View Poll Results: Construction is underway, how do you feel about the final design for the WTC site?

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192. You may not vote on this poll
  • I am more than satisfied; I believe that the final design surpasses that of the original World Trade Center. 10/10

    50 26.04%
  • While nothing may ever live up to the Twin Towers, I am wholly satisfied with the new World Trade Center; it is a new symbol for a new era. 7/10

    55 28.65%
  • I have come to terms with the new World Trade Center; although it has a number of flaws, I find the design to be acceptable. 5/10

    48 25.00%
  • I am wholly disappointed with the New World Trade Center; we will live to regret the final design. 0/10

    22 11.46%
  • I am biased, but honest, and hate anything that is not a reincarnation of the original Twin Towers.

    17 8.85%
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Thread: World Trade Center Developments

  1. #3091

    Default Paul Goldberger Rips on Everyone & the Freedom tower design

    from the 8.06 issue of Oculus, this is one of several interviews in an article: Less than Zero: Architecture and the Political Process after 9/11


    Paul Goldberger: Joseph Urban Professor of Design and Special Advisor to the President on Urban Programs, The New School; architecture critic, The New Yorker, author, Up from Zero (2004)

    Paul Goldberger identifies the most salient aspect of Ground Zero: "Things just keep getting worse down there."

    He lodges primary responsibility with Governor Pataki, who "operated with the clearly wrongheaded belief that to leave the original players in place - the Port Authority and Larry Silverstein - he would be following the path of least resistance. In fact, it turned out not to be the path of least resistance, [but] the path of considerable resistance and complexity. It did not allow him to get something built quickly as his legacy, which is what he'd hoped; nor did it allow for any of the idealism that had been expected and hoped for and indeed claimed by all of the public officials to play any significant role; and it also didn't allow the public to play a significant role, for all that everyone talked in endless sanctimony about how this was an open and public process."

    If the political questions yield depressing answers, questions of program and design elicit even stronger critiques. "The program has been wrong from the beginning," says Goldberger; except for a memorial and perhaps a few cultural buildings, it's essentially the old WTC program. With little of Daniel Libeskind's plan left, "...the Freedom Tower strikes me as a really terrible, sad joke. It's a dull and uninteresting building from the 20th story up, but it's a really troubling building from the 20th story down. While it's true that the latest version, with glass prisms decorating the solid base, is a visual improvement over the original blank box, the whole thing still suggests that we've learned nothing about urban design - indeed, it makes me feel as if we'd learned nothing about anything, except how to protect ourselves from truck bombs." And putting cultural institutions on the site without allowing freedom of expression carries even worse implications, Goldberger notes. "The notion that we not only build a tower with a 20-story bunker at its base, but that we also have, across the street, museums and cultural buildings with censored contents - put all that together, and what kind of advertisement for freedom is this?"

    "There was this moment," Goldberger recalls, "when the architecture profession somehow thought it could really control what was going on...that it knew what to do, and that the world would follow. It was never really going to happen that way; it was always being used. Of course, the architecture profession used power as much as power used architecture. In the end, power won out." As a practical approach to dealing with power, he advises, "Know what architecture can and cannot do. And know that at the end of the day, an architect needs a client to be effective. In the particular case of Ground Zero, the client was a complex and inconsistent amalgam of public, semi-private, and private interests, overlaid with an extraordinary emotional and historical context, within a rapidly changing, evolving neighborhood. And all of those things left the architect as a minor player, despite the potential that architects might have had to bring enlightenment to the problem."
    "There's a paradox built into the problem of this site," Goldberger finds. "It needs to connect to both the awesome and the everyday. It needs to be sacred, and it needs to be ordinary, so that it can renew the ongoing life of the city. Those two things don't mesh easily and naturally together."
    Goldberger does offer one paradoxical note of optimism. "This may seem an odd thing for me to say, but on some weird level, it's turned out not to matter quite as much as we thought it was going to, because the rest of the city has turned out to be so much healthier than we thought it was in the traumatic period after 9/11. Life goes on, and goes on pretty well, right up to the borders of Ground Zero. You just go across that fence, and things are shockingly normal. We're screwing up Ground Zero badly - I believe that totally and absolutely, and it's heartbreaking to see that we're doing that. But the rest of the city goes on with remarkable vigor and resilience."


    The other interviews were equally if not more negative.

  2. #3092

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by finnman69 View Post
    Paul Goldberger identifies the most salient aspect of Ground Zero: "Things just keep getting worse down there."
    Things have gottten ugly before, but if anything, things are finally getting better there.

