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Thread: WTC Memorial - by Michael Arad (Architect) and Peter Walker (Landscape)

  1. #76


    Your foresight is as impressive as your vocabulary.

  2. #77


    ‘Majestic’ oaks for memorial
    By Josh Rogers

    A forest of oak trees will fill the World Trade Center memorial plaza under new details of the design unveiled Thursday.

    Michael Arad, Peter Walker and Max Bond, the memorial’s architects, made adjustments to the design so pedestrians could enter the plaza from all four streets and they left an area where visitors could touch the World Trade Center bedrock and slurry wall and see many of the remnants of the boxbeam columns that supported the Twin Towers, answering a concern of many of the relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11 attack.

    The initial reactions to the adjustments from residents who saw the changes were also positive. Jordan Gruzen, an architect and longtime resident of Battery Park City, said he likes that there is no longer a wall on West St. blocking access from his neighborhood. “It softens it with the stairs,” he said.

    The Port Authority, owners of the site, agreed to requests from the city and Community Board 1 to move the truck and tour bus access ramp from the north side of Liberty St. to the south making entry to the memorial easier.

    Walker, a California based landscape architect, said he chose oaks, because “it’s a majestic tree. It’s also relatively pest-free…. Oaks have a long life span and they are built sturdily. Sycamores tend to move around.”

    The oaks will form a canopy with the lowest branches about 20 feet high. The spring green leaves will thicken to provide shade through the summer and on Sept. 11, and will turn to red and brown through the fall before dropping to let in light through the winter.

    In April, designers will select about 300 oak samplings and later trim them and grow them in a place in or near New York City to prepare for the climate, Walker said. The trees will grow for three years before being transplanted to the memorial before it’s expected opening on the eighth anniversary of the attack, Sept. 11, 2009, when he hopes the canopy will be about 18 feet high and the tree tops 40 feet. They should grow to be between 50 and 60 feet high. About 15 percent of the trees will be other varieties, although those have not yet been selected, Walker said.

    Memorial construction on the Reflecting Absence design of two sunken reflecting pools where the towers stood is expected to begin in 2006.
    Walker said the street level forest would surround the reflecting pools and hopefully draw some people who live and work in the neighborhood in addition to relatives and tourists.

    It will be “a little more refined, a little more quiet than your average park,” Walker said. “We want people to feel welcome — if you come in to have your lunch, read a book, bring your girlfriend, that’s fine.”

    Arad, who conceived the design idea, said, “This plaza belongs both to the memorial and to the city.”

    He thinks the most powerful moment for visitors will be when they descend the ramp and see the victims’ names, the falling water and the empty pool and experience — as he described it after the presentation — “the vast magnitude of the destruction, the vastness of the space and the thousands of names.”

    His original idea, selected as one of eight finalists by a 13-member jury in a design competition organized by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, included a cultural building along West St. and a small number of trees. Jurors asked Arad to spruce up the design and he turned to Walker to redesign the plaza before it was picked in January.

    There was still a wall along West St. to the dismay of some jurors, but Arad and his partners worked with the L.M.D.C. and the Port Authority to make adjustments to compensate for the different street level heights and the infrastructure underground.

    One of the models at the presentation showed a tunnel under West St. adjacent to the memorial, but officials said no decision has been made yet on the contentious tunnel question. A spokesperson for the L.M.D.C. interrupted to prevent Arad from saying whether he thought a tunnel was a good idea or not.

    Gruzen, the Battery Park City architect, said he disagrees with many of his neighbors and he was glad to see the tunnel in one model.
    “I think they’re thinking about construction over the next two, three years,” Gruzen said of neighbors wary of a tunnel. “I don’t think they’re looking at the long-term.”

    He said it would make it easier to cross the street near the memorial.
    One reason given for the tunnel is it will take some of the traffic effects away from the memorial, the same reason Arad once gave for proposing a cultural building.

    John Dellaportas, the leader of a coalition to prevent the tunnel, said the memorial is not a good reason for building the tunnel, pointing out that 9/11 relatives seldom mention it. Even if it makes the area safer right near the memorial, Dellaportas said it would undoubtedly make it less safe near the entrance and exit ramps.

