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. #796

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    So much for Libeskind...

    NY OBSERVER

    Gehry Tops Danny: Ground Zero Winner Scores Art Center

    by Blair Golson

    Daniel Libeskind has no buildings at Ground Zero to call his own.

    On Oct. 12, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced that architect Frank Gehry, of Bilbao fame, had won the competition to design a performing-arts center at the World Trade Center. The complex will house the Joyce Theater International Dance Center and the Signature Theatre Center.

    Mr. Libeskind, the site’s master planner, had been short-listed in the competition—which represented the last commission he could compete for. With his loss, it now appears that Mr. Libeskind will not be designing any of the major buildings slotted for the site with which New Yorkers have identified him since he won the coveted master-planner role there in February, 2003.

    The LMDC also announced on Tuesday that the relatively unknown Oslo-based architectural firm Snøhetta won the competition to design a museum at Ground Zero to house the International Freedom Center, a yet-to-be-created educational institution for exhibits related to mankind’s "enduring quest for freedom." The museum will also house the Drawing Center, a fine-arts institution that exhibits drawings. Mr. Libeskind was not short-listed for that commission. He is overseas and was unavailable for comment at press time.

    Neither Mr. Gehry nor the principals of Snøhetta submitted any renderings of their proposals. Schematic designs are expected by early 2005. Instead, the competition was based largely on interviews and in-person evaluations of the short-listed firms’ completed projects.

    "When I was interviewed for the Signature Theatre and the Joyce Theater," Mr. Gehry said in a statement, "I was taken to the window to look at the site from above and tears came to my eyes. I couldn’t control it."

    Craig Dykers, one of two principals at Snøhetta, told The Observer from Norway that he wouldn’t know what form the museum will take until he gets a better idea of the Freedom Center’s program.

    Mr. Dykers’ 15-year-old firm is best known in the architectural world for designing the library in Alexandria, Egypt—whose predecessor, a Wonder of the Ancient World, was destroyed in antiquity. Mr. Dykers also said Snøhetta will be collaborating on the project with Adamson Associates, an Ontario-based firm that is currently working with the architect Sir Norman Foster on the Hearst Tower in midtown.

    The two cultural complexes will be located across the street from one another at the intersection of Greenwich and Fulton streets—the performing-arts building just to the east of the Freedom Tower, and the museum on the northeast corner of the memorial quad.

    For Mr. Gehry, whose signature undulating-steel buildings have made him a household name throughout the world, the commission to design the performing-arts complex at Ground Zero represents a return to downtown Manhattan after the Bloomberg administration sunk the Guggenheim’s plan to build one of his buildings on the East River.

    For Mr. Libeskind, however, Mr. Gehry’s commission represents the culmination of his dashed hopes of designing at least one major building on the site—for there are no more commissions up for grabs.

    Although he collaborated on the design of the Freedom Tower, he had to play second fiddle to the lead designer on the project, Skidmore Owings & Merrill’s David Childs. On the memorial competition, which eventually went to East Village architect Michael Arad, Mr. Libeskind was ineligible to compete. (What’s more, the panel that chose Mr. Arad chose a design that significantly reconfigured Mr. Libeskind’s master plan.) The Port Authority unilaterally selected Santiago Calatrava for the PATH station.

    And for the remaining skyscrapers on the site, World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein has already named an all-star lineup of architects for each project: Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster and Fumihiko Maki. The two cultural commissions were Mr. Libeskind’s last shots.

    What seems ironic is that Mr. Libeskind got short-listed for the performing-arts complex, and not the museum. Before he ever emerged as a contender to design the World Trade Center master plan, Mr. Libeskind’s most prominent commission to date had been the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Upon its completion in 1999, the visually arresting, near universally admired building instantly thrust him into the rarefied circle of the world’s most sought-after museum designers. So it was all the more humiliating for him and his staff when, in mid-September of this year, Studio Daniel Libeskind did not even make the museum-commission short list.

    Of all the architectural commissions slotted for the 16-acre site—the five skyscrapers including the Freedom Tower, the memorial, the transportation center and another cultural building complex—Mr. Libeskind should have had a leg up on the museum competition. But he didn’t, losing out to a group of six finalists that included both household names, like the architect I.M. Pei, and the lesser-known Snøhetta. What’s worse, the early-round competition was not even based on actual museum designs. Rather, entrants only had to answer questions about their firm’s philosophy and architectural credentials. Mr. Libeskind, the master planner for the site, didn’t even make that cut.

