plates to add for the broadcast antenna. Moreover, if we add the restaurants, observation and keep the gardens...tourists WILL COME BY THE 1000'S and the tower will need to be LARGER, MORE ROBUST TO SUPPORT THE TRAFFIC...DEMAND!!!

Meantime, keep the pressure on Pataki, Silverstein, LMDC, Bloomberg.

March 4th, 2003, 01:38 PM
As final changes were made, the gardens were supplanted by communications equipment

This is slowly turning into the broadcasting tower that was proposed for Bayonne.
I bet they'll even consider separating the office buildings and the communication tower.
That would comfort those who still believe that another attack is inevitable.

March 4th, 2003, 02:34 PM
It's hard enough taking care of gardens on the ground.

I hope the observation deck or floor has an outside feature.

March 4th, 2003, 03:34 PM
Yeah, me too. It's more exhilarating when you can feel the breeze.

March 4th, 2003, 04:47 PM
I've been scrutinizing the rendering in Time Magazine, and if get it right, then, no, there's no outdoor observatory.
Of course, how much can you tell from that rendering ?
The article also says something funny that cheered me up :

"If you want to make God laugh, (...) tell him your plans".

(Edited by Fabb at 4:48 pm on Mar. 4, 2003)

March 4th, 2003, 05:10 PM
They are taking a picture of the WTC site every day (or every hour...something) so in ten years we'll be able to watch a movie of the rebirth and growth of the WTC.

They could probably do the same thing with the plans. Five years from now we can see how it morphed from what it is now to what it will actually be. Both would likely be astonishing.

March 4th, 2003, 11:44 PM
I think the actual project is going to look completely different in the end, then from the current plans

NYC Rocks
March 5th, 2003, 04:41 PM
Hey, NYC at Knight, I heard about that picture thing. I heard it a while ago. Do you have a website on it? I've been wanting to know where to go to look for that when it comes out. Thx

Oh yeah, btw divinci is a genius, he said: "Raise the roof to 1776 feet...the broadcast antenna to 2001 feet...keeping the symbolism of our nation's commencement and 9/11 2001 alive!!! "

March 5th, 2003, 05:08 PM
Don't know about any website, sorry.....