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Thread: Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

  1. #16

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    Bus garages !
    That would be intolerable. Don't they have any respect ?

  2. #17
    Senior Member
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    Chicago, Illinois

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    Right on! I wonder how they can reconcile the image of the site, with emphasis on the area of the Towers, Hotel, and WTC5 ( I think it was)- as sacred ground and yet have a bus garage/terminal underneath.

  3. #18

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    An optimist's view:

    Why the brouhaha over a bus garage??? *There's already going to be a subway tube running under the memorial site and the bus garage will be totally hidden and out of the public's view (and their perception). *The alternative is to send them to somebody else's back yard. *Does this mean we must also reroute any sewer and electric utilities that may happen to run under the site?

    I think it is much wiser to utilize the space for something useful and create a fitting memorial above it. *This is a logical and practical compromise; especially considering how precious space is in that part of the city. *

    And as for those people who are lobbying to expand the size of the memorial site; why propose half way measures - lets level everything south of Canal Street and turn it into a really big memorial park; or better yet, everything south of 57th Street, that should create enough room to make a really nice memorial!

    I think the Libeskind plan is well conceived and the area provided is perfectly adequate to create a spectacular and memorable monument to 9/11. *Sometimes it's best to just accept what is and trust the decision making process - this pointless bickering over trifles is unseemly; I compare it to jousting with windmills. *

    Don't worry about it, it's time to move forward. *Everything will turn out just fine in the end!

  4. #19

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    Some comments I remember from the PA presentation to CB1 (when the PA took a neutral stance on the subject of the bus garage).

    There was concern that a bus garage would eventually become a bus terminal.

    CB1 position was that they could not find a site in lower Manhattan for commuter bus parking - there was no alternative to on site parking except street parking.

    The PA stated that there would have to be other facilities
    located under the memorial. The structure that can be seen against the southern wall is power for PATH.

    I may be wrong about this one - PA stated that by law, some underground parking must be provided.

    Some suggested that underground bus parking is ok, as long as the two footprints are not touched. PA stated that this would severely reduce the number of buses that could be parked. Also, the entrance ramp (for trucks also) would be on the NW at Vesey, and this ramp would intrude on the north tower footprint.

    Underground loading docks will be necessary.

  5. #20
    Banned Member
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    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    The families of thousands of victims have assumed a proprietary interest in the development of the site. *They advocate for a place for family members to go to comtemplate their loss. *Yet, they are adverse to putting a bus garage on the site to accommodate visitors. *

    Now, I am guessing that, if the PA proposed a bus garage for victims families only, they would somehow find a way to justify it.

    To not include a bus garage would be a monumental failure in the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan and the creation of a TRUE transportation hub.

  6. #21

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    Quote: from BrooklynRider on 7:49 pm on July 3, 2003

    To not include a bus garage would be a monumental failure in the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan and the creation of a TRUE transportation hub.
    A failure ?
    Certainly not.
    I believe this will be the most advanced bus garage in the world.

  7. #22

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    This New York Times article succinctly summarizes the debate:

    Posted on Sun, Jul. 06, 2003 *

    Sept. 11 memorial to drive debates
    By Edward Wyatt

    NEW YORK - For months the talk about the World Trade Center site has concerned office space, building designs, street grids, transit hubs and financing, but last week attention turned to what many people first thought of immediately after Sept. 11 -- a memorial to the dead.

    June 30 was the last day for entries in the competition to design the memorial to the 3,022 victims of the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and the 1993 trade center bombing.

    By the 5 p.m. deadline, thousands of proposals, enough to fill a caravan of delivery trucks, had been received at a nondescript, six-story warehouse on West 36th Street in Manhattan. The final entries trickled in for more than an hour after the deadline.

    The contest is already expected to be the largest design competition ever, more than twice the size of the effort to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

    Little more is likely to be heard about the proposals until September, when about five finalists are supposed to be announced.

    Entrants are forbidden to discuss their proposals, and the jury will review the submissions anonymously in an attempt, rebuilding officials say, to avoid the kind of political pressure that so infused the selection of Daniel Libeskind's overall design for the site.

    While the winning entry, to be selected in October, will serve as the centerpiece of an attraction that is expected to draw millions of visitors each year to Lower Manhattan, it also must resolve several issues that have not become any less pressing with the passing months.

    Among them is whether Libeskind's setting, with its exposed foundation walls and recessed memorial site, can be reconciled with the wishes of the victims' families, downtown residents, businessmen, architects, developers and politicians.

    All have tried to shape the site's future to fit their own desires.

    "This is a unique process that will bring together all the lessons we learned as a result of the site planning," Kevin Rampe, the president of the development corporation, said in an interview last week.

    "The result will be a function of what we have said our intent was all along, that the memorial will be the centerpiece of all our efforts."