    “Whenever we hear from family members, they are never asking for it…. Overall for the community, it will be less safe for Battery Park City residents,” he said.

    Family members at the presentation did seem pleased with the adjustments to the memorial.

    “These people listened to what we were saying,” said Charles Wolf, whose wife was killed in her office at Marsh & McClennan.

    The Coalition of 9/11 Families, which has been much more critical of the memorial, released a statement praising many of the changes, including preserving many of the boxbeam columns and improving the access area to bedrock. The coalition is hoping the design is refined further to expand the access to the south tower, where the PATH train tracks will run. They also are asking for a change away from the proposal to list the names randomly.

    There was no mention of the random name listing at the presentation and officials are apparently open to considering other ideas in the future.
    Anthony Gardner, a coalition leader whose brother was killed Sept. 11, said Kevin Rampe, L.M.D.C. president and a director on the new memorial foundation, clarified recent comments to Downtown Express about the name listing.

    Rampe said on Dec. 1: “They’re negotiating with themselves if they’re negotiating…. I think we put that issue to bed a long time ago.”

    According to Gardner and Wolf, who attended the same meeting for family leaders Dec. 15, Rampe indicated that when he said there were no negotiations happening about the names, he meant currently, and that the issue could be discussed in the future.

    Wolf said he is not sure if he wants names to be listed with co-workers, as many relatives of firefighters and office workers have proposed, but he does want some sense of order, such as groupings by building, floor and flight number. The names of every victim who died in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. or at the W.T.C. either in 2001 or in the 1993 bombing will be listed around the falling water.

    There will be some sort of name locator in the underground memorial center. Visitors will be able to descend ramps around the falling water or they could take a ramp directly to the bottom of the pool 30 feet below street level and the bedrock area 70 feet below. The slurry wall will be exposed to the sky from bedrock at the northwest corner of the memorial and there will be a clear street level area at the southwest corner near Liberty and West Sts. Standing room will be available for about 10,000 people, or seats for about 5,000 for the public ceremonies every Sept. 11.

    Both Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Mike Bloomberg praised the design at the presentation in Battery Park City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage. A 3-dimensional model will be on display at the World Financial Center Winter Garden within a day or two.

    Bloomberg said even before Arad’s design was selected it was his favorite. “This is the only one that, to me, stood out,” the mayor said. “I didn’t have a say in the selction, but it was the one that was chosen.”

  3. #78


    Has anyone noticed or does anyone care that RA seems to be a rehash of what Libeskind already did in Berlin, a museum with a museum within ,complete with voids pointing to what is absent?

  4. #79


    January 5, 2005

    Trade Center Memorial Getting New Muscle


    John C. Whitehead assembled the board of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation.

    Six months ago, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation had just about everything needed for its board of directors to start a $500 million fund-raising effort. It had a widely acclaimed architectural design, a certificate of incorporation, tax-exempt status, even a logo. Just about everything.

    Except a board of directors.

    After three powerful New Yorkers turned down the chairmanship last spring, it seemed that the fund-raising goal was so daunting that no one would take on the task. So John C. Whitehead, the very well-connected chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, set about building the board from scratch in early summer.

    This afternoon, 28 of its 32 members are expected to convene for the first time, in the American Express Tower across West Street from ground zero. The foundation is destined to become the leading force in the creation of the public realm at the new World Trade Center.

    Among the directors' earliest tasks will be to choose a permanent chairwoman or chairman and a president. Kevin M. Rampe, 38, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and a foundation director, said, "Now, the board is taking control of its own fortune and fate."

    The board may also seek to diversify itself. Under the draft bylaws, there can be as many as 50 directors. At the moment, the board has a strongly traditional establishment cast: almost exclusively white (30 directors); preponderantly male (25); decidedly mature (21 directors are 60 or older); and oriented to big business (16 are financial, media or real estate executives). Seven directors lost family members in the attack.

