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

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  • 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. #361

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    Thanks Christian,

    i like those stories.

    Patrick

  2. #362

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    November 8, 2003

    Master Plan for New Trade Center Gets Down to the Finest Detail

    By DAVID W. DUNLAP


    A draft of guidelines for the new World Trade Center offers specifics on things like building heights, and the angle of each faceted rooftop. (Overall Site Development Guidelines (Oct. 23 Draft), Studio Daniel Libeskind)

    After months of dealing in broad concepts, the planners of the new World Trade Center are devising guidelines that will prescribe the actual forms of the buildings in inches and feet, metal and stone.

    A recent draft of the guidelines by Studio Daniel Libeskind, the master planners of the site, dictated the shape and size of every office tower so precisely that other architects would have had little leeway to pursue significantly different designs of their own.

    While those proposed controls have already been relaxed, with more changes to come, the draft offers unusually detailed glimpses of features that are often overlooked including museum buildings that would overhang the footprints of the twin towers.

    Mr. Libeskind has proposed to "buffer the memorial space from the everyday activities of the city" by extending one museum, like a bridge, over the site of the north tower and cantilevering another museum above the site of the south tower. This is not a new idea. But seeing it rendered in a diagram is likely to surprise anyone who thought the footprints would be unimpeded, as many families of Sept. 11 victims have demanded.

    As it happens, these overhanging museums and a proposed waterfall may disappear entirely under an independent design for the memorial. Eight prospective memorial plans are to be unveiled in two weeks.

    What is not likely to go away is a large ramp along Liberty Street leading to the service roads under the trade center. It would be separated from the memorial by a 60-foot-wide green space. Screening the memorial from the impact of over 100 trucks an hour entering the ramp "will be a considerable challenge when designing the space," the draft guidelines noted.

    The guidelines show that the Wedge of Light on Fulton Street, rather than being a somber space, is to have "some of the highest value commercial outlets" at the site, with shops along 180 feet of the PATH terminal and 213 feet of an office tower across the street. (A blockfront between crosstown streets in Manhattan is 200 feet long.)

    It is unclear how many features in this draft will be in the final version, which is expected next month. Those with knowledge of the guidelines declined to discuss them yesterday because they said the draft was not meant to have been circulated outside the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, for whom Mr. Libeskind is working.

    Photocopies of a key chapter and several other sections were made available to The New York Times. Most pages are dated Oct. 23, some as late as Oct. 27. But it is understood that Mr. Libeskind has made revisions to answer concerns of the Port Authority and the development corporation.

    Kevin M. Rampe, the corporation president, said yesterday, "The drafting of guidelines is an iterative process in which we're constantly trying to balance the need to remain true to the vision, as set forth in the selected master plan, while providing the flexibility to have excellence in architecture throughout the site."

    Larry A. Silverstein, the commercial leaseholder, has named four architects for the office buildings: Fumihiko Maki, Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster and David M. Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who is working on the Freedom Tower.

    To judge from the Oct. 23 guidelines, they would not have much room to maneuver. The draft specified the exact height of each tower, from 871 feet on the Deutsche Bank site at 130 Liberty Street to 1,776 feet at the Freedom Tower. It laid out the exact distance from one tower to the next. It even stipulated the angle of each one of the faceted rooftops.

    "For consistency," the draft said, "the towers are composed of rectangular or trapezoidal solids, arranged in an additive composition. Cylinders, cones, domes, pyramids or the like are not permitted as primary forms within the towers."

    The guidelines restricted materials in the upper reaches of the tower shafts to glass and metal ("natural anodized aluminum, stainless steel, natural titanium, or other metals with a permanent coating, either white or gray in color" would be acceptable) but allowed stone or terra cotta down below. The guidelines also called for a uniform floor height of 13 feet, 6 inches among all the towers.

    The guidelines are based on a master plan that Mr. Libeskind has been developing since February. On Sept. 17, he and state officials presented what they called the refined version of that plan.

    Yesterday, he said the precision and detail in the guidelines was an attempt "to define our scheme in words, exactly as we presented it," and was undertaken at the request of the development corporation.

    Asked if the guidelines had since been modified, he answered: "Of course. It's an organic process."


    The draft guidelines restrict materials in the upper reaches of the tower shafts to glass and metal, but allow stone or terra cotta down below.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  3. #363

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    November 8, 2003

    AN APPRAISAL

    Design Guidelines for Ground Zero Point More to Space City U.S.A.

