Page 5 of 5 FirstFirst 12345
Results 61 to 69 of 69

Thread: Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

  1. #61

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    Childs, his collaborator, confirmed that the tower's development will closely track Libeskind's design. It will be 1,776 feet tall, with an antenna, probably in the same location as Libeskind planned it, and with a "strong and meaningful relationship with the Statue of Liberty."

    Childs added a caveat, though:

    "But of course, everything is subject to the evolution of a design, of which Danny will be a part." And that evolution continued, most recently, when development officials appointed yet another big-ticket architect, Santiago Calatrava, to design the transportation terminal that is also a key feature of Libeskind's Ground Zero plan.
    I am wondering more about the unfolding at the DB property. If Silverstein and the PA is to buy it and transfer to the WTC site, the land transfer would subtract from their own insurance compensation, while the property is off site and with different insurers. But wouldnt it be cheaper to build onsite than to buy additional parcels, and recompense with the skinny of the on-site.

    Question #2.

    If Silverstein and the PA purchase the parcel how much do they dish out? Again its senseless. But I suppose DB would rebuild as developer and eventually put the buyer in the red, especially if their own financing doesnt include additional land appropriation.


    Im hoping the DB Bank can be repaired, or you guys can settle this issue for me.

  2. #62

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    First, I doubt if Silverstein will purchase it. It is more likely to by sold to the PA or even taken by eminent domain by the city and given to the PA. Silverstein's lease will be expanded to cover it. Secondly, I doubt that DB wants to be responsible for rebuilding it themselves - its just too politically charged- but you never know.

    The reason that its likely is too fold. There are complaints the site will be too crowded with all 10 million sq. ft. directly on site and Silverstein won't go higher. So silly.

  3. #63

    Default Keeping the Vision at Ground Zero

    I am not in the 'know' at all about this, but my guess is that the PA has the money to buy the property- no problem. *They will lease it to whoever, perhaps Silverstein, or Westfield, regardless, they will collect rent and recoup their investment in the land over the long term.

    My take on the DB insurance battle is that the insurers know this is coveted valuable property, worth far more without the damaged building than with it. *Why should they shell out for a building that is to be demolished, when the policyholder will pocket the cash and then sell the property for a handsome profit.

    I guess they didn't have the 'payout for rebuilding only' rider that Silverstein had on his lease.

  4. #64

  5. #65


    June 20, 2004

    The Incredible Shrinking Daniel Libeskind


    The future of ground zero as it was envisioned by Daniel Libeskind in December 2002.

    The future of ground zero as it looked to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation a year later.

    ON Feb. 27, 2003, Daniel Libeskind stood on a podium under the palm trees in the Winter Garden's soaring glass atrium — the American flag behind him, some 300 members of the press before him — and entered the architectural history books as master planner of the World Trade Center site. A model of his plan was dramatically unveiled, praised by Gov. George E. Pataki as "an emotional protection of the site of ground zero itself" and by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as restoring "lower Manhattan to its rightful place in the world." Mr. Libeskind quickly became a media darling and a bona fide cultural icon, from his spiky hair and funky rectangular glasses down to his elk-skin cowboy boots.

    Yet last week — just over a year later — when ground zero's cultural tenants were announced in the same spot, Mr. Libeskind was far less visible. He sat in the audience, one row behind officials from the city, state and Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Governor Pataki praised the new transportation hub designed by Santiago Calatrava; the memorial, designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker; and the Freedom Tower, which is being designed by David M. Childs, although Mr. Libeskind is collaborating with him. The governor only remembered to mention Mr. Libeskind at the last minute, after spotting him in the audience, saying that of course it all started with Mr. Libeskind's design.

    Mr. Libeskind, smiling back at him, seemed satisfied. But people involved with the redevelopment of downtown say he has ample reason to be disappointed; in the year since he was anointed Architect on High, his influence, control and stature have steadily diminished. "Where is Daniel at this point?" said Robert Ivy, editor in chief of Architectural Record. "Has he been marginalized? How many of his ideas remain?"

