I'm afraid it'll be a cross between AOL-TW and the Emirates Towers.
Let's just hope the Freedom Tower is better than AOL-TW
I'm afraid it'll be a cross between AOL-TW and the Emirates Towers.
Well if he was the guy who designed the Bertlesman building I'm afraid some of the spire will be lattice work, like the spire on the Bertlesman building.
It's a possibility.
Would that be bad ?
Personally, I'd rather it be enclosed space.
It would be more dignified.
But I don't dislike the functional aspect of antennas.
An architect works quietly to design new WTC Tower
* * *
By Justin Davidson
September 2, 2003
The architect David Childs is suspicious of inspiration.
"People think that architects just sit down with a blank piece of paper, sketch something out and that's it - you've got a design," said Childs, standing in his office and stooping over a plywood scale model of lower Manhattan. "But to do a sketch is dangerous. It's easy to fall in love with a sketch and it's very easy to convince a client to fall in love with your sketch."
With one hand, Childs lifted out a pair of twin towers and the miniature Manhattan skyline suddenly took on its post-Sept. 11, 2001 appearance. In the other hand he held a generic plastic cone as a stand-in for the 1,776 foot spire he is designing to replace the destroyed World Trade Center, dubbed the Freedom Tower. Tentatively, like a boy setting up a city of blocks, he lowered the cone into position, a few inches away from the office building he has already designed, 7 World Trade Center.
For now he is not permitting any public glimpses of his designs for the Freedom Tower. In preparation for an interview, he had stripped the conference room of drawings, leaving tape marks on the bare white walls. Like everyone else involved in the project, he would not talk publicly about the details, though at times he was obviously fighting the temptation to do so. A design, he said, would likely be made public sometime this month.
With all the outsized personalities associated with the task of rebuilding the World Trade Center - Daniel Libeskind, the voluble visionary; George Pataki, the soft-spoken potentate; Larry Silverstein, the hard-charging magnate brandishing his 99-year lease to the World Trade Center - Childs tends to drift out of the spotlight. A tall, quiet man with a gentle, slightly formal manner and a fuzzed pate that gives him the appearance of a large and very serious baby, Childs has had an enormous impact on New York and seems destined to have an even greater one.
Over the past 20 years as head of the New York office at the firm of Skidmore Owings and Merrill, he has designed a bouquet of Manhattan skyscrapers, including the Worldwide Plaza on Eighth Avenue at 48th Street, the Bertelsmann headquarters at Times Square and the Lexington Avenue tower that rises over the post office at Grand Central Station. Every day, thousands of people flow through his Terminal Four at JFK International Airport. And maybe one day a beleaguered New York City and New York State will scrape together the will and the money to execute his acclaimed redesign of Penn Station, relocated to the old Farley post office building. In the meantime, construction is nearing completion on Childs' AOL Time Warner Center, the $1.8 billion behemoth of Columbus Circle, reputedly the country's most expensive building.
And yet for a man who habitually works on such a colossal scale, he tends to be omitted from his profession's pantheon of celebrities. He is known for producing elegant workhorses, skyscrapers that will turn a profit while still honoring the skyline. But it's a reputation that regularly gets him dismissed as a "commercial architect," as if he were architecture's equivalent of a jingle writer. His selection as the lead designer of the Freedom Tower (Libeskind, who had shaped the site's master plan, had to settle for deputy status) was widely interpreted as the assertion of the developer Larry Silverstein's hardheaded business interest over Libeskind's eloquent philosophy. The Times of London summarized Childs' reputation as a corporate box-builder by asserting flatly: "The office towers that Mr. Childs will propose at Ground Zero may be unexciting, but they will most certainly attract tenants."
Childs' reaction to the "commercial" label is to repudiate it and be proud of it almost simultaneously. "Actually, 60 percent or more of my work has been on civic projects," he pointed out, citing his early work on the master plan for the redevelopment of the Mall in Washington, D.C. "But New York is about skyscrapers. When people think of New York, do they think of Grand Central Station, or do they think of the Chrysler Building? If you want to build a city, you have to get your hands dirty [with commercial projects]. It's messy, there are tremendous pressures and enormous egos at work, and sometimes you lose."