    For the time being, the board strongly bears the stamp of Mr. Whitehead. He said his choices were reviewed by many others. "I don't want you to think that I made up the board with a lot of my friends," he said yesterday. "That's not true.

    "But if you live long enough, you know a lot of people." Mr. Whitehead is 82.

    Incorporated without fanfare in April 2003, the foundation started with an interim three-man board: Mr. Whitehead; Ira M. Millstein, 78, a partner in the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges, who serves pro bono as counsel to the development corporation board; and Jason R. Lilien, 34, an associate at Weil, Gotshal.

    A search committee for a chairman was convened in February 2004. It included Mr. Millstein; Monica Iken, 34, the founder of September's Mission; Paula Grant Berry, 47, a memorial juror and now vice chairwoman of the International Freedom Center; and Richard D. Parsons, 56, the chairman and chief executive of Time Warner.

    At the time, Mr. Millstein said he hoped to name a choice in three weeks. But winter turned to spring with no announcement.

    Finally, in May, it was acknowledged that Jerry I. Speyer, 64, the president and chief executive of Tishman Speyer Properties; Sanford I. Weill, 71, the chairman of Citigroup; and Henry R. Kravis, 60, a founding partner of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, had declined to serve as chairman or co-chairman. They all pleaded that they did not have enough time to tackle what could well be a more than full-time job. (Mr. Speyer and Mr. Kravis wound up accepting board memberships but Mr. Weill declined even that, having taken on two new philanthropic commitments.)

    Rather than work his way down a list, with new prospects knowing in advance that they were fourth, fifth or sixth choices, Mr. Whitehead decided in early summer to reverse course and create the board first. The idea was that a strong board and staff might persuade reluctant candidates that the chairmanship would not consume them whole.

    To build that board, Mr. Whitehead needed a marquee name that would draw other power brokers - "the very people who don't want to start their own club but do want to join an exclusive club," as one director put it, so candidly he asked not to be identified.

    In this case, the marquee name was Rockefeller.

    David Rockefeller, 89, who was instrumental in the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan during his days as chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank, effectively became foundation board member No. 1 in late June.

    "If we had to make an announcement that night and we had only one member," Mr. Whitehead said, "that wouldn't be a bad one to have."

    A day or two later, Mr. Rockefeller was joined by Agnes Gund, 66, the president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art. She also served on the panel that chose the Norwegian firm Snohetta to design the museum complex on the trade center site.

    Mr. Whitehead next tapped the chief executive of a financial corporation. He would not identify the person, partly out of concern about creating a sense of rank among equals.

    There was no specific price of admission, Mr. Whitehead said, though directors understood they would be expected to "give to the best of their ability." He said one executive, whom he would not name, "came back with a dollar response larger than any we would ever have asked for."

    Among the first executives asked to join were Kenneth I. Chenault, 53, chairman and chief executive of American Express, which lost 11 employees in the attack; Maurice R. Greenberg, 79, chairman and chief executive of American International Group; Mr. Parsons; Peter G. Peterson, 78, chairman and co-founder of the Blackstone Group; E. John Rosenwald Jr., 74, vice chairman of Bear Stearns; and Anne M. Tatlock, 65, chairwoman and chief executive of Fiduciary Trust Company International.

    Ms. Tatlock said one reason she accepted was the opportunity to have an impact on the memorial at an early stage. "I also worked at 2 World Trade Center for 15 years," she said, "and many of my closest colleagues and friends died that day."

    Ms. Tatlock is one of many board members with a Whitehead connection. He knew her principally through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, of which he is chairman emeritus and she is chairwoman.

    From Mr. Whitehead's days as deputy secretary of state in the Reagan administration, he tapped Brian Mulroney, 65, the former prime minister of Canada.

    From Mr. Whitehead's days as chairman of AEA Investors, he tapped Sir John Bond, 63, the group chairman of HSBC Holdings in London, which has invested in an equity fund organized by AEA.

    Another longtime acquaintance is Mr. Greenberg, who succeeded Mr. Whitehead in 1996 as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "We lost two employees and many friends and industry colleagues on Sept. 11," Mr. Greenberg said in an e-mail message, explaining one reason he joined the board.