    Not many, it seems. The signature elements of his master plan — the Wedge of Light, the Park of Heroes, the exposed slurry wall — indeed, the very components that made Mr. Libeskind the emotional favorite among those competing for the job, have been altered, reduced or eliminated. With Governor Pataki determined to break ground on July 4, work is moving ahead on the Freedom Tower, but the planning is now dominated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, and by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the architectural firm hired by Larry A. Silverstein, the site's leaseholder.

    According to those with knowledge of the proceedings, Mr. Libeskind does not even attend the meetings at which the plans are currently discussed. His once gushy press has lately been dominated by controversy: his power struggle with Mr. Childs; his battle with Mr. Silverstein over his fees. Governor Pataki still publicly praises him. But the shift in the architect's position suggests that the governor may no longer be an active champion of his cause.

    To be sure, certain broad elements of Mr. Libeskind's "Memory Foundations" remain: a site divided by Fulton and Greenwich Streets into unequal quadrants, a memorial precinct in the southwest corner and an L-shaped array of office towers along Church and Vesey Streets, the highest pinnacle at the northwest corner. But in part that's a function of the political mandate to preserve the original tower footprints, limiting the number of ways the site could be arranged.

    Arguably the sole remaining trace of what made Mr. Libeskind's ideas distinctive is the spire on the Freedom Tower — and some of the people involved in downtown redevelopment say even that may not survive.

    How did it happen? How did Mr. Libeskind plunge from dominant visionary to supporting player? Several theories are currently in circulation: Mr. Libeskind had too little experience in the world of large-scale office buildings and profit-seeking New York City developers. Or he was politically savvy enough to know which battles can and can't be won. Or by nature he's less an executor of plans than a dreamer.

    To this last, Mr. Libeskind said: "Dreamers are not impractical. The world has been made by practical dreamers."

    In a recent interview at his Rector Street office near the World Trade Center site, the architect said that his plan had not so much been eclipsed as it had evolved — just as he intended it to do. "I think the plan has been going extremely well," he said. "We are absolutely on track."

    He added: "This is not one of those master plans that are going to be forced on people like the Rome of the dictators. It has to be robust enough to withstand all the complexity and all the negotiations."

    Asked whether he felt he needed to protect his original design, he said: "I'm not a guard dog. I'm a participant and I have to work with everybody."

    It's a gracious stance, but distinctly at odds with the one he took in December 2003, when Mr. Childs's design for the Freedom Tower was announced. Mr. Libeskind told The New York Post that his role from then on would be to maintain the "guardianship of the master plan."

    "When the politicians and architects and investors are long gone," he said at the time, "I'll still be on Rector Street making sure that every building on this site is dedicated to a very special moment in our history."

    Ironically, his ability to compromise — although it has only lately come into full view — may have sown the seeds at the beginning of the design process for his eventual marginalization. He was smart enough to propose a flexible plan, one that could change in response to the needs of developers and politicians. That choice made him the favorite candidate for the job, but it also made him expendable.

    MR. LIBESKIND first emerged on the scene as something of a savior. An initial round of planning for ground zero produced six designs — most of them by the firm Beyer Blinder Belle — that were generally deemed uninspired. Public disappointment in those results sent the development corporation back to the drawing board, and in Round Two Mr. Libeskind, who was supposed to serve as a juror, submitted his own designs to much acclaim. He conceived of the major components with a careful eye toward symbolism — a spiral of five towers, including one 1,776-foot spire echoing the Statue of Liberty; a Park of Heroes; a waterfall; a memorial descending down to bedrock.

    For the public — in particular, the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks — the plan was a welcome antidote to a process that had seemed chiefly concerned with maximizing office space. And for Mr. Pataki, according to several downtown redevelopment officials, championing the plan (over the arguably more popular proposal by the architectural team Think) was a chance to make his mark in a period otherwise dominated by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. "Daniel Libeskind created a plan for the 16-acre site which would both remember loss and celebrate life," said Lynn Rasic, a spokeswoman for Mr. Pataki. "His vision continues to guide the rebuilding process — from providing a cultural framework around the memorial to reconnecting the site with surrounding neighborhoods to creating the height of the Freedom Tower."