Childs wages these battles armed with great powers of persuasion: "taking a site that would have been developed as a C-plus building and convincing your developer to do it as an A-minus building," as he puts it. Specifically, he claims credit for cajoling Silverstein into reducing the size of 7 World Trade Center in order to run Greenwich Street through the site. "You can generally convince a developer to spend more money for a facade or something. What you can't do is take away his square footage - that's his golden goose," Childs said. "But we convinced Larry to lose 40,000 square feet on Number Seven. I thought that was important because Greenwich Street was once the edge of the Hudson River, so it's got historic and natural implications."
Once construction began, however, observers of downtown noticed that the Con Edison substation being erected as the tower's base was thrusting out 34 feet farther than its next door neighbor, creating a constricted Greenwich Street. That, Childs has said, couldn't be helped, given Silverstein's and Con Ed's constraints. Childs discusses these issues with a rueful smile that seems to say: You can't erect a skyscraper in New York City without setting off a geyser of complaints; we're willing to listen, but only up to a point.
In a world full of imperial egos, Childs comes across as almost self-effacing, a virtuoso of compromise and accommodation. After outlining the many reasons he believed the new World Trade Center should be situated several blocks south and east from the location Libeskind had chosen, he acknowledged that Gov. George Pataki had effectively quashed the idea. "And that's fine," he said brightly. "I agree with him."
Childs quietly grooves on the contradictory forces that go into building in New York City, the public battles over views, the demands of economics, the idiosyncratic skew of a street, the need to shoehorn battleship-sized machinery, acres of office space and sufficient quantities of light and air into a cramped Manhattan parcel.
These are, to him, far more potent agents in shaping the way a building looks than some abstract notion of style - which is why his projects have never been overweening displays of individual imagination. If you want a signature building, an instantly recognizable example of a great artist-architect's work, then you do not go to David Childs.
A decade ago, the critic Paul Goldberger opened his introduction to a special issue of the Japanese architecture and urbanism magazine A + U with the approving comment: "There is no such thing as a David Childs style." Asked if that statement was fair, Childs smiled noncommittally, but didn't object: "Some people have a pre-set form and then fit it into a museum or a train station or whatever. I believe that a building is best if it's particular to the site. Otherwise, if you have a form that you can just put anywhere, it's usually dead architecture."
Fabb, I would also, like JM, prefer an enclosed space because it will have more of an impact on the skyline. I personally don't find the spire of Bertlesman to look like part of the building. I just want the spire of the Freedom Tower to look like it is part of the building, not something thrown on top. I would prefer it to look like a usable part of the building, not an empty useless spire. Wouldn't you agree?
Hey, Freedom Tower, the truth will set you free...
Come on, New Yorkers, If it's a useless spire, let's be proud!
*Chants in the background*
"I love Useless Spires!"
"It's pointless, and it's cool!"
"I Heart Spires that are worthless!"
"New York City is Cool, but Spires with No Purpose are Better!"
"NyC, Home of the Spire, that actually does NOTHING!"
I Could make a fortune selling thesse as t-shirts are something.
How about "Pointy and Pointless"?
TLOZ, your a genius...how could I have overlooked an other succesful t-shirt?
Pointy and Pointless-The New World Trade Center:
* * Construction Starting September 11th, 2004
Ah, I'm sure it will turn out good. Have hope.
Haha. You guys are hilarious. Trust me Maniac, I am definately hoping the new WTC will be good.
(Edited by Freedom Tower at 4:17 pm on Sep. 3, 2003)
As you should be Tower...
I think I just decided that all our moaning is doing no good. Seriously, I don't quite think they can just mess this up.
We'll end up with something good Freedom Tower-Trust me on that one, and keep up the optimistic feelings.