    By HERBERT MUSCHAMP

    How did we end up in Houston? That is the burning question raised by a new set of design guidelines for the office towers at ground zero. True, we've got a hole the size of Texas sitting down there in Lower Manhattan. But how did ground zero come to inherit a vision of glitzy, structurally inept towers that would look more at home in an office park for energy companies in Space City U.S.A.?

    Students of architecture and urbanism will be pondering such questions for years. Many of the answers lie beyond an architecture critic's grasp. They will be found within the realms of politics and economics. But no building can be properly analyzed without taking the social and ideological structures of power into account. The guidelines, which were prepared by Studio Daniel Libeskind, reveal the extent to which such structures have dishonored the ground zero design process, which was supposed to be open and democratic.

    Thus far the guidelines, which are dated Oct. 23 and 27, exist only in draft form. But they have already been circulated among the group of architects retained by the developer Larry A. Silverstein to design office towers for ground zero.

    The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, of course, says that these guidelines are already outdated, that the process is still very fluid.

    Even so, they do provide a glimpse into Mr. Libeskind's inflated ambitions for the World Trade Center site. Contradicting his earlier assurances that different architects would design the towers, the drawings establish that Mr. Libeskind's intention all along has been to become their sole architect. What he calls design guidelines are just short of schematic designs for actual buildings. Mr. Silverstein's architects, not to mention the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, would be fools to accept them.

    So would we. In fact, the time has come to examine in some detail the ground zero design process as it has unfolded in the last two years.

    The process began as a political story and has again become one. What's needed now is a cultural framework for interpreting it. Until such a scaffold is in place, it will be impossible to make artistic sense of this or that scrap of design as it comes floating along.

    More balloons are due shortly. On Nov. 17 the development corporation will present designs by finalists in the competition for a memorial to the victims of 9/11. Next month Mr. Silverstein is expected to present a preliminary design by David M. Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Mr. Libeskind for Freedom Tower, the first office tower on the construction schedule.

    Mr. Libeskind's design guidelines build on material presented in September as the Refined Master Site Plan. The title was odd: the public had yet to see a master plan. What they saw was a patched-together collage of an obsolete site plan, new plans for below-grade uses (chiefly transportation) and architectural renderings submitted by Mr. Libeskind in February.

    Unless you've been living on Mars, you've already seen those illustrations and the familiar features depicted in them: the wedge of light, the exposed slurry wall, the spiral of skyscrapers culminating in the 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower, and so on. Mr. Libeskind's plan partly transforms those images into architectural designs. Though less impressionistic than the earlier images, the drawings present a set of highly articulated building envelopes. These are shaped entirely by formal concerns and do not reflect a serious analysis of structure, circulation and interior organization. Those, presumedly, would be left to the individual architects on Mr. Silverstein's team.

    Not a lot else would be. If these guidelines or ones anywhere near as rigid are adopted, Mr. Childs, Jean Nouvel, Fumihiko Maki and Norman Foster, architects whose experience, talent and professional experience vastly exceed Mr. Libeskind's, would be reduced to the level of executive architects, producing working drawings for designs they had virtually no hand in shaping.

    Forget Freedom Tower. It should be renamed Straitjacket Tower. The guidelines for it are so rigid as to virtually exclude Mr. Childs from shaping the building he was hired to design. As a formal composition, the design is feeble. Conceptually, it is kitsch, with its broadcasting spire intended to echo the Statue of Liberty's upraised arm more nearly resembling a skyward salute. The design is not worth the increased expense that its complex and illogical structure would incur.

    When first appraising this proposal last December, I noted its resemblance to unbuilt designs for the stadtkrone, or city crown, developed by German Expressionist architects in the early 20th century. Those with a sense of history have found this resemblance highly disturbing.

    For historians of the Expressionist period, the stadtkrone has long been a controversial concept. The architecture critic Wolfgang Pehnt, among others, has seen it as a forerunner of National Socialist ideology. As developed by Expressionists like Bruno Taut, the city crown's imposing scale, its subordination of individuals to the mass, its homogenous formal vocabulary and its aura of religious spectacle offered a glimpse of a totalizing aesthetic that came to fruition in the cathedral of light, Albert Speer's design for the 1936 Nuremberg rallies.

    Similar forms, of course, can convey different meanings. Expressionism has inspired many architects of Mr. Libeskind's generation to design projects that are antifascistic. But the Libeskind design flirts perilously with the ideology of its source.

    It is, for one thing, a creation of the state, and its rhetorical themes conform obediently to prevailing political views. The "assault on freedom" Mr. Libeskind's term for his plan's underlying theme is a propagandistic notion, not a historical fact.