    Mr. Libeskind had a moving pedigree — his parents had survived the Holocaust; he had designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin — and a way of talking about both his own experience as an immigrant and his ideas for the site that was heavy-handed but affecting. Kevin Rampe, the president of the development corporation, said Mr. Libeskind's delivery was as crucial to his success as his ideas. "The one thing that people will never forgive in this city is a lack of passion," Mr. Rampe said. "He certainly relayed that passion and energy which I think helped drive the process forward."

    But Mr. Libeskind's post-selection honeymoon didn't last long. Before two months had passed, pundits and architectural experts began calling his plan pie in the sky. Douglas Durst, a Times Square developer, told The New York Times: "I would expect the developer will negotiate what the buildings will look like. Ultimately, it would resemble the conceptual plan only in spirit."

    Sure enough, little by little, the pieces began to change. "It very quickly began to morph," Mr. Ivy said. "Committees have come in and modified. The site became less deep, it became" — he paused — "less."

    The first major change was to the Park of Heroes, which was cut roughly in half by a redesign of the Freedom Tower and an attached office building.

    In February 2003, Mr. Libeskind was asked to raise the floor of his memorial. It was originally to be 70 feet deep, so as to place visitors right on the foundation of the original towers; now it would be raised by about 40 feet, so as to accommodate several floors to shore up the slurry walls and provide parking for tourist buses.

    As for Mr. Libeskind's suggestion of a waterfall up to 100 feet tall, somewhere in the process it just went away.

    Perhaps the most emotionally resonant element of Mr. Libeskind's original design was the plan to orient the memorial in such a way that each year, on the morning of Sept. 11, "the sun will shine without shadow." But in May 2003, the architect Eli Appia published a study showing that this so-called Wedge of Light would be in shadow much of that time from a building across the street. And Mr. Calatrava's design for the Path terminal, announced in January, moved the station north into the center of the plaza, which Mr. Libeskind had reserved for his Wedge.

    Then came the battle over the Freedom Tower, the tallest building designated for the site. In May 2003, Mr. Silverstein announced that Mr. Libeskind would inspire but not actually design the buildings on the site. Mr. Libeskind said he was unconcerned. "I've been assured by Larry, whom I like, that I'll be meaningfully involved in the design of the building," he said at the time.

    In July 2003, Mr. Silverstein persuaded the Port Authority to consider several changes to Mr. Libeskind's vision and hired Mr. Childs, an architect he had worked with extensively, to draw up plans. The Port Authority asked Mr. Libeskind to study the effect of moving his tallest tower to the eastern portion of the site, closer to a planned transit hub, and to consider adding an office tower above that. "Mr. Silverstein needed to build a building that had rentable floor plates," said Elliott Sclar, a professor of urban planning and public affairs at Columbia University. "Libeskind represents this vision that's floating above it all."

    Mr. Libeskind fought back, together with his wife and business partner, Nina. If Mr. Libeskind is the artist with his head in the clouds, people who have worked with them say, Ms. Libeskind has her feet firmly on the ground, fiercely guarding her husband's interests. "I try to back Daniel whenever he's defending anything," she said in an interview. They hired Edward W. Hayes, who was a law school classmate of Mr. Pataki's and a model for the lawyer Tommy Killian in "The Bonfire of the Vanities," to negotiate with Mr. Silverstein.

    Mr. Silverstein's office sent a letter to the development corporation and the Port Authority, claiming that delayed decisions could cause him to miss the deadline that the governor had set for groundbreaking. In April, Mr. Pataki made it clear that he was handing over much of the responsibility for the rebuilding to Mr. Silverstein, the only person on the scene with money who could actually build something. "As the governor said when he outlined his ambitious plan for rebuilding Lower Manhattan," Lisa Dewald Stoll, a spokeswoman for Mr. Pataki, said at the time, "this process leaves no room for error or delay, for parochial concerns or unnecessary legal battles." She added: "Quite simply, you're either part of the team or you're not. The schedule will be met."