    Rebuilding officials have insisted that the winning memorial must be faithful to Libeskind's plan.

    Several officials acknowledge privately that far from the memorial being held hostage to the Libeskind plan, the memorial design itself is likely to drive many if not most of the decisions about the future of the trade center's development.

    "The whole debate will change in six months," one rebuilding official said. "Once there is a concrete memorial plan, people will expect that to be maintained, and the question facing all of the other developments on the site will be, 'Does it work in relation to the memorial?'"

    That is why, perhaps, that for all of the emotional upheaval and political jockeying caused by the contest for the overall design, many insiders predicted that the difficulties would only increase as the memorial decision drew closer.

    Already, that has begun to happen.

    Entrants in the memorial competition were encouraged by jury members to think broadly, and several people who entered the competition said privately that they hoped to undo elements of the Libeskind plan.

    Family members of Sept. 11 victims, believed to be speaking with one voice immediately following the attacks, have splintered into several groups.

    Relatives and friends of firefighters dominated a recent public hearing on the memorial with their insistence that rescue workers receive separate recognition in a memorial for their efforts.

    A separate group of family members has campaigned for the preservation, "from bedrock to infinity," of all of the area within the trade center's foundation walls.

    That would exclude more than half of the site's 16 acres from new development, not only at the surface but also underground, where much of the transportation system is already being rebuilt.

    That group, known as the Coalition of 9/11 Families, which wants the federal government to take over the memorial development, also enlisted former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to lobby for their case.

    Downtown residents and businessmen, including two directors of the development corporation, have pushed for moving the memorial from 30 feet below ground level, where Libeskind would have it, to ground level.

    That would allow residents and downtown workers to easily cross the site to reach the planned transportation hub, retail stores and office buildings.

    Larry A. Silverstein, the leaseholder on the planned commercial space at the site, has publicly said he intends to work with Libeskind. But behind the scenes he has aggressively pushed to alter Libeskind's designs and proposed to move around some elements of the site plan, including the signature 1,776-foot tower.

    Although construction of those buildings will not be completed for years, their locations must be settled soon to provide for the completion of underground structures, like concourses to move passengers around the transportation complex.

    Broader questions also continue to hang over the site. Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who have agreed on little in recent months, have resumed a public battle over which entity will have jurisdiction over the site.

    The choices are the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the property, or the city, whose economic future will be greatly influenced by the rebuilding effort.

    For all those issues, what rebuilding officials fear most, they say, is that when the finalists are presented to the public next fall, the public will spurn them all, much as occurred a year ago when six initial site plans for the trade center property were rejected as unimaginative.

    The problem is compounded by the requirements of the competition. Entrants were restricted to displaying their design concepts in two-dimensional images on a single, rectangular piece of presentation board, measuring about 30 inches across and 40 inches tall.

    Whether such simple drawings will capture what it will be like to stand within the 4.7-acre memorial site is a very real question.

    Anita Contini, the development corporation official overseeing the competition, has spoken frequently about the breathtakingly simple drawings used by Maya Lin as part of her winning entry for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the difficulty that many people had translating them into an understanding of what the memorial would become.

  8. #23

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    several people who entered the competition said privately that they hoped to undo elements of the Libeskind plan.

    Can they do that ?

    Well, whether they can or not is not the real issue. Now, there's an easy excuse to alter Libeskind's plan if necessary.
    Making the memorial a priority was very smart. The numerous proposals for the memorial will offer endless possibilities for the rest of the site.

  9. #24

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    Actually, the rules of the LMDC WTC Memorial Competition did leave the door open for designers to make changes to the overall site plan

    In my opinion the jury will select a memorial design that fits within the plan envisioned by Daniel Libeskind.

  10. #25

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    But only if they want to keep him.
    If the man proves to be more rigid than he was supposed to...

  11. #26

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    A reminder of the Childs/Libeskind connection, from a Chicago Tribune article last year...

    A huge skyscraper eyed for Ground Zero -- and why it might soar
    Blair Kamin, Tribune architecture critic
    Published June 6, 2002

    For months, the conventional wisdom about putting up new skyscrapers at ground zero has gone like this: They should rise no more than 50, maybe 70, stories because nobody will want to rent office space in a gigantic high-rise that could serve as a bull's-eye for fanatics.

    But another idea has surfaced in recent days, and it ought to be debated around the nation before the multibillion-dollar, federally backed rebuilding project gets under way: Build something monumental. Not a replica of the twin towers, but a bold architectural statement that would restore a jolt of thrilling verticality to a skyline that now looks fairly uniform in height and therefore rather dull. *

    This view has taken hold among the architects drawing up plans for Larry Silverstein, the developer who owns the lease to the World Trade Center.

