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

  1. #91

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    My main frustration is with the stree grid COMBINED with the footprint site. Site put a straightjacket on creativity at the site. Also, what I mean by Urban Planning Utopians, are groups like the Civic Alliance and New York New Visions. Their brain trust of officials are nothing more than people who have been salivating for years on how to remake Lower Manhattan and look at 9/11 opportunisticly. I don't have anything against making changes to the WTC Site, I just don't like these people who are doing it. BTW, these are also the same groups who initially proposed the West St. Tunnel.

  2. #92

    Default People should come before streets and street grids.

    The street grid is not sacrosanct, and the 9/11 memorial should come before all else.
    The 2 footprints were early on recognized to be a given- the streets should work around them.

  3. #93
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    Good planning should come before all else. I personally think the process is intentionally stalled until Pataki is out of the way. He has too deep a connection with the 9/11 event as did Giuliani. They've said lots of things in emotional responses to policy questions and have bound themselves to their words. Until we get someone who has made no promises to anyone, we won't see anything meaningful happen. Pataki has painted himself into a corner.

  4. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by TomAuch
    My main frustration is with the stree grid COMBINED with the footprint site. Site put a straightjacket on creativity at the site. Also, what I mean by Urban Planning Utopians, are groups like the Civic Alliance and New York New Visions. Their brain trust of officials are nothing more than people who have been salivating for years on how to remake Lower Manhattan and look at 9/11 opportunisticly. I don't have anything against making changes to the WTC Site, I just don't like these people who are doing it. BTW, these are also the same groups who initially proposed the West St. Tunnel.
    First of all, I think you should tone down the dated rebuild the twin towers rhetoric. The rebuilding plans, excluding the WTC site, (Fulton transit, etc) were in discussion before 09/11. There were no visions of restoring the street grid. How would that even have been possibe? The only plans specifically related to the WTC were to open up the plaza to the concourse.

    I meant your objection to the street grid itself as a concept. The memorial with the street grid is a technical issue.

    I don't know if there is a connection between the tunnel and the grid, but the difference is: the tunnel has not been decided because there is neighborhood opposition. The street grid has been adopted because there was very little opposition. It was not forced on the neighborhood by utopians, fascists, or visionaries.

    Wrightfan: Which people are you referring to?

  5. #95

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    I guess my rhetoric was too harsh, but I still have an unfavorable view of the planners who keep harping "human scale" plans even if some of their ideas may be decent.
    BTW, BrooklynRider, how do you think Spitzer will handle the rebuilding process if he's elected? I can't picture Pataki being governor in two years from now.

  6. #96
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    I think they were rather stupid about the whole footprint thing too.


    Sometimes setting up land as sacred is not the best thing to do as a memorial. The whole purpose of the attack was to disrupt us, and in MEMORY of it, we are disrupting any chance of bringing back a better plan.

    I think that simply an outline, like a line of tiles or stone, would have been a good way to memorialize the footprints. The outline would have been marked with stones in the grass, different color tile on the walkways, or something else inside any building (lobby) that "encroached" on them.

    Sort of an outline telling all where they stood, but not turning it into a sacred burial ground.


    The sign of any societies downfall is when they start valuing the dead more than the living.

  7. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    I think they were rather stupid about the whole footprint thing too.


    Sometimes setting up land as sacred is not the best thing to do as a memorial. The whole purpose of the attack was to disrupt us, and in MEMORY of it, we are disrupting any chance of bringing back a better plan.

    I think that simply an outline, like a line of tiles or stone, would have been a good way to memorialize the footprints. The outline would have been marked with stones in the grass, different color tile on the walkways, or something else inside any building (lobby) that "encroached" on them.

    Sort of an outline telling all where they stood, but not turning it into a sacred burial ground.


    The sign of any societies downfall is when they start valuing the dead more than the living.
    I agree completely.

    I think something should be built (not necessarily "rebuild the WTC").

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomAuch
    BTW, BrooklynRider, how do you think Spitzer will handle the rebuilding process if he's elected? I can't picture Pataki being governor in two years from now.
    Tom-

    I'm really not sure and haven't given it much thought. Pataki just seems so out of it. He shows up at the photo ops and makes these monotonous speeches, but there's no passion for this at all. I think he is a guy who hasn't an ounce of vision for what he would like to do tomorrow, let alone what the WTC should look like in ten years.