    As a trustee emeritus of the Rockefeller University, Mr. Whitehead reached out to Russell L. Carson, 61, the vice chairman of the university, who is a general partner in the investment firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.

    In the early 90's, Mr. Whitehead served on a board of the real estate giant Olympia & York USA, of which John E. Zuccotti was president. Mr. Zuccotti, 67, is now chairman of Brookfield Properties Corporation, owners of the World Financial Center and 1 Liberty Plaza, where the development corporation has its office. He is also senior counsel at Weil, Gotshal, which is further represented on the board by Mr. Millstein.

    Mr. Zuccotti said he accepted membership because of Brookfield's interest in the outcome, because of his interest in planning and above all because it was "a very noble, important effort."

    Other executives on the board are William B. Harrison Jr., 61, chairman and chief executive of J. P. Morgan Chase & Company; Robert Wood Johnson IV, 57, owner of the New York Jets; Thomas A. Renyi, 58, chairman and chief executive of the Bank of New York; and Josef Ackermann, 56, chairman of the group executive committee of Deutsche Bank, who is the most recent addition.

    Chief executives were not the only ones being sought. The fund-raising campaign will need a lot of publicity, Mr. Whitehead said, which can be generated by board members who are celebrities, like Robert De Niro, 61, and Barbara Walters, 73, of ABC News; or celebrity executives, like Michael D. Eisner, 62, chief of the Walt Disney Company.

    Mr. De Niro is a co-founder of the TriBeCa Film Institute, the nonprofit arm of the TriBeCa Film Festival, which received a $3 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation board last March, after Mr. Whitehead abstained from voting because his grandson, David Earls, works for the institute.

    Two jurors in the memorial competition were asked to join the board: Ms. Berry and Vartan Gregorian, 70, the president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, who was the jury chairman. Mr. Whitehead said Dr. Gregorian had "done an excellent job of keeping the jury from splintering." He is also the only foundation head on the board.

    Ms. Berry is one of the directors who lost family members in the attack. The others are Ms. Iken; Debra Burlingame, 50; Thomas S. Johnson, 64, a board member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation; Anthoula Katsimatides, 32, a development corporation assistant vice president; Lee Ielpi, 60, a former firefighter whose planned Tribute Visitors Center opposite ground zero is to be financed in part by the development corporation; and Thomas H. Rogér, 57, a vice president of the Gilbane Building Company. Gilbane is to demolish the Deutsche Bank building for the development corporation, but Mr. Rogér is not involved in that project.

    On Dec. 1, in the American Express Tower, Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the composition of the board. Many directors first learned the names of the other members at that news conference.

    One person was conspicuously absent. Mr. Whitehead, the architect of the board and its interim chairman, was stuck in Minneapolis because of foul weather at La Guardia Airport. "I feel like a bridegroom who didn't make his own wedding," he said that day.

    But his was not the only absence noted. There was, for instance, Michael Iken, who worked as a bond trader on the 84th floor of the south tower. "All I thought about at the press conference was Michael," his widow, Ms. Iken, said, "and how honored I am to be here as his voice."

    A tree-filled memorial will be part of the rebuilt trade center.

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  5. #80





    January 5, 2005 -- ALBANY — Here's the first glimpse of the stunning World Trade Center Memorial Grove, which Gov. Pataki today is announcing will be illuminated every night in a lasting tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

    The glowing grove, details of which Pataki will outline in his State of the State Address to the Legislature, will greet visitors to the plaza level of the memorial once the $500 million tribute is completed.

    As the visitors stare down into the two "voids" — which mark the location of what was once the location of the Twin Towers — they'll see a continuous band of light "hovering" just above ground in honor of what was once there, according to a source.

    Pataki will also announce a new state income tax check-off to allow New Yorkers to donate some or all of their refunds to construction of the memorial, a source said.

    The tax check-off plan will also be proposed on the federal level in legislation sponsored by Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island), the governor is set to announce.

    Pataki's 11th annual State of the State Address is expected to focus on the ongoing efforts to rebuild and revitalize lower Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11.