    The architects, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of New York, have quietly drafted plans for an office building that would rise at least 1,300 feet, roughly the same height as the twin towers, they revealed to the Tribune this week.

    A soaring skyscraper also appears to be winning support among ordinary citizens, many of whom have joined with influential civic groups in recent years to oppose supertall buildings on the grounds that the megatowers cast enormous shadows and blot out the sky.

    Consider what Jonathan Hakala of Hoboken, N.J., a venture capitalist who worked on the 77th floor of 1 World Trade Center, had to say at a May 23 public hearing about rebuilding lower Manhattan: "If you're going to put buildings on the site, build one of the seven modern wonders of the world, and please give us a skyline that will once again cause our spirits to soar."

    Hundreds of people at the meeting cheered his remarks. But perhaps all of us should applaud.

    Why not think again about scraping the sky, especially now that the last piece of steel has been removed from ground zero? Surely that idea should be on the agenda now that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the Trade Center site, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the city-state agency spearheading the rebuilding, have chosen the New York City architectural firm of Beyer Blinder Belle to draw up a range of development plans for the 16-acre site as a whole.

    Properly handled, a very tall tower could complement, rather than compete with, the memorial that will be built at ground zero. It would act as a kind of campanile that would beckon pilgrims to the site. It also would make permanent the link to the heavens suggested by the ghostly vertical beams of the temporary "Tribute in Light" memorial, which captivated Americans in March and April.

    This is not a call to erect the world's tallest building, a chest-thumping, let's-show-'em display of America's global economic might that would repeat the overwrought gigantism of the twin towers. Height, in this case, is less important than what a very tall building can achieve -- a poetic spiritual statement rather than a raw assertion of power.

    The key to making such a statement is that the identity of a skyscraper is relative. It has to be significantly taller than the buildings around it. Otherwise, it's just another urban foothill, not a mountain that commands the eye. Whatever one thought of the boxy and banal towers of the Trade Center, no one could deny their power to mark the view of lower Manhattan like a pair of giant totem poles.

    "It gave purpose and a focus to that whole urban assembly," said David Childs, the Skidmore partner who is working with Silverstein. "So when it was gone, the void was even sharper."

    For precisely that reason, it has been difficult to get excited about the public pronouncements coming from Silverstein post-Sept. 11. Since the terrorist attacks, the developer has maintained that he wants to build four or five office buildings of roughly 50 to 70 stories.

    Of course, his caution is understandable. "People are jittery enough in New York that developers feel that it's too risky to build something supertall," says Carol Willis, director of The Skyscraper Museum in New York. "There isn't a market for those top floors. Developers are likely reflecting the still-shocked and stricken character of all of our psyches."

    In the last 20 years, she adds, influential New Yorkers have turned against plans for megatowers, like the tallest building schemes developer Donald Trump has unsuccessfully floated for lower Manhattan and the city's upper West Side. "People march and say, `We don't like the shadows. Our children will turn pale and sickly,'" Willis says. "New York did not have the civic appetite for tall buildings. They had civic advocates actively yelling against adventurous buildings."

    Behind the scenes, however, with Silverstein's apparent approval, Skidmore has been working on conceptual plans for a very tall tower -- one that might rise to roughly the same height as 1 World Trade Center and its sister, 2 World Trade Center, which were, respectively, 1,368 and 1,362 feet tall.

    The tower also could be shorter, perhaps 1,300 feet or 1,350 feet, but it clearly would be no ordinary office building. It would contain about 65 to 70 stories of office floors, with the highest of those floors reaching 900 feet or more. Above them would be an empty vertical space, enclosed in a skeletal extension of the building's superstructure, making it visible to passersby. This chamber of air, which would be 300 to 400 feet tall, would soar ethereally toward the clouds.

    At its summit, the building "would begin to dissolve like the branches of a tree," Childs said. Silverstein, he added, is "greatly intrigued" with the proposal, which calls for the tower to shift from a rectangular base shaped by the city street grid to a circular top.

    Childs declined to make an image of the design available for publication, saying it remains in the conceptual stage.

    Still, having seen an architectural model of the design, I can observe that it's a clever plan -- a way for the developer, his architect and all of New York, perhaps, to have things both ways. You don't want to be in an office above 70 stories? The proposal doesn't go above that limit. You want a soaring, inspiring memorial? The plan accommodates that desire too.

    But Child's plan is more than merely clever; it has the potential to be profound. The essence of its skyline statement would be absence, not presence, a void rather than a solid -- an idea that seems exquisitely appropriate to memorialize the 2,823 people killed in the attacks. It also turns out to be a form that architects have explored before, though not to memorialize such tragic events.