    What I'd like to think Spitzer would do differently is admit he's no expert, identify the experts, and pass the ball. I do think consideration should be given to buying out Silverstein's lease, breaking up the site into separate parcels (like the BPC) and moving forward with a plan of competitive designs for each building. Build a neighborhood park - minimize the memorial to something tasteful and less maudlin.

    Personally, I think that once Pataki is out, so is Liebskind. The only thing that forced Childs to compromise and work with Liebskind was Pataki and his meddling. I'm not expecting grandeur from Childs, but, after TWC and TST, we know there is a level of creative vision that can milked and molded into something bigger and certainly better.

    I disagree with some others on in this thread in my opinion that the true memorial to 9/11 will be the ghastly named "Freedom Tower". Despite the name, it should aspire to be nothing less that an architectural masterpiece, regardless of the long-term economics. The restoration of the skyline is the memorial - "Reflecting Absence" is a gravesite. And, as divisive as that argument is, the reality is that a building can generate more funds than a park - as self-sustainability seems to be the footnote to every new park being built in the city.

    Also, our major fundraisers for the Arad memorial, Pres. Bush Sr. and Pres. Clinton are off fundraising for Tsunami Relief. (And Carter is building tract homes somewhere while Rosalyn prepares biscuits and gravy) Fundraising is tedious, boring and no one likes to do it. I am guessing their verve for fundfraising, after returning from Southeast Asia, will dampen their ability or desire to jump into Memorial Fundraising.

  9. #99
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Pushed and Pulled, Designer of 9/11 Memorial Focuses on the Goal



    Peter Walker, left, and Michael Arad at a news conference in January 2004,
    showing their revised design for the ground zero memorial.



    Lower Manhattan Development Corporation/An artist's rendering shows a night view at one of the reflecting pools
    in the ground zero memorial; groundbreaking is expected early next year.



    By ROBIN POGREBIN
    Published: May 10, 2005

    Sometime it's hard to believe that Michael Arad is still in the picture.

    Bit by bit, elements of his original design for the World Trade Center Memorial have been whittled away, whether because of logistical realities at ground zero (the memorial will be built above PATH train tracks), client demands (the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is calling the shots), the many other interests involved (the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site; victims' families; downtown residents) or the assorted architectural cooks (three other firms).

    For example, Mr. Arad included no trees in his original design, which was chosen in January 2004 after a competition. The memorial jury expressed a desire to make his design more green, so he teamed up with the landscape architect Peter Walker. Now Mr. Arad is fending off a veritable forest at the site and dealing with how the trees might impinge on the memorial below them.

    Mr. Arad originally designed four ramps leading into and out of the memorial. Now there are two.

    His reflecting pools were not centered in the footprints of the twin towers. Now they are.

    Two considerably more experienced architectural firms are taking part in the process: Peter Walker & Partners and Davis Brody Bond. Handel Architects, is also involved; Mr. Arad, now 35, joined the firm last year to give himself institutional backup.

    Some planning and design experts marvel that Mr. Arad has not been completely marginalized or discouraged. "He may be crumbling internally, but I think he's shown surprising maturity for his tender years," said David J. Burney, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction and an architect himself.

    In a telephone interview yesterday, Mr. Arad was cautious in fielding questions about the current state of his design. (Joanna Rose, the development corporation spokeswoman, was in the room on speakerphone.) Asked whether he was satisfied with the two ramps, Mr. Arad did not respond. (His partner, Gary Edward Handel, piped up, "We're not happy about every decision that's made, but we trust the process.")

    Mr. Arad would say only that he was keeping his eye on the finish line. "My role in this is to be the advocate for the memorial," he said. "That is what I do every day in this project."

    To be sure, the conflicts over the design of the memorial have not brought the architects to a standoff or the process to a standstill, as occurred when David Childs and Daniel Libeskind fought over the design of the Freedom Tower.

    Indeed, even as the Freedom Tower has become a big question mark at ground zero in terms of what it will look like and when it will be finished, the memorial is proceeding apace. Groundbreaking is expected early next year for an opening on Sept. 11, 2009.