    If the political questions yield depressing answers, questions of program and design elicit even stronger critiques. "The program has been wrong from the beginning," says Goldberger; except for a memorial and perhaps a few cultural buildings, it's essentially the old WTC program.
    ...so? The most important business complex in USA's largest city has been suddenly turned into a smoking crater within a few hours. Why is that a reason to drastically change the program, especially if there is enough space for both offices and the memorial? It's like walking down the street and having a lunatic run up to you with a machete and chop your right arm off. You wouldn't think "Oh well, I gotta move on, maybe I'll decorate it into a cute stump to remind me of my once great right arm". You'd think, "Shit, someone get me to the hospital right this minute and get me back to normal!", wouldn't you?

    Little of Daniel Libeskind's plan left, "...the Freedom Tower strikes me as a really terrible, sad joke.It's a dull and uninteresting building from the 20th story up, but it's a really troubling building from the 20th story down.
    Ironically, it was Libeskind's shard of glass that was the pathetic tower, not the current version that at least has offices all the way up. Besides, Libeskind's tower was abstract and disturning from the 20th story down, and an empty glass shard from the 20th story up.

    And putting cultural institutions on the site without allowing freedom of expression carries even worse implications, Goldberger notes. "The notion that we not only build a tower with a 20-story bunker at its base, but that we also have, across the street, museums and cultural buildings with censored contents - put all that together, and what kind of advertisement for freedom is this?"
    For true freedom and uncensored content, he should go to the West Side with its strip clubs and pawn shops. Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe that such things do not belong at Ground Zero.

  3. #3093
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LeCom View Post
    For true freedom and uncensored content, he should go to the West Side with its strip clubs and pawn shops. Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe that such things do not belong at Ground Zero.
    A bit of a straw man there ^

    A clear attack by Pataki / LMDC / some of the "Families" was aimed in the direction of and against true creative / artistic freedom (in the intellectual sense). The message was "be uplifting" & "don't challenge our version of 'America'".

    Not to say that due consideration isn't part of any good curatorial / artistic process, but if and when the buildings for same ever get built at the new WTC whatever arts institutions finally end up down there -- whether they think so or not -- already have made a bargain with the devil in this regard.

    Constraints on full freedom of thought & artistic expression will be an unwritten clause in the lease.

  4. #3094

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    A bit of a straw man there ^

    A clear attack by Pataki / LMDC / some of the "Families" was aimed in the direction of and against true creative / artistic freedom (in the intellectual sense). The message was "be uplifting" & "don't challenge our version of 'America'".

    Not to say that due consideration isn't part of any good curatorial / artistic process, but if and when the buildings for same ever get built at the new WTC whatever arts institutions finally end up down there -- whether they think so or not -- already have made a bargain with the devil in this regard.

    Constraints on full freedom of thought & artistic expression will be an unwritten clause in the lease.
    Yes, I definitely agree with this side of the issue. It's pretty much a given that artistic institutions on the site will have to adhere to some sort of unwritten constraints concerning political and/or other viewpoints.

  5. #3095
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LeCom View Post

    I definitely agree with this side of the issue. It's pretty much a given that artistic institutions on the site will have to adhere to some sort of unwritten constraints concerning political and/or other viewpoints.
    Just so I'm clear ...

    You agree that they SHOULD "have to adhere to some sort of unwritten constraints concerning political and/or other viewpoints"?

    Or you agree that due to pressure, etc. they WILL have to do so?

  6. #3096
    The Dude Abides
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Goldberger

    Governor Pataki [...] "operated with the clearly wrongheaded belief that to leave the original players in place - the Port Authority and Larry Silverstein - he would be following the path of least resistance. In fact, it turned out not to be the path of least resistance, [but] the path of considerable resistance and complexity. It did not allow him to get something built quickly as his legacy, which is what he'd hoped; nor did it allow for any of the idealism that had been expected and hoped for and indeed claimed by all of the public officials to play any significant role; and it also didn't allow the public to play a significant role, for all that everyone talked in endless sanctimony about how this was an open and public process."
    Well, at least I agree with him on this issue. Pataki blows.

    "The program has been wrong from the beginning," says Goldberger; except for a memorial and perhaps a few cultural buildings, it's essentially the old WTC program. With little of Daniel Libeskind's plan left, "...the Freedom Tower strikes me as a really terrible, sad joke. It's a dull and uninteresting building from the 20th story up, but it's a really troubling building from the 20th story down. While it's true that the latest version, with glass prisms decorating the solid base, is a visual improvement over the original blank box, the whole thing still suggests that we've learned nothing about urban design - indeed, it makes me feel as if we'd learned nothing about anything, except how to protect ourselves from truck bombs."
    Security is first and foremost, the primary concern with design at this site. If we lived in a perfect world, the base would not be a fortress, and function would not dictate form. We wouldn't have to worry about glass shards falling on bystanders, and concrete cores getting compromised by explosions. While Childs is not the most talented architect out there, I find it hard to believe that anyone could have made the Freedom Tower satisfactory, and moreover, praiseworthy, among all parties involved, including, but not limited to: the general public, the eventual office tenants, the developer, the NYPD, and, of course, the architectural critics.