Libeskind, Childs Mesh Competing Visions at Trade Center Site
Sept. 11 (Bloomberg) -- The architect Daniel Libeskind knew he'd have to defend the Freedom Tower he'd proposed for the World Trade Center site when he arrived for a July meeting with development officials.
He didn't expect to be roped into a one-on-one debate with a competing architect, David Childs, hired by leaseholder Larry Silverstein to design the tower based on Libeskind's concept.
``I put them in a room,'' Kevin Rampe, head of the development agency, said in an interview. ``I told them the project was too important, not just to the city but to the country.'' He asked them to stay until they could work together.
Three hours later, the two announced they would cooperate, with Childs as chief architect. What they didn't say is that Childs objected to Libeskind's tower design. In a subsequent interview, Childs said he doubted it was structurally sound or cost-efficient and said he plans to change it.
On the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, meshing Libeskind's vision and Childs's design for the Freedom Tower is one of the many aesthetic, engineering, logistical, economic and political challenges for the biggest and most costly public or private development project in New York history.
Planners expect to spend at least $10 billion to remake Lower Manhattan under Libeskind's master plan for redevelopment. His proposal was chosen in an international competition in February organized by Rampe's agency, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., created by New York Governor George Pataki and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
In the next several weeks, Libeskind will complete a revised plan; a jury will announce finalists for the design of a memorial; Silverstein, as leaseholder of the World Trade Center site, plans to pick architects for four proposed office buildings there; and Childs will unveil his own revised concept for the Freedom Tower, which he said may cost between $1 billion and $1.5 billion.
The tower is to be the tallest building in the world, replacing the fallen Twin Towers on New York's skyline as a symbol of renewal as well as commerce for the city and the U.S. after its worst terrorist attack.
A timetable set by Pataki calls for groundbreaking in August 2004, around the time of the Republican National Convention in New York from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 that year.
If all goes according to plan, by 2008 the Freedom Tower will look down on a Sept. 11 museum to the south; a new mass transit center, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, will sit to the east; extensions of two streets will divide the site's 16 acres into four quadrants and at least two new public plazas. Still to come would be four other office towers, a memorial to those who died on Sept. 11, and at least two other cultural buildings.
In separate interviews, Pataki, Childs, Libeskind, Rampe and other people involved in the redevelopment said the two architects had made progress in unifying the divergent views that were not made public after their meeting in July.
``Having Daniel Libeskind and David Childs representing the public side and the private side coming to an agreement is a significant step to allow us as we have every step of the way to meet every deadline in an aggressive timeframe.'' Pataki said.
Yet two months after the July meeting, differences remain.
Libeskind, 57, envisioned the Freedom Tower as an office building with an adjoining slender spire on its side echoing the Statue of Liberty holding her torch to the sky. Its planned height of 1,776 feet (541 meters) was meant as a reminder of 1776, the year of American independence.
Childs, 62, said his own design for the tower will adapt that concept. The tower, for example, may be one building, not two linked structures as Libeskind originally envisioned it. He said he had criticized Libeskind's design because joining the spire and office building was unsafe.
``When you're 1,500 feet in the air, the world of nature rules -- wind and gravity,'' Childs said in the interview. He said the plan's ``whipsawed tower'' attached by walkways to a ``large blocky building'' might tear each other apart. They would only be made secure through extraordinarily expensive measures, he said.
Libeskind, in an interview, countered that engineers for Arup Group Ltd., a London-based engineering firm, had assessed its structural safety and cost efficiency.
David Scott, principal in charge of structures for Arup, said: ``We are reasonably comfortable that the building can be made both cost-effective and very robust.''
Libeskind said his more recent plans call for ``one singular united tower,'' and not two adjoining structures.
Harnessing Wind Power
Childs said that proposed revision by Libeskind would weave a largely symbolic spire into the tower that ``will act as if it were on top of the building.''