    The party line is that everyone is working through their differences and that those differences will make for a better final product. "There's a healthy dialogue and differing opinions," said Kevin M. Rampe, president of the development corporation. "I think that's been great. Each brings their unique experience."

    Mr. Walker is largely concerned with "how the landscape interacts with the memorial," Mr. Rampe continued, adding that J. Max Bond Jr. of Davis Brody Bond "brings an enormous wealth of practical experience about engineering considerations, and Michael brings the vision."

    Despite the varying levels of professional experience, Mr. Rampe said Mr. Arad had managed to hold his own. "Michael has earned a level of respect," he said. "I don't think one feels they can overwhelm the other. They come with different perspectives, different skills, and ultimately they will end up with good results."

    The architects largely echoed that assessment. Mr. Bond said, "The design benefits from the interaction of the three different firms and the consultants."

    Mr. Walker said, "Sometimes it's heated, sometimes it works very smoothly."

    Mr. Arad said: "It's not about this being a harmonious process. It's about it being a productive process."

    But some of those involved say Mr. Arad was unprepared for the harsh realities of the process - above all, how much his plan would have to change in light of engineering concerns and competing priorities.

    "We viewed the competition as the beginning of the evolution," said Douglas Findlay, a partner in the Walker firm. "He often views it as the end."

    Mr. Walker offered, "I'm glad I didn't deal with something of this magnitude at the beginning of my career." He added, "This is the process to end all processes."

    Mr. Arad said he was by no means na´ve about the logistics involved; in addition to the PATH tracks, a chiller plant lies under the site. "The technical complexity of the site is challenging," he said. "But our team has a thorough grasp of the issues."

    At the same time, Mr. Arad said, his vision for the site remains clear. "I know exactly what I want to see here, and it's just a matter of advocating for the memorial," he said. "I think people understand that and appreciate it."

    When he won the design competition, Mr. Arad was only 34 and had never done anything nearly so big before, let alone at one of the most scrutinized architectural sites in the city's history.

    After earning his master's degree from Georgia Tech's College of Architecture in 1999, Mr. Arad spent three years at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, where he worked on projects like Espirito Santo Plaza in Miami and Union Station in Hong Kong. Then he joined the New York City Housing Authority, where he was working on two new police stations when his memorial design was selected.

    Before becoming an architect, Mr. Arad spent three years in the Israeli Army. And he is no stranger to politics or diplomacy: his father, Moshe, served as Israeli ambassador to the United States from 1987 to 1990 and as the ambassador to Mexico from 1983 to 1987.

    The memorial is expected to cost $350 million, including the Memorial Center, a separate area being designed by Davis Brody Bond that is to include artifacts from the Trade Center. The architects are still in the thick of resolving each of the design details that will make up the memorial, from how much noise and splash the waterfalls will give off to how people will find the names of their loved ones inscribed in stone around the two pools.

    Most recently, for example, the parties involved have clashed over the number of ramps; the decision to have two instead of four was clearly made over Mr. Arad's objections.

    According to Mr. Findlay, the best architects are the ones who "are able to deal with these obstacles and turn them around to make them into something, make them a virtue - not to resist it," and to "keep your eyes open for the great ideas that flow by."

    That is not to say that an architect should say yes to everything if he believes it compromises his design, Mr. Findlay said. He cited his own objections to the Port Authority's proposal to place a huge vent in the middle of the park.

    Mr. Arad's initial design did not address questions like crowd circulation or security. An information center called Memorial Hall has been added between the two pools.

    Mr. Walker said the experience had deepened his respect for Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. "I've never had the appreciation for her that I have now," he said. "How she got through it and got something that is really good and still has got her head about her -I think about it all the time."

    But Mr. Findlay emphasized that the ground zero memorial raises different challenges. "This site is where the event occurred," he said, adding, "The memorial is essentially people's grave site."

    With this in mind, the architects are working on the spiritual aspect of moving through the memorial - going from the bustle of the secular city into the park into the sobering memorial and up again into the living world.

    "Imagine walking around a five-acre oak woodland," Mr. Findlay said. "You will be drawn into it. You can see across the plain and see the plain go away. You can hear the waterfalls, and at night it glows. So in all ways the voids have been made very important."