    The wrestling for control of the Freedom Tower became daily fodder for the news media for several weeks running. "Libeskind's Luster Eclipsed by SOM," said The New York Sun, referring to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. "An In-Spired Shift at WTC," said The New York Daily News. As Mr. Sclar put it, "There was something admirable about the way he defended the integrity of his plan, but you have all these players with all these other interests."

    Some started to sense blood in the water. On June 4, 2003, The New York Post gleefully introduced readers to "Fishing From the Pavement," a book of poetry that Mr. Libeskind had published in 1997, which included "10-dollar words and deliberately obscure references to radishes, bodily functions and genitalia." That same month, as Mr. Libeskind was struggling to retain his image as a serious architect, a pullout ad for Audi appeared in 15 Condι Nast magazines, featuring him posed inside a cardboard box.

    One afternoon the next month, Mr. Silverstein and Mr. Libeskind holed up together and hammered out a truce; when they emerged, in the wee hours of the following morning, Mr. Childs was the lead architect, Mr. Libeskind was his collaborator. He defended his continued role: "It's not a matter of just moving a building here or there. It can change the views, the light and wind conditions, the composition of the entire site."

    By fall 2003, the buzz downtown was that at its most basic, without all the symbolic flourishes, Mr. Libeskind's plan had turned out to be not so very different from the original six designs that were so roundly rejected. Joseph Seymour, the executive director of the Port Authority, told The New York Times in September: "When we roll it out, the land-use plan is going to be almost exactly what Beyer Blinder Belle proposed."

    On Dec. 19, 2003, when the two architects appeared at the Federal Hall National Memorial to reveal a glistening, nine-foot-tall acrylic model, it was clear that Mr. Childs's vision had prevailed. The new tower eliminated some of the angular shapes in Mr. Libeskind's original drawings and devoted upper stories to office space rather than to the proposed gardens. On paper, the tower would still be topped by an off-center, 276-foot spire, but in Mr. Childs's lengthy discussion of the design, he scarcely mentioned that feature. Even so, Kent L. Barwick, the president of the Municipal Art Society, blessed the unlikely couple. "Though it was a forced marriage," he said at the time, "I think it worked out astonishingly well."

    Mr. Pataki, who appeared with them at the presentation, has been careful not to take sides officially in their negotiations. "The governor tasked both Libeskind and Childs to collaborate and create a compelling design for the Freedom Tower which would work with the Libeskind master plan," Ms. Rasic said recently, "and they succeeded in doing so." But behind the scenes, had he in fact changed horses? Those close to the process say his loyalty was consistent: not to a particular aesthetic vision but to whoever could guarantee a groundbreaking in time for the opening of the Republican National Convention.

    On NBC's "Today" show the day before the unveiling, Katie Couric asked Mr. Childs about his "rocky relationship" with Mr. Libeskind. "Creative minds have different thoughts about how you do things," Mr. Childs responded. "I wouldn't want to work with somebody who would just say yes." Asked more recently to describe his current working relationship with Mr. Libeskind, Mr. Childs declined to comment.

    In an interview after the unveiling, Mr. Libeskind distanced himself from the project. "I'm not the architect of this building," he told The New York Post. "You have to ask Mr. Childs."

    IN January 2004, Mr. Libeskind's plan was further eroded with the selection of a memorial design. Mr. Arad's plan called for the memorial to be brought level with the surrounding terrain. Mr. Libeskind's hallmark, the memorial pit, was now to be flat.

    Since then, as the development process has moved forward, it has necessarily skewed toward the nuts and bolts: assessing environmental impact, solving technical problems and hiring people to begin construction, areas in which Mr. Libeskind, unlike Mr. Childs, is not an expert. Mr. Libeskind resettled himself somewhat outside of the spotlight he had once occupied and began to focus on other projects — a 350,000-square-foot multimedia building at the City University of Hong Kong, a shopping center in Switzerland and a performing arts complex in Dublin. People working on the project say that officials were tired of hearing about the creative conflict between him and Mr. Childs. "The Port Authority has told him clearly, `Get on board,' " someone with knowledge of those communications said.