    It had less to do with his architectural qualifications than with the bitter aftertaste that lingered in the wake of his public feud last winter over the design of the Freedom Tower with Mr. Silverstein and Mr. Childs, some said.

    A member of the panel that deliberated over the Freedom Center museum commission, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Observer that many panel members feared Mr. Libeskind would prove to be a "difficult" partner on the project. "Why start off with someone difficult?" the panel member said. "If the reputation is that there’s a little bit of contentiousness, why do that to yourself?"

    The panel member deliberating over the building’s short list said that neither the representatives of the Freedom Center nor of the Drawing Center felt entirely comfortable with the prospect of selecting Mr. Libeskind as their architect.


    "There was concern that we’ve got two very different types of institutions—one starting out from scratch, and another that’s a wonderful little place in Soho—and neither wanted to be overwhelmed by the personality and the idée fixe of the architect," the panel member said. "There was—how should I put it?—a little concern that that may be the case [with Libeskind]."

    Mr. Libeskind’s feud with Mr. Childs and Mr. Silverstein stemmed from a July 2003 power-sharing arrangement that made Mr. Childs the lead designer of the Freedom Tower and Mr. Libeskind a "collaborating" architect. Mr. Childs favored a massive, symmetrical tower that topped out above 2,000 feet, whereas Mr. Libeskind envisioned a slimmer, asymmetrical tower whose spire would reach the symbolic height of 1,776 feet. The "forced marriage," as Mr. Libeskind later put it, provided headline fodder for the media for months, peaking with what the New York Post termed a "Watergate" style break-in of Mr. Childs’ offices by Mr. Libeskind’s staffers. It was clear to anyone who was even cursorily following the dispute that each side was using the press to try to publicly disparage the other.

    The Freedom Center museum-panel member suggested, while declining to elaborate, that Mr. Libeskind missed out on the short list because several panel members believed that Mr. Libeskind’s relatively aggressive posturing was more the rule than the exception.

    "It went beyond Childs and Libeskind," the panel member said. "There were some people on the panel who knew Libeskind’s style. They knew what was going on with this guy."


    To be sure, Mr. Libeskind’s quarrel with Mr. Childs and Mr. Silverstein is emblematic of a larger issue that has its roots in a dispute over the very role of the master planner. On any given development site, the role of the master planner has as much or even more to do with urban planning as it does with what most people normally associate with architecture. The master planner decides the configuration of buildings on a site, their relative heights and bulks, the positioning of green or open space, and the interplay of streets and walkways. And while master planners typically do get to design one, if not all of the main buildings on a site, this is not necessarily the case.

    Nevertheless, when Mr. Libeskind won that master plan competition in February 2003, he felt he held a public mandate to ensure that the plan’s most iconic element, the Freedom Tower, would closely resemble the model he presented in his winning entry. However, that was not necessarily his decision to make. Mr. Silverstein holds a 99-year lease on the site, and although he had acquiesced to the LMDC’s decision to hold an international design competition for a master planner, he had not ceded his right to chose his own architects for the commercial portion of the sight—i.e., the skyscrapers. In fact, he had already selected Mr. Childs for the Freedom Tower job, and thus the roots of the dispute were born.

    Bitter as the Freedom Tower dispute was, however, it did not seem to affect the decision-making process of the panel members deliberating on the short list for the commission for the joint Joyce Dance Company–Signature Theatre building. Panel member Joseph Melillo, executive producer for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, said that during deliberations last month, no one even brought up the "forced marriage" issue while considering Mr. Libeskind’s entry to the competition.

    "We were all mature adults in that room, and we were evaluating the merits of the specific proposal; and that’s why he was short-listed," he said. "It wasn’t pertinent to the actual framing of the individual proposals put on the table. It was what was crafted by the Libeskind organization and the architect himself [that counted]."

    In a strange bit of irony, Mr. Libeskind, whose wife is from Canada, currently holds the Frank O. Gehry chair in the architecture department at the University of Toronto. Also, both he and Mr. Gehry are currently engaged in crosstown architectural projects in Toronto: Mr. Libeskind is designing a new wing of the Royal Ontario Museum, and Mr. Gehry is planning a renovation of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

    Mr. Libeskind’s loss in the cultural-complex competition is sure to renew talk among the chattering classes that he has been further marginalized in the rebuilding process.