    Nonetheless, some of the Sept. 11 families are unhappy with how the memorial is shaping up. Some want the names of the victims listed alphabetically, or by tower, or by police or fire department affiliation. Some even want the remains of the World Trade Center victims to be moved to the site from the Fresh Kills landfill. "You can't call these people heroes and leave their remains in a garbage dump in Staten Island," said Edie Lutnick, executive director of the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, set up to aid families of victims who worked for the financial services concern at the World Trade Center.

    As for creative tensions, some architects say they are to be expected. "You put capable and strong-willed design firms in a room and there is a discussion of options," said Fredric M. Bell, executive director of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects. "That's how it should be."

    "I think Michael is a very reasonable and smart and flexible person - not the type to say, 'I'm taking my marbles and going home,' " he said. At the same time, Mr. Bell added: "He does have strong ideas. Winning a competition is incredibly empowering. That's the card that Michael has."


    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  10. #100
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    "Imagine walking around a five-acre oak woodland," Mr. Findlay said. "You will be drawn into it. You can see across the plain and see the plain go away. You can hear the waterfalls, and at night it glows. So in all ways the voids have been made very important."
    Imagine a park that looks like an ice skating rink until you get close enough to realize it is a big pool of water that you really can't sit by and is depressing as hell once you are told what it signifies.

    Imagine 5 acres of prime real estate trying to compete with the noise from the roads surrounding it, trying to somehow deny the fact that they are in the WORLD TRADE CENTER.

    They are trying to go overly artistic instead of acnowledging the area they are in. They are trying to do the "Artistry of contrast" by DENYING the very city they are in the middle of in order to portray some false sense of mystic serenity.


    Sometimes the most serene places are the ones you smile at when you walk through/by. Not the ones you cry at.

  11. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by krulltime
    Pushed and Pulled, Designer of 9/11 Memorial Focuses on the Goal

    By ROBIN POGREBIN
    Published: May 10, 2005

    ... Bit by bit, elements of his original design for the World Trade Center Memorial have been whittled away....

    For example, Mr. Arad included no trees in his original design, which was chosen in January 2004 after a competition. The memorial jury expressed a desire to make his design more green, so he teamed up with the landscape architect Peter Walker. Now Mr. Arad is fending off a veritable forest at the site and dealing with how the trees might impinge on the memorial below them.

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

    Good riddance. Arad's original scheme was not simply atrocious but atrocious in an altogether mundane way -- a barren concrete plaza not unlike a thousand similar architectural mistakes in Downtowns across the country. The LMDC's attempts to soften the "winning" design should be lauded, not attacked.

  12. #102
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    It depends on how close the trees would be to the memorial....

    If they are placed too close, their root growth could make things difficult for the maintainance of the memorial.



    I do like the trees though, I just hate it when a designer can't simply respond "Because they look nice" rather than trying to get poetic with all the ill-fitting allusions and associations.

  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    Imagine a park that looks like an ice skating rink until you get close enough to realize it is a big pool of water that you really can't sit by and is depressing as hell once you are told what it signifies.
    I always acknowledge posts that make me laugh out loud. This one did. Gracias.

  14. #104

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    A Backyard Fountain Like None Before
    By DAVID W. DUNLAP

    RICHMOND HILL, Ontario - The Euser family has something in their backyard, sitting on the patio out by the tarp-covered swimming pool, that a wounded city 350 miles away has been waiting a long time to see.

    It is the first full-scale, three-dimensional intimation of what the World Trade Center memorial will look like and sound like and feel like; a 27-foot-high mock-up of the water walls that will ring the enormous voids marking the twin towers' absence.

    Here, a snare-drum staccato already sounds as billowing silvery curtains of falling water meet in a giant L, fracturing sunlight into countless pinpoints and sending ceaseless, restless shadows racing across low parapets where, in the finished memorial, the names of the dead will be inscribed.

    Dan Euser of Dan Euser Waterarchitecture Inc., a consultant to the memorial designers, built the $175,000 mock-up in the yard behind his home and workshop in this town just north of Toronto. The temporary structure, made of 300 plywood sheets, timber framing, steel-plate bracing and three 10-horsepower pumps, simulates a 40-foot corner section of one of the memorial voids.