    Another area where I take offense is this notion of not learning anything about urban design. Since when do the upper floors of a skyscraper have anything to do with urban design? They don't. As for the base: sure, it won't be the most inviting place for tourists and shoppers, but why should there be something like retail, or a restaurant, at the base? It's an office tower, and a lot of office towers getting built these days don't have anything to offer to the public. Meanwhile, improvements in urban design have been made, namely: the reintroduction of the street grid into the site, and the elimination of a barren plaza as the main entryway. The Freedom Tower will be only a few steps away from West or Fulton Street, and the leafy memorial plaza will be much more inviting than its concrete predecessor. The other 3 towers, and the accompanying retail development, will make the site even more integrated with the streetscape and will ensure that it's livelier than the old plaza ever was.

    And putting cultural institutions on the site without allowing freedom of expression carries even worse implications, Goldberger notes. "The notion that we not only build a tower with a 20-story bunker at its base, but that we also have, across the street, museums and cultural buildings with censored contents - put all that together, and what kind of advertisement for freedom is this?"
    Again, this is not the fault of the people in charge of designing/building the site, but rather the result of the furor that was produced by the victims' families and the disproportionate attention that they received from the media and Pataki.

    In the particular case of Ground Zero, the client was a complex and inconsistent amalgam of public, semi-private, and private interests, overlaid with an extraordinary emotional and historical context, within a rapidly changing, evolving neighborhood. And all of those things left the architect as a minor player, despite the potential that architects might have had to bring enlightenment to the problem."
    "There's a paradox built into the problem of this site," Goldberger finds. "It needs to connect to both the awesome and the everyday. It needs to be sacred, and it needs to be ordinary, so that it can renew the ongoing life of the city. Those two things don't mesh easily and naturally together."
    So he does realize the complexity, and he acknowledges, somewhat offhandedly, that the main share of the blame shouldn't fall on the master planner and architect. But why does he continue to expect perfection?

    All things considered, I think the development process has been mired in delays and disputes, and has left me with a bitter distastate for bureaucracy and political showmanship. But the end result of Ground Zero - what we can reasonably expect based on the current plans - will be good, and will be an improvement over what was there before the terrorists destroyed it. It combines a little of everything that we need: a new icon for the skyline, the restoration of all lost office space, an incredible new transit hub, a bigger and better version of the WTC mall, and even, possibly, a residential/educational mixed-use building. I think the site will have an organic vibrancy to it, and will attract people not just to see the memorial and leave, but to stick around and enjoy a new public space in Manhattan. The fact that the cultural centers will not be radically liberal institutions of expression, and the iconic tower will not cause the harshest architecture critics to drool, is not something to get upset about.
    Last edited by pianoman11686; August 12th, 2006 at 04:01 PM.

  7. #3097

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LeCom View Post
    For true freedom and uncensored content, he should go to the West Side with its strip clubs and pawn shops. Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe that such things do not belong at Ground Zero.
    Censorship is not the way to stop strip clubs and pawn shops. Better to do it with zoning and high rental rates. That will take care of the problem without consititutional challenges.

  8. #3098

    Default

    I've always been an admirer of Goldberger. In particular, I found him a far superior writer and thinker to either of his two successors at the Times, Muschaum or Ouroussoff. That being said, having read his book and several articles he has written on the subject, I must say that virtually everything Goldberger has had to say about the WTC site has been 100% wrong.

  9. #3099
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Question

    What's wrong with pawn shops?

  10. #3100

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    ^They're places where I can buy back my stolen watch...that's what's wrong with them.


  11. #3101

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    Go to wtc.com, on the top, select calendar, and then select page view. From there, hit the right arrow next to August 2006 to go to September. On Sept 7th there will be a "rollout event for conceptual designs of towers 2, 3, and 4."

    Could Sept 7th be the day we've been waiting for? I think it makes sense they want to make them public before the 5th anniversary. It's only in 3 weeks (where did summer go anyway?)

  12. #3102
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    Nice detective work!

  13. #3103
    Incredible Sulk aural iNK's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I just got a response from Silverstein Properties claiming the designs will be unveiled on the 7th.

  14. #3104

  15. #3105

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    Nice. Thanks for the confirmation.

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