    But the counterspin from the Libeskinds’ supporters in the architecture scene was already coming thick and fast on the night of Oct. 12.

    "Ironically, if they don’t have a commission, it gives them all the more reason to focus on making the site plan work with buildings being designed by others," said Ric Bell, executive director of American Institute of Architects, who was instrumental in organizing many of the public sessions during 2002 and 2003 in which the public was invited to respond to the rebuilding process.

    "The role of the site architect, if they are frozen out of the cultural facilities, is to work more diligently and harder than ever to make sure that some of the spirit of the architecture of the site plan comes through."

  2. #797

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    I think this sums up the development process up to this point:

    For Mr. Libeskind, however, Mr. Gehry’s commission represents the culmination of his dashed hopes of designing at least one major building on the site—for there are no more commissions up for grabs.

    .....for the remaining skyscrapers on the site, World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein has already named an all-star lineup of architects for each project: Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster and Fumihiko Maki. The two cultural commissions were Mr. Libeskind’s last shots.
    Libeskind seems to have burned a lot of bridges with people involved with the rebuilding. But Pataki could take part of the blame. People often accuse Silvertein of all that is wrong with the rebuilding on the site, but he's only rebuilding the office space - something he has to do for the PA (even as he makes payments for the hole in the ground).


    It had less to do with his architectural qualifications than with the bitter aftertaste that lingered in the wake of his public feud last winter over the design of the Freedom Tower with Mr. Silverstein and Mr. Childs, some said.

    A member of the panel that deliberated over the Freedom Center museum commission, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Observer that many panel members feared Mr. Libeskind would prove to be a "difficult" partner on the project. "Why start off with someone difficult?" the panel member said. "If the reputation is that there’s a little bit of contentiousness, why do that to yourself?"

    The panel member deliberating over the building’s short list said that neither the representatives of the Freedom Center nor of the Drawing Center felt entirely comfortable with the prospect of selecting Mr. Libeskind as their architect.

    The Freedom Center museum-panel member suggested, while declining to elaborate, that Mr. Libeskind missed out on the short list because several panel members believed that Mr. Libeskind’s relatively aggressive posturing was more the rule than the exception. "It went beyond Childs and Libeskind," the panel member said. "There were some people on the panel who knew Libeskind’s style. They knew what was going on with this guy."
    That's not to say that Libeskind won't actually design anything in the city in the future. He obviously has some fans, but his constant bickering has tarnished his reputation enough that no one at the WTC wants to be involved with him....

  3. #798
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    Leibskind proved himself to be the ultimate outsider in NY real estate and development. More than anything, he got in the way, disrupted schedules and, in the end, drove up costs. That's not an enviable record developers and builders seek.

    Silverstein has projects scheduled for the next 10 years. He owns numerous properties and has relationships with the major developers in the city. SOM is a powerhouse that is respected, if not for its designs, at least, for its business relationships and business saavy. Tishman Construction, is Silverstein's builder and is also the builder for the Rudins, the Dursts, and they operate a huge foundation feeding art and performing art institutions all over the city. That's a lot of influence that can be working against you.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the work of Liebskind in NYC peaked with this masterplan. He has shown no ability to compromise or be a team player. Bub-bye Danny.

  4. #799

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    I cannot believe how much people in this forum rip on Mr. Liebskind. Everyone is so quick to bash him and say terrible things about him, but no one is willing to take a second and put themselves in his shoes. Just imagine going through what he went through. Winning a competiotion for the design of the World Trade Center site, and then having the powers at hand changing everything except the street pattern. If that's all they wanted from him, then that's all they should have asked for in the competition. I'd be insulted too if this happened to me, but then again I'm not an architect, and I'm sure that some of you in this forum who bash him aren't either, so lay off Daniel Liebskind.

  5. #800

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    Quote Originally Posted by BronxBoy
    Winning a competiotion for the design of the World Trade Center site, and then having the powers at hand changing everything except the street pattern. If that's all they wanted from him, then that's all they should have asked for in the competition.
    Looks like someone saw the PBS special. :roll:

  6. #801
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    Quote Originally Posted by BronxBoy
    I cannot believe how much people in this forum rip on Mr. Liebskind. Everyone is so quick to bash him and say terrible things about him, but no one is willing to take a second and put themselves in his shoes. Just imagine going through what he went through. Winning a competiotion for the design of the World Trade Center site, and then having the powers at hand changing everything except the street pattern. If that's all they wanted from him, then that's all they should have asked for in the competition. I'd be insulted too if this happened to me, but then again I'm not an architect, and I'm sure that some of you in this forum who bash him aren't either, so lay off Daniel Liebskind.
    I would suggest that YOU take the time to actually read threads and understand the depth of information that is shared in this forum. Instead of playing reactionary to current posts, making unsubstantiated and hysterical claims, and demanding that we withhold our opinion to suit your worldview, it would behoove you to take into consideration the development of the ideas on here.