    To be sure, he is now spoken of as though the sun has set on his real contribution. Madelyn Wils, a director of the development corporation, said, "He's done a great job with designing the master plan and now he needs to work with the future architects, making sure their buildings make sense."

    Meanwhile, Mr. Libeskind and his employer are engaged in a dispute over the value of that work. Mr. Libeskind had already been compensated by the development corporation for his work on the master plan. But he gave Mr. Silverstein a bill for $800,000 for his subsequent work on the Freedom Tower. Mr. Silverstein countered with an offer of $125,000, in part because Mr. Libeskind had not kept time sheets and could not substantiate his bill. The dispute has yet to be resolved.

    "The attitude is very different in Europe," one architect familiar with the dispute said. "Architects demand much higher fees than in New York and people don't question the costs. They're the gods."

    Some believe downtown officials ought to have stood by their master planner. "Others should have fought for him," Mr. Ivy said. "This is a case where the forces that be were inadequately cohered. We needed someone with the governor's power, the mayor's moxie to bring the parties together."

    To others, the dimming of Mr. Libeskind's glow is inevitable, a function of both a culture with a short attention span and the proper progression from overall design to individual detail. If there is less excitement about the design for the World Trade Center now than there once was, said Frederic M. Bell, the executive director of the American Institute of Architects' New York Chapter, it is "not through any diminishment of respect" for Mr. Libeskind. "When the actual buildings get designed, they supplant the drawings of what they might look like with what they will look like, and that's natural."

    For his part, Mr. Libeskind is resolutely positive about the changes he and his master plan have been through. "With each new piece, something good has happened to the plan," he said. "It's an amplification and an accomplishment of the fundamental ideas of the site and in many cases it's an improvement."

    "I don't approach this as my plan," he continued. "It's the plan of New York. That's why the plan won, because it's very practical." He added: "True art, you have to work with business. We are living in a market economy."

    The once feisty architect seems to have concluded that it is easier to work within the system than to fight it. Whatever the case, he is already reaping the benefits of his newfound prominence, having been asked to build several skyscrapers in Europe. And perhaps whether Mr. Libeskind proves to be the most influential designer of ground zero doesn't really matter; he was the first, and first impressions count for a lot.

    "He provided the vision," Mr. Rampe of the development corporation said. "Has that vision changed? Sure. But he allowed us to see our way out of the darkness of Sept. 11 and to figure out what to do with the site."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  6. #66


    Libeskind’s a good guy but it’s time for him to step aside, gracefully.

  7. #67


    My personal scorecard:

    Calatrava vs. Wedge of Light - Imporvement

    Childs/Silverstein Freedom Tower vs. Libeskind Freed Tower - Step backwards

    Arad Memorial vs. Libeskind Memorial - Draw so far

  8. #68


    Interesting quotes...

    The governor only remembered to mention Mr. Libeskind at the last minute, after spotting him in the audience, saying that of course it all started with Mr. Libeskind's design.

    ..... work is moving ahead on the Freedom Tower, but the planning is now dominated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, and by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the architectural firm hired by Larry A. Silverstein, the site's leaseholder.

    According to those with knowledge of the proceedings, Mr. Libeskind does not even attend the meetings at which the plans are currently discussed.

    Arguably the sole remaining trace of what made Mr. Libeskind's ideas distinctive is the spire on the Freedom Tower — and some of the people involved in downtown redevelopment say even that may not survive.

  9. #69


    New York Post
    (c) 2004 N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Saturday, October 30, 2004




    EVER since Time Warner Center was completed last winter, many New Yorkers have been struck by the way its par allel towers momentarily evoke the taller twins that once stood downtown. But this month's opening of Jazz at Lincoln Center's spectacular new home in the Time Warner complex points up another haunting connection to the World Trade Center site. David Childs, architect of the Freedom Tower, also designed Time Warner Center. And Rafael Violy, who designed the jazz complex, also headed up the Think team that produced the runner-up master site plan for Ground Zero.