    The governor also plans to address the state's worsening fiscal situation — and the growing demands for ethics and budget-making reforms at the state Capitol.

    "The governor is going to place a good deal of emphasis on 'reform,' there's no question about it," said one senior Pataki aide.

  6. #81


    While there are a few "stunning" things about this project, I hope most here can tell the difference between what is spun by publicists and objective journalism.

    Oh where have all the critics gone?

  7. #82


    Architecture: Ground Zero Memorial Becomes Necropolis to Grief

    Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- When Michael Arad's winning design for a memorial at Ground Zero was first unveiled in January 2004, it won praise for its compelling subtlety. Reminiscent of the simplicity of Maya Lin's Vietnam War Memorial, Arad outlined the footprints of the destroyed twin towers with torrents of water that would vanish into pits.

    The design united the idea of a vortex, evoking the devastation of Sept. 11, 2001, with life-giving water that urged contemplation.

    A year later, comparisons can no longer be made to Lin's masterpiece. It was inevitable the planned memorial would grow to a disturbingly large size, once it was deemed that the towers' footprints must be entirely preserved -- for political, not design reasons, in response to pleas from some of the victims' family members.

    In the past year, the proposed project has expanded into a vast commemorative complex; it threatens to become a grandiose paean to grief.

    Arad's original design called for a gallery around each pit, opening to the waterfall. In front, a low wall would bear the engraved names of those lost on Sept. 11. One could accept the lack of specificity in the first design presentation; it was the product of only weeks of work and heavy doctoring by officials behind the scenes.

    Empty Grandeur

    Just before Christmas, New York Governor George Pataki, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Lower Manhattan Development Corporation officials unveiled an updated design of the Ground Zero memorial. That presentation focused on humanizing refinements to the 4.7-acre memorial plaza by landscape architect Peter Walker, who is working with 34-year-old Arad and the architecture firm Davis Brody Bond.

    Unfortunately, officials have disclosed little about the underground spaces, which have expanded hugely without any refinement in design. A grand, 12,000-square-foot hall will link the galleries of the north and south towers, but its only purpose is to house a directory of the deceased.

    One level below, at bedrock -- which Arad had reserved for a private mausoleum containing unidentified remains -- a 60-foot- high, 24,000-square-foot hall has been added. It will expose the stubs of the massive exterior columns that held up the north tower and a 70-foot length of the now-famous slurry wall.

    Nothing else seems planned for this space, as big as a floor of a standard office tower. In one rendering, visitors stand inches from the slurry wall and stare at it -- presumably transfixed by the air-bubble pattern in its sprayed-concrete surface.

    Flushing Sounds

    The surfaces below ground are finished in identical grids of cast concrete, suggesting a vast, bland gloominess. There's no intimacy to contrast with the enormity. With all that water pouring down around you, and its noise echoing off all those hard surfaces, the effect could only be of a gigantic lavatory in a perpetual state of flush.

    No proportion or detail speaks to the individual in this design, now budgeted at an intimidating $250 million. Architecture only works when in some conscious or subconscious way it registers at a recognizable human scale, tunes itself to physical forces, or to the body. The size of the tower footprints themselves (equal to half of a city block) registers the enormity of the tragedy.

    Teddy Bears, Twisted Beams

    Imposing as it is, officials no longer regard Arad's design as sufficient commemoration. They have added an underground Memorial Center -- essentially a museum. A report released last year spelled out grand curatorial ambitions. It will display artifacts of the destruction -- the twisted beams and wrecked fire trucks now stored in a hanger at Kennedy Airport -- and emblems of grief such as the teddy bears, origami birds and American flags visitors left at the site. It will tell the life story of each victim.

    This $90 million center could, at 70,000 square feet or more, be larger than the underground memorial space. Davis Brody Bond has just embarked on the enormously difficult task of defining a program that does not turn the Memorial Center into a celebration of unending sorrow or a chamber of horrors.

    The International Freedom Center -- its scope and cost ($75 million is a safe guess) as yet unformed -- will fill much of the ``cultural'' building at the northeast corner of the memorial plaza. A visitor center is also planned, so that no one need feel that they have to approach the site without being told what to think.