    I have no problem with you disagreeing with me, but you might want to reexamine the tone and language of your communicationl. No one on here needs to have a degree in anything to post - just courtesy. Despite your rude, obnoxious response, I'll tell you where I get "my nerve" to bash Liebskind. First, like many others in this forum, I have been reading and following this project and, specifically, this thread since its inception. I have 15 years of experience in the construction industry with Bovis and Tishman and have a pretty good understanding of the interplay between builder, owner and architect on projects. I have pretty good knowledge of the kind of discussions that will go on behind closed doors and what happens when a company or person is perceived as a "pain in the ass".

    Architects are hired by and work FOR the developer. They can often have contentious relationships with the CM, Engineer and trades as they try to build, in a cost effective manner, the architect's design. For the most part, the contention goes with the territory and no one takes it personally. Liebskind was an exception. He is operating with a notion that he is calling the shots and he can impose an inordinate amount of influence on a process that requires synergy - not resistance and certainly not ultimatums.

    He has pretty much been cut out of every facet of this project following the selection of his masterplan design. Note that I said "selection". He did not "win" the masterplan design competition. THINK won that and Pataki overuled that vote.

    I don't discount his design capabilities. What I do question is his ability to endure and successfully collaborate in NY, KNOWING the way the industry works.

    Your October 10th post in another thread suddenly seems premonitory. You said:

    "i did not see the point of this forum but, i enyoid the pictures..."

  7. #802
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    Quote Originally Posted by BronxBoy
    I cannot believe how much people in this forum rip on Mr. Liebskind. Everyone is so quick to bash him and say terrible things about him, but no one is willing to take a second and put themselves in his shoes. Just imagine going through what he went through. Winning a competiotion for the design of the World Trade Center site, and then having the powers at hand changing everything except the street pattern. If that's all they wanted from him, then that's all they should have asked for in the competition. I'd be insulted too if this happened to me, but then again I'm not an architect, and I'm sure that some of you in this forum who bash him aren't either, so lay off Daniel Liebskind.
    I think if you take a look at the other architects in this project, they are much less arrogant and more flexible than Libeskind has appeared to be. As BrooklynRider mentions and has been talked about many times, he didn't really "win" the competition yet he acted as though all of the world had wanted his design. Then with that false-premise he insisted that the Freedom Tower be exactly like he drew it.

    The most outrageous thing in my opinion was how he had his staff break in to SOM's offices in order to tattle on Childs' and his FT design to Pataki. This lowered the height of the tower. The Freedom Tower will be great, I believe. But it is deplorable that it could have been taller with less arragonce on Libeskind's part.

  8. #803

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    I believe it is still going to be 2000 feet.

  9. #804

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    This is in response to BrooklynRider. First of all, my tone was not as harsh as you interpreted it. I've reread what I wrote over and over again, trying to find what got you so upset, and I can't find anything. I think that your tone is uncalled for. Saying that I made "unsubstantiated and hysterical claims" is extreme. I was just expressing my opinion. On top of that, I didn't post anything on October 10th, so get your facts straight. In other words, lighten up, it's only a forum.

  10. #805
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    Quote Originally Posted by BronxBoy
    This is in response to BrooklynRider. First of all, my tone was not as harsh as you interpreted it. I've reread what I wrote over and over again, trying to find what got you so upset, and I can't find anything. I think that your tone is uncalled for. Saying that I made "unsubstantiated and hysterical claims" is extreme. I was just expressing my opinion. On top of that, I didn't post anything on October 10th, so get your facts straight. In other words, lighten up, it's only a forum.
    Anyone in this forum can click on the profile button next to any of your posts. From there, they can click the blue hyperlink to "Find All Posts By Bronx Boy". There they will scroll down to October 10th and see your post, which states in it's entirety:

    "i did not see the point of this forum but, i enyoid the pictures. Exept for the one of the getto.

    The picture you're referring to isn't even the "getto". It's Chelsea. Notice the High Line."