    Violy's jazz-center masterpiece, officially Frederick P. Rose Hall, makes you wonder: what might the future of Downtown look like if Gov. Pataki hadn't scuttled his WTC conception at the last minute? What might a Violy-Childs collaboration have been like?

    You remember the Think proposal: It is best remembered for its two latticework towers that would have risen nearly 1,800 feet above the tower footprints.

    It was actually the winning proposal, endorsed by this newspaper, the Times' architectural critic and the Real Estate Board of N.Y. - and the choice of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.'s selection committee.

    But Pataki overruled his own planners in favor of Daniel Libeskind's scheme. Maybe Pataki understood political and economic reality at Ground Zero better than anyone else: He saw that neither plan was viable as first drawn, but that Libeskind's was the easier to manipulate into buildable form.

    Yet Violy's work for Jazz at Lincoln Center is so humane, so attuned both to the needs of the performing arts institution and to the many conflicting public and private requirements of its setting, we can only speculate on what might have been.

    Now, Columbus Circle is not Ground Zero, just as Time Warner Center is no Freedom Tower; at Columbus Circle, Childs did not have anything like the creative latitude that he had Downtown.

    The dimensions of Ground Zero and the jazz complex are so vastly and obviously different, it might seem ridiculous to draw parallels. But one glance at the egg-shaped Rose Theater, so warmly designed it seems to hug you, or at the smaller Allen Room with its heroic view of Central Park and the skyline, is enough to make you miss Violy's spirit at Ground Zero.

    We miss, too, the comparative civility of the Violy-Childs interaction. Had Violy been tapped as Ground Zero's site planner, it's unlikely there would have been a destructive brawl between architects like the public spectacle that Libeskind made of his "forced marriage" to Childs on the Freedom Tower.

    Libeskind presents a venomous portrayal of him in his book "Breaking Ground." Even Hollywood waits years to air its dirty laundry; Libeskind didn't wait for the ink to dry on the $370,000 check he squeezed out of Larry Silverstein for his work on the project.

    At Time Warner Center, Childs and Violy worked together, with some inevitable head-butting, for several years. While Childs was responsible for the building's exterior, Violy designed the jazz performance venues and related facilities - a highly specialized building-within-the-building.

    Although not a true collaboration, the job nonetheless required the two strong-willed talents to mesh. Childs and building developer the Related Cos. were amenable to Violy's idea to move two of the jazz theaters from the project's interior, where they were originally positioned, to its front.

    The result is that two of the performance spaces enjoy stupendous views through the steel-cabled, double-pane window that Childs' firm, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, created for the facade.

    The window is no mere ornament. Where Libeskind strained to invest his Ground Zero site plan with "metaphorical" content, Violy found a real and effortless metaphor in the Columbus Circle panorama: jazz musicians play before a backdrop of Jazz Age skyscrapers more evocative than any set designer could imagine.

    As anyone knows who has seen it, the Allen Room is one of the greatest public spaces of any type anywhere - the result of two architects working for a common goal.

    Will we ever see such shared purpose and subordination of ego at Ground Zero?

Page 5 of 5 FirstFirst 12345

Similar Threads

  1. Rescuing the Buildings Beyond Ground Zero
    By Edward in forum New York Real Estate
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: September 8th, 2008, 12:33 AM
  2. Race to build at ground zero
    By Edward in forum New York Real Estate
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: August 16th, 2007, 02:12 PM
  3. Ground Zero Designs: Reality vs. Renaissance
    By JMGarcia in forum New York Skyscrapers and Architecture
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: December 23rd, 2002, 11:31 AM
  4. New Ritz must go on — next to ground zero
    By Edward in forum New York City Guide For Visitors
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: October 19th, 2002, 09:24 AM
  5. Seven Achitects Offer their Visions for Ground Zero
    By Edward in forum New York Skyscrapers and Architecture
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: October 13th, 2002, 07:20 PM

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Google+ - Facebook - Twitter - Meetup

Edward's photos on Flickr - Wired New York on Flickr - In Queens - In Red Hook - Bryant Park - SQL Backup Software