    "This is our machine to solve problems," said Douglas Ross Findlay of Peter Walker & Partners, the landscape architects involved in the memorial.

    The actual waterfalls will extend almost 200 feet along each side of the two square voids, a total length of nearly 1,600 feet, roughly the distance from Herald Square to 42nd Street. "I don't know of any bigger one except for hydro dams," said Mr. Euser, 51, who collaborated with the landscape architect Dan Kiley on a 660-foot-long fountain outside the Milwaukee Art Museum.

    Since January, Mr. Euser has been working in increments of inches and degrees and gallons, searching for the ideal angle, distribution, speed and volume of water flow.

    The goal is to create a veil that will not splash visitors or disintegrate in the wind or roar deafeningly or freeze in winter or clog up in autumn when the oak leaves begin falling in the surrounding plaza.

    Although elements of the trade center redevelopment plan are in flux, most notably the design of the Freedom Tower, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation said the broad concept of the memorial, known as "Reflecting Absence," is not one of them. So testing continues in the Euser family's backyard. And Gov. George E. Pataki, in a speech today, may cite the mock-up as evidence of progress at ground zero.

    Last month, key members of the memorial team called on Mr. Euser to inspect the work in progress: Michael Arad of Handel Architects; J. Max Bond Jr. of the architectural firm Davis Brody Bond; Mr. Findlay; Anne Papageorge, the memorial design director for the development corporation; and Kevin M. Rampe, the corporation president. A reporter and photographer accompanied them.

    "It's a magical moment to see it realized," Mr. Arad said. "The way the water is behaving is incredible. It makes it feel somehow more real, as if you're moving forward."

    Perhaps the most striking thing when the mock-up came into view, nestled incongruously in a suburban setting, was that the water walls were not the "thin sheets" described by the design jury that chose "Reflecting Absence" last year.

    Rather, they were more like beaded curtains, with a striation that called to mind the vertical bands of the twin tower facades, dissolving in a cascade of tears.

    The effect is achieved by pumping the water over small dams known as weirs. These have serrated edges that act like fingers, spaced one and a half inches apart, separating the flow into discrete channels.

    "It's an incredibly graceful and delicate way to do it on an enormous scale," Mr. Findlay said. Far more water at far greater force would be needed to create cohesive sheets, Mr. Euser said, and these would break up anyway as they were scooped like sails by the wind, long before they reached the pools.

    The decision to use weirs resulted directly from testing on the mock-up. The designers had also considered jets of water propelled through nozzles, but they froze in winter.

    Mr. Euser then experimented with the size, shape and spacing of the weirs, working in wood. He found it was important to keep the top of the fingers moist, to prevent the accumulation of falling leaves. He settled on a tapered, half-round form.

    The angle of the flow is also critical, to prevent splashing into the open-air galleries behind the water walls. Mr. Arad expressed pleasure when he saw the current solution, inclining the weirs by approximately 45 degrees. "It's perfect, the arc right now," he told Mr. Euser.

    Mr. Bond was pleased to see that the arc kept the structural walls behind the fountain remarkably dry. In the mock-up, these are plywood, painted dark gray to heighten contrast and make the water more visible. In the finished memorial, the walls will be granite or concrete. Their appearance could vary considerably if too much water hit them.

    Among the questions that have yet to be resolved is how the edge of the voids will be treated at the plaza level. There may, for instance, be five-foot-wide pools ringing the perimeter of each void. Or the precipice may occur only inches from where visitors stand.

    Perhaps the greatest remaining technical challenge is how to soften the sound. Mr. Euser is testing louvers that would sit in the pool below, perhaps in a trough of their own. The idea is to create an angled surface for the water to strike, reducing the noise made by perpendicular impact, but keeping the baffle itself out of view below the surface.

    A mock-up is vital, Mr. Findlay said, because water cannot be "scaled" - that is, its performance in real life cannot be extrapolated from a small-scale model. "It has to be done full size," he said.

    And the mock-up is teaching the architects the limits of their control. "Water behaves in its own way," Mr. Arad said. "You can tweak its environment but at the end of the day, you can't change its behavior."

    Slideshow

  15. #105
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    this was a facinating read. thanks for posting.

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