    Any design guidelines that insist on restrictiveness and homogeneity should be rejected. There is not just one way to respond to 9/11. The exclusion of other architectural visions is an assault on the idea of the city as a place where every voice counts.

    Design guidelines in general are problematic for ground zero. Commonly used in suburban residential neighborhoods, they are now most often associated with the followers of the New Urbanism, developers of suburban communities known for their "traditional" period pastiche styles. Plans originally prepared for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation by the New York firms Peterson/Littenberg and Beyer Blinder Belle adhered to this retro design philosophy. That is one reason for which these plans were rejected by the public at town hall meetings held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in July of last year.

    The development corporation's "innovative design study," organized after that meeting, was intended to bring contemporary architecture into consideration. The selection of Daniel Libeskind was the end result of that process.

    Yet as David W. Dunlap noted in The New York Times in March, Mr. Libeskind's proposal was strikingly similar to the earlier plans. It differed chiefly in the angular and fragmented forms of the buildings depicted in Mr. Libeskind's renderings. The problem is that those illustrations were not intended as designs for buildings, a task that in any case fell outside the scope of the planning tasks that the architect was hired to perform. Rather, they were stand-ins for the buildings that would be designed by the "other architects" that Mr. Libeskind himself had specified. That inclusiveness was possibly the best feature that his proposal had to recommend it.

    I don't doubt that Mr. Libeskind and his supporters believe that artistic principles are at stake in the formulation of his guidelines. Even, or perhaps especially, considering the doubt that has already been raised about the wedge of light, the slurry wall and other features, I wouldn't expect them to think any other way.

    But there are other ways to think, build and remember. Isn't this the point of freedom? The point of cities? The point of art? We need not recast our urban centers according to suburban styles of taste, or in the image of cities where rigid conformity is the rule.

    "Art," Marshall McLuhan wrote, "is anything you can get away with." In that sense, at least, the guidelines are of the highest artistic order.


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  4. #364

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Wieland
    Contradicting his earlier assurances that different architects would design the towers, the drawings establish that Mr. Libeskind's intention all along has been to become their sole architect. What he calls design guidelines are just short of schematic designs for actual buildings. Mr. Silverstein's architects, not to mention the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, would be fools to accept them.

    So would we...............

    If these guidelines or ones anywhere near as rigid are adopted, Mr. Childs, Jean Nouvel, Fumihiko Maki and Norman Foster, architects whose experience, talent and professional experience vastly exceed Mr. Libeskind's, would be reduced to the level of executive architects, producing working drawings for designs they had virtually no hand in shaping.

    Forget Freedom Tower. It should be renamed Straitjacket Tower. The guidelines for it are so rigid as to virtually exclude Mr. Childs from shaping the building he was hired to design. As a formal composition, the design is feeble. Conceptually, it is kitsch, with its broadcasting spire intended to echo the Statue of Liberty's upraised arm more nearly resembling a skyward salute. The design is not worth the increased expense that its complex and illogical structure would incur.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

    Finally, someone agrees with what I have been saying..

  5. #365

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYguy
    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Wieland
    Contradicting his earlier assurances that different architects would design the towers, the drawings establish that Mr. Libeskind's intention all along has been to become their sole architect. What he calls design guidelines are just short of schematic designs for actual buildings. Mr. Silverstein's architects, not to mention the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, would be fools to accept them.

    So would we...............

    If these guidelines or ones anywhere near as rigid are adopted, Mr. Childs, Jean Nouvel, Fumihiko Maki and Norman Foster, architects whose experience, talent and professional experience vastly exceed Mr. Libeskind's, would be reduced to the level of executive architects, producing working drawings for designs they had virtually no hand in shaping.

    Forget Freedom Tower. It should be renamed Straitjacket Tower. The guidelines for it are so rigid as to virtually exclude Mr. Childs from shaping the building he was hired to design. As a formal composition, the design is feeble. Conceptually, it is kitsch, with its broadcasting spire intended to echo the Statue of Liberty's upraised arm more nearly resembling a skyward salute. The design is not worth the increased expense that its complex and illogical structure would incur.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

    Finally, someone agrees with what I have been saying..
    Did you ever think you'd see the day where you agreed with Muschamp?

    With the shortest tower's roof at 871 feet it will make the WTC towers the 5 tallest downtown to the roof!

  6. #366

    Default Disappointment

    Sorry if this is off-topic a bit, but I wanted to share something and see if anyone else is feeling this way also..

    I've been following the WTC developments in the news intensely for 2 years. I'm now finding I just want to tune it out.