    Your original post was accusatory and rude. You first sentence stated:

    "I cannot believe how much people in this forum rip on Mr. Liebskind. Everyone is so quick to bash him and say terrible things about him, but no one is willing to take a second and put themselves in his shoes."

    Posters in these forums, generally, know the issues in depth and do not make rash posts. In my opinion, posters do not put up throw away posts, just so everyone knows they are here. They read the thread and ADD to the discourse. Plus, it is frowned upon by the system administrator, is reason for reprimand by moderators and violates the general courtesty we attempt to show each other.

    You then went on to state:

    "...then again I'm not an architect, and I'm sure that some of you in this forum who bash him aren't either, so lay off Daniel Liebskind."

    Actually, many of the people posting in this forum are architects, construction professionals, urban planners, community board members and attendees or work in the development field. Certainly on this subject, we have a great many people engaged in the process at all levels as residents, commercial tenants, memorial competition entrants, and as survivors of the 9/11 event that made this all necessary. You made a blanket statement that was dismissive of the opinions, not through reason and evidence, but through attacking credibility, intelligence and motive.

    As I said, feel free to disagree with anything posted, but I will confront a post that seems rash or which I feel does not show courtesy, thoughtfulness, or a mature level of communication.

    Welcome to the forum. Now back to the topic.

  11. #806

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    Look, I just expressed my opinion. If you didn't like it, that's your perogative. I think that your responses are excessive and condescending. "Welcome to the forum." I've been reading these forums religiously for the past six months. This is the first time I have felt unwelcome in here, thanks to you.

  12. #807

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    lets just stop with this stupid crap. we are all intitled to our own opinion and we are all welcomed to do that.Lets remind ourselfs that we are in America and just stop arguing so stupidly.

  13. #808

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    SSP disease. Damn that lack of vaccines.

  14. #809

    Default Gehry = Liebskind

    In all this talk about Liebskind (who as we all now know is no longer a factor in anything) I think we've missed the bigger point. Gehry has just been appointed to construct a new small building in one of the most important sites in NYC. Three problems:

    1: Does the site merit a building which will no doubt no longer be one of a kind but rather another predictiable collision of Gehry-esque shapes?
    There are so many different things already going on with the site -- everything is a sculpture and nothing works together. This is yet another sculpture piece that will be thrown into the mis-mash.

    2: Is Gehry really going to devote any considerable amount of time and energy to a relatively small building when he is building multi-million square foot campuses all over the world?
    He himself as freely admitted that he didn't too much want to get involved with ground zero (interview in the NY Times shortly after the masterplan competition got underway). This is small potatoes for him, and he even has two - three other NY projects underway (at least). It doesn't matter to him if this gets pulled off without a hitch or not. As soon as the critics and community groups, etc. start getting him in hot water he's outta there. He'll hand off the project to someone else in his office and move on...

    3: Is Gehry really any better than Liebskind at dealing w/ the pressures of getting a quality building built? I've been two building of Gehry's recently (the Seattle Experience Music Project and the Strata Center @ MIT) and by god where they hideous once you get close. By this i don't even mean their overall form -- i mean that they were just really badly built and done. The strata center had pieces of the metal wall falling off already and exposed insulation and thing had only been finished a few months.

    I could go on -- but for all of these questions i've asked above i don't feel Gehry was at all a good choice.

    NYC is going to end up getting a badly built third rate copy of a copy of something he did a long time ago that will be over budget, not work with the context going up around it, not add anything significant to the NYC architectural scene (especially not since he has three other projects in the works here anyway), and not be good for the organizations within it.

    I just wish NYC did it like they do it in Europe: an open architectural competition so that the best project wins, not the best name-brand. Better yet, by doing so NY would promote itself as a place for cutting edge architecture, not the place that tries to catch up to everyone else.

  15. #810
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    A few recent posts in this forum subject have mentioned that the Freedom Tower will top out at 2000'. Interesting.

    I only heard the 2000' height mentioned ONE TIME at the place where I work. It was a quick inquiry, "what would be the impact if the tower went to 2000?" Answer was, "we'd probably have to do an environmental." I'm assuming this meant, an Environmental Impact Study. As far as impact to navigation, I was told that anything up to the height of the former WTC antenna was good to go. Anything above that point would require an analysis of airspace impact, some environmental work, etc. If anybody has any more info on the rumor of 2000, that would be great. Why not just make it 2001?

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