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Thread: Rate the new WTC plans

  1. #16

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    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.

  2. #17

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    From the Independent today *(

    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.

  3. #18

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    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.

  4. #19

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    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.

  5. #20

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    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.


    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.

  6. #21

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    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.

  7. #22

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    1) FOSTER: B+
    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...

    3) THINK: C
    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.

  8. #23

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    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.

  9. #24

    Default Rate the new WTC plans


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



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


    THINK's skypark

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


    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.


  10. #25

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    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).

  11. #26

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    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)

  12. #27

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    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)

  13. #28

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    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.

  14. #29

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    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.

  15. #30

    Default Rate the new WTC plans

    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.

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