``There will be some issue about that,'' Childs predicted. ``There's some vestigial character he may want to keep, or I may think it would be a little bit dishonest.''
Childs said he also intended to change Libeskind's design to take advantage of the strong winds that blow down the Hudson River and through the site at skyscraper altitude.
``This building has the opportunity to generate virtually all of its own energy,'' Childs said. ``That will change the way the building looks.''
Libeskind said installing wind-driven generators could be achieved without changing the look of his design.
He said he remains convinced his concept of the Freedom Tower will prevail.
``I'm not expecting it will be some sort of different tower the people have not seen,'' Libeskind said. ``The tower will be the tower.''
$3.2 Billion Lease
As architect for Silverstein, the leaseholder, Childs has emphasized controlling costs. Silverstein leased the World Trade Center property for 99 years from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey just six weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, for $3.2 billion, the highest price ever paid for a single U.S. property.
``All these issues will continue to go on,'' said Childs. ``The costing issue has got to be resolved.''
Nonetheless, he said he was committed to Libeskind's vision.
At the July meeting, he said, ``I promised I would do whatever I could to see that the master plan is carried out.''
Rampe, the development agency chief, said he told the two architects ``to work something out.'' Then he left.
For three hours, the two architects met alone -- without food or drink, Childs recalled -- debating and sketching alternate visions on legal pads.
Outside, Libeskind's aides ordered pizza and soft drinks and waited -- among them Libeskind's wife, Nina, who runs his business affairs; a publicist; and lawyer Edward Hayes, a Court TV anchorman.
`A Lot of Pressure'
Rampe took repeated calls that night from Joe Cahill, Pataki's chief of staff. ``Certainly there was a lot of pressure to keep progress going forward,'' he said.
Mitchell Moss, director of New York University's Taub Urban Research Center, said Pataki's 2008 deadline ``is eminently doable. And there's nothing like a deadline to motivate work.''
``No one expects architects to get along,'' Moss said. ``Architects by definition are prima donnas.''
Libeskind is a Polish immigrant who lost relatives in the Holocaust. He designed Berlin's Jewish Museum.
His current commissions include a new wing for the Denver Art Museum and an addition to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Childs has designed almost half of New York's major buildings since the late 1980s, said Alexander Garvin, former Lower Manhattan Development Corp. vice president for planning.
`Solid and Safe'
His credits include Worldwide Plaza on Eighth Avenue and West 49th Street, and the Madison Avenue headquarters of Bear Stearns Cos.
Childs is a partner at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, the third- largest U.S. architectural design firm, after Hellmuth Obata & Kasselbaum and Gensler, according to Engineering News Record magazine.
``David is solid and safe,'' said Garvin, who, on behalf of the Lower Manhattan agency, worked with Childs on the rebuilding of developer Silverstein's 7 World Trade Center, destroyed by fire on Sept. 11. ``I don't think anyone would describe his work as groundbreaking. It's classical.''
Childs angered some victim family groups and admirers of the old trade center last year when he told Time Magazine the towers were symbols of ``the mid-century arrogance of architects. What they did to Lower Manhattan was an act of vandalism just as complete as Sept. 11.''
He now calls that remark ``poorly phrased.'' What he meant, he said, was that the World Trade Center and other urban renewal projects like Detroit's Renaissance Center tore up the fabric of the downtowns they were built in.
``He believes in streets and blocks,'' said Garvin. ``The old World Trade Center was the antithesis of that.''
Last Updated: September 11, 2003 07:38 EDT
I was thinking about how the Other Buildings on the site (Numbering 4, I think) Will be built by different architects.
At first I didn't like this. But it's starting to appeal to me more.
Those other towers will all be pretty huge, and I think 2 or 3 of the four will be over 1,000 feet.
If they all look the same, we won't be able to really like any single one, and we won't take in that they are 4 new buildings gracing the skyline.
If they are built differently, it will be like adding 4 new, different, modern scrapers to the Downtown Skyline, Something that is really needed.
What is everyone's views on this?