So, far, 100% in favor of the Memorial. Good to hear.
This thread is solely for discussing the merits or lack thereof of Reflecting Absence.
So, far, 100% in favor of the Memorial. Good to hear.
Do anybody know when are they starting with the construction?
From information on the LMDC website, public hearings for the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) will be held on Feb 18 2004.
for which construction is expected to begin on or before January 2005,
Jasonik, you have articulated a clear objective for this subject. Good luck on this chosen mission. I look forward to reading the comments but I will flee if it gets ugly and cross. There's mucht to anticipate at the WTC site, in Lower Manhattan, and indeed throughout the city and region. May these discussions add to our knowledge base and our awareness. God be with you.
I voted against it because it's too generic. Let me be clear: I don't hate the design, and it certainly has some interesting features (like the 12-story high waterfell) but it should be more site-specific. It could really be any memorial in any city for anything.
I have changed the name of this thread to reflect the fact that all discussion related to Arad and Walker Reflecting Absence design belongs here.
Seeing the model of the Calvatra PATH Station is really crystalizing the future of the site for me. I am now assuming the station will run East - West along a new block roughly in front of Century 21. I also now have a clearer image of the memorial, running East - West parallel to 7WTC and Verizon Bldg and North South From Deutsche Bank to 7WTC. When I realize that the memorial and park are that much more compact and reminded that it is not the "entire" site, I kind of have a better appreciation for the work of Liebskind, who I might too often malign.
I had not heard of him before his involvement with the WTC, but have come to appreciate him after researching his impressive previous works (the Holocaust Museum, for example).Originally Posted by BrooklynRider
I would have liked if the cultural building(s) on the southeast along Greenwich St had remained, but I'm glad the one along Vesey St bridging the north footprint is gone.
I agree and think that the parklike expanse abutting West Street, without the seeming wall of that museum, makes for a better public space and allows more afternoon sunlight into the park.Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
January 26, 2004
Changes to W.T.C. memorial altar a good design
By David Stanke
With the selection of the modified Reflecting Absence as the World Trade Center Memorial design, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the memorial jury has accomplished their most important objective: to bring closure to the various interests participating in the memorial process. The design provides insights into our cultural attitudes and values and our politics. The latest alterations have also dramatically changed the message of the memorial and expanded the cost of an already expensive memorial program.
The original design selected by the memorial committee was a minimalist expression of grief via a symbolic recreation of absence, a negative space around the footprints of the trade center. It did not attempt to recreate 9/11 in a futile attempt to re-ignite the feelings of that day: fear, hatred and shock. It simply displayed the emptiness that we were left with and challenged us to find a way of filling it. The jury should have proceeded with more modest alterations to this original design.
Michael Arad’s changes, made through the guidance of the memorial jury, have inexplicably altered the message of the space. Its spiritual center of gravity has shifted downward, into a pit that will virtually recreate the 9/11 image of death and destruction. A vast space encompassing most of the footprints and spanning to the retainer wall will be filled with destroyed artifacts that had been set-aside during the recovery. This latest design has been transformed into a theme park-like attempt to draw visitors vicariously into the experience of 9/11devastation, an experience that cannot be recreated in a memorial.
The starkness of the original plaza has been filled with trees; another layer of sugarcoating to mask the bitter taste of Osama’s destruction, so carefully preserved below.
The resulting symbolism of this monument is no longer a bridge from destruction to healing. It has failed to escape emotional gravity generated by 3,000 simultaneous deaths witnessed worldwide on live television.
How did this distinguished jury take such an errant turn? Clearly, the panel heard the valid call for connecting the site to its past. That call took them to the preserved wreckage stored at J.F.K. Airport. For two and a half years, I have walked past this devastated site and felt its power to hypnotize with even a casual glance. These artifacts in the airport hanger clearly grasped their attention and the jury lost site of the more detached road they had been following. Unfortunately, I know the affect of staring too long at the wreckage of 9/11. It is not understanding and enlightenment, but paralysis and despair.
Mr. Arad and the jury may also have taken this direction out of pure human sympathy. The most active members of the victims’ families have persisted in freezing the site in the condition that they left it immediately after the recovery effort, when hope of further recoveries was lost. They have repeated their plea that any other action is a direct insult to the dead. Everyone has sympathy for these individuals. In a society with a very distant and fearful understanding of death, it is impossible to say “no” to a widow, or a father, or a sister of the deceased. It is impossible, even when their request will cause them infinite pain.
Site planners have estimated a construction cost of $350 million for the 4.5-acre memorial. Like the veneer of trees concealing the new emotional center of the memorial, this estimate conceals the full cost of this memorial. Two parcels of property to the south must be purchased to handle the buildings displaced by the memorial. The estimate also ignores the aesthetic cost of the concentration of office buildings forced to the east of the memorial. These buildings will turn Church St. into the World Trade Center canyon. Planners ignore the cost of preparing other sites to handle the underground facilities (specifically, building support systems and a bus garage) that have been displaced from the bathtub by the new memorial. They ignore the impact that this added construction will have on businesses and residents of the area. This is happening in a country that cannot even raise the funds to fully open one of our most important national symbols: the Statue of Liberty.
Reflecting Absence could have taken a different direction, more in line with its original statement. It could have integrated essential components of the W.T.C. remains into Mr. Arad’s design at the ground level. This would have been far less costly. The historic fixtures in our memory could have been exposed to the routines of our lives, to sunlight and to moonlight, to rain and to snow. Instead they have been symbolically submerged into our subconscious.