    To appreciate the vastness of this project, consider the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor: a simple, 184-foot-long pavilion. Tellingly, it was completed 30 years after the Pearl Harbor attack, long after the story had become a redemptive one - - the nation's darkest hour transformed into a victory against fascism.

    Regrettably, the story that began at Ground Zero isn't over yet, and we don't know how it will end. The ``war on terror'' and the lives it takes must inescapably be part of Ground Zero's meaning.

    The memorial, its mission statement says, must ``strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance, and intolerance.'' This laudable goal has all but vanished as it has grown into a necropolis essentially dedicated only to the victims.

    The visitor a generation or so from now might conclude that the scope of the tragedy was so enormous that the terrorists succeeded in their goals. It's time to slow this juggernaut and take stock.

  8. #83


    March 3, 2005


    Concept Meets Reality at Trade Center Memorial


    HE design of the World Trade Center memorial has hit a bump.

    It is just a few feet high. But it could profoundly affect a visitor's experience by creating the need for a wall running more than 200 feet along the Greenwich Street side of the memorial, marking an abrupt grade change between plaza level and sidewalk.

    Between this wall and the museum complex at Fulton Street and a stairway at Liberty Street, there would be only two small areas where one could walk straight into the memorial from Greenwich Street, the approach most visitors will probably take.

    To the public, the tough part of designing the memorial may seem to have passed last year with the choice of a concept, the twin voids of "Reflecting Absence," and the selection of architects: Michael Arad, Peter Walker & Partners and Davis Brody Bond.

    But new challenges are unfolding, largely out of sight, as planners struggle to reconcile an architectural vision with the physical realities of a complex site. At stake in these negotiations are elements as important as the whole east side of the memorial, which may depend on what may seem like arcane questions of roadway layout.

    The bump - really, more of a hump - would occur in Greenwich Street at Dey Street. Here, the surface would be two feet higher than at Fulton Street to the north and six feet higher than at Liberty Street to the south.

    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site and will build the streets, said that height would permit the installation of as many utility lines as are needed within the roadbed, directly above the subway tunnel for the Nos. 1 and 9 trains, with sufficient covering over the tunnel to satisfy Metropolitan Transportation Authority standards. The slope would allow water drainage and prevent puddling in the street.

    However, it would also mean that Greenwich Street would rise almost five feet higher than the memorial plaza. There is not room enough to accommodate a stairway at this location because the footprint of the south tower - an immovable element in the equation - is too close to the sidewalk.

    And the plaza cannot be canted upward to meet Greenwich Street because the voids will have walls of cascading water within, which must be kept absolutely level. Any slope in the plaza would be apparent around the perimeter of the voids.

    IF Greenwich Street must rise that high, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has concluded that a wall will be needed along much of the adjacent part of the memorial. Not only would that wall block physical access but it would also diminish the designers' goal of direct sight lines into the plaza from the surrounding sidewalks.

    As an alternative, the corporation has proposed lowering Greenwich Street by four feet. That would permit a level approach to the memorial at Dey Street. (Because of the changing topography around the site, stairways will still be needed to reach the plaza level from the sidewalks at the southeast, southwest and northwest corners.)

    "It's absolutely critical that we take the steps necessary to set the grade in a way that achieves the objective we all share of knitting the site back into the community, both physically and visually," Kevin M. Rampe, president of the development corporation, said yesterday.

    But the corporation's alternative raises more questions. Where would utility lines go if they could not fit in a shallower Greenwich Street roadbed? Why not raise the entire plaza level a bit? And how appropriate is it for architecture to set street heights, rather than the other way around?

    "The construction of Greenwich Street through the World Trade Center site is another of the complex engineering issues that must be carefully studied and resolved as we move forward with the redevelopment," said Kenneth J. Ringler Jr., the executive director of the Port Authority.

    As engaging as last season's architectural beauty contests may have been, the real form of the future World Trade Center is being decided now. God is in the details, Mies van der Rohe is often quoted as saying. So is the devil.