    In 1988, for instance, the French architect Jean Nouvel won an architectural competition for an office building in the La Defense section of Paris with a design for a cylindrical, glass-walled tower called "La Tour San Fins," or the Tower of Infinity. The project was intended, oddly enough, to serve as a world trade center, one that would cater to French or international companies that needed office space in the capital.

    The visual trademark of the Tower of Infinity was that it became more transparent as it rose, shifting from a base of polished black granite to a clear glass top that would merge imperceptibly with the often-overcast Paris sky. At 1,400 feet, the project would have been Europe's tallest building. But the recession of the late 1980s stymied its construction. Even so, like other unbuilt competition schemes, Nouvel's design has lived on in architectural books and lectures, and it now appears to be an idea whose time has come.

    The rub, of course, is money. At first glance, it seems silly to ask a profit-minded developer to put a void as tall as a football field at the top of his skyscraper. Even if no one wanted to rent that space, the extra structure will surely cost millions of dollars, perhaps making the plan unfeasible. But this is no ordinary office building. Perhaps, citing the national need for a great monument to heal the wounds of Sept. 11, the federal government could subsidize this part of the skyscraper, easing the developer's burden.

    Certainly, the plan has practical advantages. Because such a tower would have fewer office floors than the 110-story World Trade Center, it would not require the large number of elevators needed to ferry people to the top of a supertall building. These elevators take up room that might otherwise go to profitable office space and make such skyscrapers, in the words of structural engineers, "inefficient."

    But the principal advantages would be symbolic. By poetically connecting the earth and the sky, a very tall building topped by a memorial would build on the foundation of the "Tribute in Light" and its twin beams of ghostly blue lights shooting into the sky. The top of such a building could be tastefully illuminated from within, forming a permanent tribute to the victims and heroes of Sept. 11.

    A memorial tower also could be an integral part of the ensemble of buildings and public spaces at ground zero, including the memorial that seems likely to be built in the footprints of the twin towers. Indeed, the tower and the memorial might perfectly complement one another. The tower would act as a "skyline marker" that would draw people to the memorial. The memorial, meanwhile, would open a swath of ground-level space so people could see the tower from top to bottom, as they can so rarely do in Manhattan's crowded cityscape.

    Yet for all these apparent plusses, it is less important to focus on a single proposal for the Trade Center site than to explore the concept of height. Certainly, other ideas could work. It would be foolish to close off options at this point.

    Whatever its design, a soaring tower would fill the haunting gap that now exists in the lower Manhattan skyline. Just to the west of the World Trade Center, Connecticut architect Cesar Pelli designed the 40- to 50-story office buildings of the World Financial Center to be "foothills" to the "mountains" of the twin towers. Now, with the mountains gone, the foothills seem lost, in search of the 110-story backdrops that served as their aesthetic foils.

    Some will pronounce it foolhardy to build a new symbolic tower in lower Manhattan because such a building would invite another terrorist attack. But as the federal report on the Trade Center's collapse noted, the key to protecting tall buildings and other symbolic structures rests not with a new wave of fortifications, but with better airport, airplane and airspace security.

    Beyer Blinder Belle has a July 1 deadline to submit six proposals to the board of the Port Authority and the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation. Those plans will be narrowed to three or fewer by Sept 1, with a final blueprint to be selected by Dec. 1.

    There is a fundamental issue at play here: How do we creatively respond to the challenge of memorializing the dead while going on with the process of living? Are we content to diminish both the heights of our skyscrapers and our aesthetic expectations for fear of another catastrophic terrorist attack.

    This much seems clear: If we want what rises in lower Manhattan to be the stirring tribute that the victims and heroes of Sept. 11 deserve, then it's high time to think again about height.

    Copyright 2003, Chicago Tribune

  12. #27

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    So SOM has been working silently. Good. That's for a reason.

  13. #28

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    Then the question is more obvious.

    What the hell is Silverstein doing?

  14. #29
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    New York City

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    This is not really new in itself, one could easily have inferred this from what has been said about that tower from the beginning.

    What is new, however, is the idea of thinking tall again as a non-blasphemous idea. *We could actually think about tall buildings in Manhattan as a *good* concept. What a novel idea! *(slight sarcasm included for effect)

    I bet that Silverstein does a power play here with this idea. *Sure, keep those floor empty and get the subsidies. *Then, when our collective heads get back into things, put floors in and rent the space.

  15. #30

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    Quote: from tonyo on 6:20 pm on July 7, 2003
    I bet that Silverstein does a power play here with this idea. *Sure, keep those floor empty and get the subsidies. *Then, when our collective heads get back into things, put floors in and rent the space.
    Problem is, by then it would be too late. *Would the building be designed with enough elevators for future office workers above? *Probably not. *It sounds like the upper portion of the building won't have very large floorplates either. *It could work better with apartments, but that's not likely.

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