While any transcendent symbolism in the memorial has been abandoned, the memorial process has completed its appointed task. All parties can walk away claiming victory, with the possible and inexplicable exception of the firemen. The 9/11 Coalition of Families can claim the victory of preserving the footprints from the bedrock to the sky, even though a park covers most of the bathtub. Community Board 1 can claim the victory of a traversable plaza, despite losing on every other aspect of the memorial space. The Port Authority, the site’s owner, Larry Silverstein, the W.T.C. developer, and New York City can get on with designing and building the surrounding area, although the costs will be much higher. Everyone who was deeply involved in the outcome has a degree of satisfaction. But if the nation is looking for a new and inspirational symbol, it will have to look elsewhere.
Though lacking transcendent vision, the design does reflect the values our society and our country. It perpetuates the 9/11 despair and hatred as many had hoped, to ensure that we never forget what those terrorists did to us. It perpetuates the emotional whirlwind that propelled politicians to the level of national icons simply for giving confident speeches. It fans the fears that fed public support for the Iraq war and enabled the roll back of our civil liberties. Our country has taken a different approach in the past. The Lincoln Memorial commemorates a civil war over slavery that took as many as 360,000 lives with the following inscription: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” What inscription will we engrave on the W.T.C. bathtub wall that will give such a perspective to 9/11/2001?
David Stanke owns a condominium across the street from the W.T.C. site and is one of the founders of BPC United.
Copyright 2004 Community Media LLC.
January 26, 2004
Great minds think alike? Memorial design and Stuy teens
By Josh Rogers
Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert
Elizabeth Wu, now a first-year architecture student at Cornell, explains the World Trade Center memorial design she worked on with her Stuyvesant High School classmates. The design, finished last June, features two sunken reflecting pools in the shape of the Twin Towers. Behind her is City Councilmember Alan Gerson, left, and two of the teachers who worked with the students, Alphonse Scotti, Gerson’s former homeroom teacher, and James Lonardo.
A series of ramps leading to two reflecting pools at the Twin Tower footprints. A wall of names around the pools honoring those people killed on 9/11. A handful of trees surrounding the pools on a street-level plaza. A cultural building nearby on Greenwich St.
Is it Michael Arad’s Reflecting Absence design that was selected for the World Trade Center memorial? Maya Lin’s W.T.C. idea before she was named to the memorial jury?
How about the plan by a group of 14 aspiring architects at Stuyvesant High School that was completed last June.
“I said ‘who stole what from whom,’ ” joked Alphonse Scotti, a Stuyvesant architecture teacher who worked with the students last fall and spring. Scotti was explaining his reaction when the design by Arad and Peter Walker was chosen in January.
“We thought we needed something quiet, hence the reflecting pools,” said Shun Yu, 16, at a small gathering on Wednesday to unveil the design, complete with sparkling cider served in Champagne glasses.
Yu said he hopes to study architecture in college. Maybe he’ll join Elizabeth Wu, 18, who is studying architecture at Cornell after graduating from Stuyvesant in 2003.
Wu, like the other students and teachers involved in the project, said she was more proud than anything that the team’s design bore some similarities to the selected plan. She said they featured “water to represent the tears and also to have a calming effect.”
The plaza bears looks more like Arad’s original design, which had only a small number of trees. After requests were made by the W.T.C. memorial jury, Arad teamed up with Walker, a landscape architect, who added enough trees so that the plaza is now described as a forest.
Arad had originally proposed a narrow cultural building on West St., but moved the cultural buildings to Greenwich St., coincidentally near the same spot the Stuyvesant students proposed a 9/11 museum. The students’ museum is nine-sided and has a replica of the Twin Towers, which also forms the shape of the number 11.
To be sure, there are other significant differences in the plans. Arad’s flowing water passes over walls of names and flows into a perpetual void, whereas the students’ pools are still.
Xiao Wei, 16, said of his group’s plan: “Basically the overall atmosphere is solemn – simple yet elegant.”
Most of the students who worked on the plan were at school and five blocks from the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Teachers and administrators led the students’ exodus along the river up to Chelsea Piers as the towers were burning. The public school, which attracts many of the city’s smartest students with its competitve entrance exam, was the first public school to reopen near the W.T.C. and former President Bill Clinton spoke at the 2002 graduation. But students seemed reluctant to talk about their own 9/11 experiences at the ceremony on Wednesday.
Architect Joseph Lengeling, who helped design Stuyvesant and worked on the Battery Park City master plan when he was with Cooper Robertson, advised the students and attended the unveiling. He compared the plan to the final memorial designs that were on display nearby. “This is absolutely a valid entry,” he said. “It is remarkably similar to the one we saw at the Winter Garden exhibit.”
The students also got advice from Andrew Winters, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s W.T.C. planner, who met with the students.
City Councilmember Alan Gerson, an alumni who represents Lower Manhattan, congratulated the students on their design and told them he hoped it would help influence the discussion as further revisions are made to the memorial plan.
“I view this as an ongoing project and I hope you will all be a part of it,” he said.
Although Gerson attended the school prior to the move to Battery Park City, it was still a homecoming in a sense, as he spied a familiar face walking into the room.
“A few years ago, Mr. Scotti was my homeroom teacher,” said Gerson.
Copyright 2004 Community Media LLC.
In the above picture, are those wine glasses? Do they serve water in a wine glasses in NYC? Most people drink wine from wine glasses. Wait a minute... the legal drinking age in NYC is 21. They look a lot younger than 21, some are freshmen college students. Hmmmm... maybe they are drinking water in wine glasses! :lol: Or, maybe they are breaking the law in front of their school teachers... :roll: :wink: ..... :lol:
They look like champagne flutes. Many NYC restaurants serve water in wine glasses (primarily red win glasses), but I've never heard of any non-champagne beverage in a champagne flute.