    How the Heights Are Measured


    ow do you measure heights on a site with so many levels above and below ground? Engineers typically rely on a datum, a constant plane from which elevations can be uniformly calculated. Different data are used for different purposes.

    The World Trade Center Downtown Restoration Program datum is closely related to that of the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad, now PATH, which was integral to the development of the twin towers in the 1960's. Because the railroad datum was deliberately set very deep - exactly 300 feet below mean sea level at Sandy Hook, N.J. - all measurements from it can be expressed as positive elevations.

    The trade center datum is 2.653 feet above the old railroad datum. On this scale, the high point on Greenwich Street is at elevation 316 feet, the memorial plaza at 311.2 feet.

    For comparison's sake, the PATH station concourse is at elevation 276 feet, the mezzanine at 264 feet and the passenger platforms at 250 feet. The base of the trade center site is at elevation 243 feet. The lowest point in the PATH system is midway in Tunnel E, the outbound route from the trade center to New Jersey, at elevation 212 feet.

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  9. #84
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    Well, it seems lessons are truly being learned from the old, horrible design of the WTC "plaza". We alse, again, get a glimpse into the failure of Liebskind's Master Plan, which should have taken this, as a matter of site situation and planning into consideration. Most importantly to EVERYONE (I'm sure) is how this affects Liebskind's "wedge of light". ::sarcastic sneer::

  10. #85



    If Libeskind's master plan was followed, a five-foot wall would not be an issue. It would be 35 ft.

    Off-topic, but when I was reading the article, a factoid jumped into my head about how the Egyptians might have managed to level the site of the Great Pyramid by digging a ditch around the perimeter and filling it with water.

    The need for the plaza to be level, and the closeness of the south tower footprint to Greenwich St are the major source of the problem.

  11. #86

    Default Well I must say this "hump" is a ridiculously trivial issue

    Were I Arad I would tell them to move the utilities.

    One of the problems here is the proximity of Greenwich Street- however this is the "new " Greenwich Street which wasn't there on 9/11 as it was subsumed in the WTC plaza. Unfortunately, in the interests of pleasing the whims and desires of urban planning sentimentalist Alexander Garvin, the "old" line of Greenwich Street was restored. Too bad David Childs and Silverstein did not have to observe the setback lines of the restored Greenwich Street- WTC 7 sticks well into it when viewed from the north! If they didn't have to then the memorial certainly shouldn't take back seat to underground utilities.
    The victims of 9/11 deserve better.

  12. #87


    Does ANYONE really give a damn about the street grid? They could have planned with complex without restoration and the only people upset with that would have been the Urban Planning Utopians.

  13. #88


    I do.

    It will help speed up development of the area south of Liberty.

    What do you have against it?

    And what's this Urban Planning Utopians crap?

  14. #89


    All this was an entirely foreseeable outcome. For three and a half years, I have seen several dozen of plans and schemes by a collection of high-profile architects and leading urban planners, none of whom bothered to take account of a very basic fact which the simple bureaucrats who worked for the Port Authority in the 1960s and 70s well-understood and smartly took advantage of -- namely, the fact that Greenwich Street is one story higher than West Street. The obvious and best way to handle this shift in elevation would have been to recreate the bi-level plaza that existed in the old WTC. It would have doubled the amount of space for all the competing uses for the site, and allowed smarter, more trouble free pedestrian connections than will now exist. (To cite just one example, workers at the WFC, whose office lobbies all are on the 2d floor, would have been able to access those lobbies with zero grade changes from Greenwich Street.) Now, there were problems with the old WTC set-up, but those could have been corrected without throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water.

  15. #90


    Of course, that is your opinion. The change to a street grid was not forced by outsiders. It was overwhelmingly supported by the community.

    It was the removal of the grid that was forced by outsiders. The grid was there for a long time before the WTC plaza, the streets were at the same elevations - and it worked very well.

    The memorial layout is the problem, specifically the ST footprint. A fitting memorial did not need to include both footprints, but once the concept that they are sacred ground was accepted, the site plan was locked in.

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