    Whatever you thought of the Twins, they became an iconic represention of NYC and America. They were a momental achievement and a source of pride for our country. They distinguished the NYC skyline, like the Eiffel tower, the Hancock building or even the Great Wall of China.

    I hoped that this would a driving force for the redevelopment. That the skyline would again become majestic. That from the ashes we assert ourselves as visionaries with world class architecture. That, while, yes, we're afraid to be targets, we're defiantly America, bold, brash and brave.

    But the watering down of the original design, height restrictions and in-fighting promise to drag the redevelopment down into mediocrity. I've nearly abandoned hope that what will rise will be a source of pride for me or any other New Yorkers.

    Are we Americans even capable of good architecture anymore? Or have we looked at cost/benefit analysis and determined we can't afford to build anything that is artful or inspirational?

    Does anyone else have this feeling?

  7. #367
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    I have to think these architects and even politicians want to do their best work for this important and conspicuous site. The in-fighting could be a good thing if, in the end, they are fighting over how to make the best, most bold architectural statement. That may be wishful thinking (especially with Silverstien involved), but we can't abandon hope before we actually see the plans for the buildings, the PATH station, and the memorial. Same goes for the height restrictions and "watering down the original design". If the plans are terrible then I agree with you, but let's not give up hope until we see the plans. Don't forget, they plan on building the world's tallest building - that says something.

  8. #368

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    The twin towers were not icons during construction, but were generally regarded with indifference. They became symbolic with the city over time, in my opinion, not because of architectural merit, but because they were big, and there were two of them.

    They never enhanced the lower Manhattan skyline, but made statements all their own. Such a statement works for the ESB, given it's location, but not in the density of lower Manhattan.

    I'm hopeful that the current plans will better integrate the surrounding buildings, but that remains to be seen.

  9. #369

    Default World's Tallest?

    This talk of building the world's tallest building is just a technicality isn't it? I mean, it's the the spire that makes the height is my understanding. The highest occupable floor isn't at such a remarkable height is it? like 80 stories.

    Or am I mistaken?

    (Are we just daring Chicago to put a big antenna on the Sear Building so THEY can lay claim to the world's tallest building?)

    Oh and you're right, I'm giving up hope before we've seen the plan. I'm just imagining the committee approach is going to have the same artful result it does for Jerry Burkheimer films and NBC sitcoms. <<note sarcasm

  10. #370

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    Are we Americans even capable of good architecture anymore?
    Clarknt67, I'd phrase that "Are we Americans even capable of good skyscraper architecture in America anymore?

  11. #371

    Default Twin's architechural merit

    Regarding the Twins icon status, I'm aware it took years for New yorkers to warm to them and that they were aside from their size, architectually unimaginative.

    I do think their dullness was genius however, imagine how gauche and vulgar they would have seemed had they been ordimented or decorated, combined with their size? They were simultaneously over-statements and under-statements.

    I disagree with the (admittedly popular opinion) that the towers didn't integrate. I always saw them as two big exclaimation points at the end of a frenetic sentence. If they were a single tower, it wouldn't have worked however.

    I've lived in Brooklyn Heights for 11 years, and for 8 of them, I'd walk to the promenade and stare at wonder at those bright towers. I always thought it was amazing that mankind had created what approximated a mountain range. It just doesn't look the same now.

  12. #372
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    "It just doesn't look the same now".
    You're right, it needs a good peak. But I agree with Zippy, I hope it integrates with the rest of the skyline better.

    This talk of building the world's tallest building is just a technicality isn't it? I mean, it's the the spire that makes the height is my understanding. The highest occupable floor isn't at such a remarkable height is it? like 80 stories.
    Even if it isn't technically the world's tallest building, anything that stands above 2000 feet is substantial. Again, we have to wait and see. It would be nice to see the occupied floors reach as high as the twins and the unoccupied floors be more than a just thin spire, and that the overall affect I hope is thrilling. For now, your guess is as good as mine.

  13. #373

    Default Thanks

    Thanks for the polite discourse. This board is one of the more civilized forums on the net. Sometimes I'm amazed at the rude, obnoxious, snarkiness that proliferates on USENET, just because someone dares to disagree with someone else. I see compably little of that here.

  14. #374

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    Thanks.

    What sets us apart is the number of smart people.

  15. #375
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    I agree with the poster who said he is losing interest. I think this is a case where too many cooks....

    I've tried to concentrate on things coming out of the ground. It is more to my liking discussing things that are real than ideas and theories that we can never prove or bring to fruition.

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