View Poll Results: Should the International Freedom Center be built on the WTC site?

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  • It should be built right where its planned on the WTC site.

    17 39.53%
  • It should be built but off the WTC site.

    9 20.93%
  • It should be built in some other place of the WTC site.

    7 16.28%
  • It should not be built at all, anywhere.

    10 23.26%
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Thread: WTC Memorial Pavilion - Visitors Center - by Snohetta

  1. #1

    Default WTC Memorial Pavilion - Visitors Center - by Snohetta

    Great design by one of the best young architectural firms in the world. NYC should feel blessed that this is their first project in the Western hemisphere.

    Great use of glass and wood, ramps and a very innovative way of lifting the building of the ground to provide unobstructive access to the memorial.

    I have been to their Alexandria library in Egypt, which they won in a design competion beating out about 600 other firms from all over the world, and it is an amazing building which incorporates all aspects of Egyptian culture

    Can't wait for this building to rise up and be completed.

    http://www.renewnyc.com/

    http://www.snoarc.no/

  2. #2

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    New York Times
    May 19, 2005

    Plans for World Trade Center Cultural Center Are Unveiled

    Associated Press


    A rendering the newly unveiled design for the cultural center at ground zero, which will house the International Freedom Center and the Drawing Center.

    NEW YORK -- America's only visual arts organization devoted to the discipline of drawing will be part of a new cultural center built on the site of the collapsed World Trade Center.

    "This cultural center will be a fitting celebration of the humanity which triumphed in the face of evil on September 11," Gov. George Pataki said in a statement Thursday, prior to a news conference to unveil details of the World Trade Center Cultural Center.

    The Norwegian firm Snohetta was chosen from a pool of 34 applicants to design the complex, which will include The Drawing Center, a visitor's center and the International Freedom Center, devoted to the global struggle for freedom.

    The Drawing Center, currently located in the SoHo district, will offer drawing exhibitions and opportunities for emerging and under-recognized artists at its new home -- a five-story building with double height floors and a landscaped rooftop space overlooking the World Trade Center Memorial Plaza.

    The Cultural Center will have up to 250,000 square feet of space on Fulton and Greenwich streets, across from the planned Performing Arts Center, which is to house the Joyce International Dance Center and the Signature Theatre.

    The design for the Cultural Center is slated to be completed by the end of the year, with groundbreaking in 2007 and completion in 2009.

    The Cultural Center and the Performing Arts Center "will frame and protect the sacred memorial setting, while providing for the celebration of life as we remember those we lost," Lower Manhattan Development Corp. Chairman John Whitehead said in a statement.

    Snohetta is an Oslo-based architecture, landscape architecture and interior design company. It is known for its completion of the Alexandria Library in Egypt, the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin, and the soon-to-be-completed New National Opera in Oslo.

    At its monthly board meeting earlier Thursday, LMDC officials said the new Performing Arts Center, to be designed by architect Frank Gehry, was still being discussed because costs were rising beyond the budgeted $200 million. They pledged to have a final plan by the end of the year.

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  3. #3

  4. #4

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    I like this. I think the color scheme of the skin is interesting.

  5. #5

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    Ouroussoff's review, I think, is right on. The building attempts to emphasize the horizontal while being too bulkily vertical (it'll be a story and a half taller when the Port Authority's vents are added on) as well as overwhelming the memorial site with its in-your-face heft. The "International Freedom Center" to be hosted inside is ironically designed...rather than standing as an expression of "freedom," it forces the visitor to wind in one uniform direction down a set path. With more fine-tuning, however, it could be a decent building.

    A Temple of Contemplation and Conflict

    FOR architects who find inspiration in conflict, ground zero can be perversely fascinating. From the battles over money and security to the nasty political elbowing, all of the ingredients are there.

    The strains are evident in the design for a new museum that will house the International Freedom Center and the Drawing Center, unveiled yesterday by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The building, by the Norwegian firm Snohetta, is strangely seductive: with some fine-tuning, it could even become a fascinating work. It is already closer to the standard set by Santiago Calatrava's soaring glass-and-steel transportation hub than that of the site's troubled Freedom Tower, for example.

    But ultimately, the museum is more about politics than architecture - a theme-park view of American ideals in an alluring wrapper.

    Under a master plan drafted by the architect Daniel Libeskind, the building would rise on a one-acre site at the northeast corner of the memorial park. This is envisioned as ground zero's main cultural intersection, with Frank Gehry's proposed theater complex across Fulton Street to the north and Mr. Calatrava's transportation hub to the east. Two memorial pools mimicking the footprints of the former Twin Towers are to frame the complex to the south and west.

    Snohetta's design, a hulking structure clad in a skin of wood and glass, is a clever response to the challenges posed by the site's bickering constituencies. The museum building lies directly above Mr. Calatrava's train station, for example, and he insisted that its supporting columns not intrude into his space. He also demanded that the design allow light to flow down onto the train platforms.

    Then, halfway through the design process, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey informed Snohetta that the museum building would somehow have to absorb up to 40,000 square feet of vents and mechanical equipment, bloating its scale.

    Tracking the firm's efforts to come to terms with these conflicting requirements is like watching a circus contortionist. The architects began by lifting the entire building on massive steel-and-concrete pillars to make room for a large ground-level plaza. A 90-foot mirrored light well is carved through the building's core, funneling light to the plaza and - theoretically, at least - onto the underground train platforms.

    The decision to vault the building into the air is ingenious, and it should come as a relief to Mr. Calatrava. Approached from the east, the center will provide a striking backdrop for his station. Together with two towers that are part of the larger master plan, it will frame three sides of a public square that is nearly the size of St. Mark's Square in Venice, with the birdlike form of Mr. Calatrava's glass-and-steel structure rising out of its center.

    Visitors will be able to stride directly underneath the Freedom Center and on to the memorial park. At its northern end, the underbelly of the museum slopes downward, framing a view of the memorial pools to the west.

    Over all, the building creates a series of surprises that draw you along a carefully spaced architectural narrative. Visitors can enter the building from two directions, for example. A broad ramp leads up from the plaza through the light well to the main entrance; a smaller ramp leads into the building from Fulton Street. The entry points converge in an open-air lobby that cantilevers out toward the site of a planned theater complex, linking the museum to part of a bigger cultural nexus. From there, visitors can file into the Drawing Center galleries or continue up another ramp to the Freedom Center.

    This entry sequence reinforces what's best about the design, the sense that you are traveling along a series of shifting horizontal planes that gently lift you up out of the hurly-burly of the city into the contemplative world of the galleries. It could also be interpreted as a counterpoint - a moment of psychological relief - to the descent into the voids left by the twin towers.

    But the experience soon becomes Orwellian. The center's upper-level galleries will be arranged in a spiral around the central light well. Under the current design, visitors will have to ride an elevator to the top and then walk back down along the spiral on a so-called "Freedom Walk." This kind of manipulation seems silly, especially in a museum that celebrates freedom. By echoing the ramps down into the memorial pools, the downward spiral implies a direct connection between the cataclysm of 9/11 and a global struggle for "freedom" - a bit of simplistic propaganda. (An early rendering of the Freedom Center that was circulated at the development corporation's offices included an image of a woman flashing a victory sign after voting in the recent Iraqi elections; that image has been replaced by a photo of Lyndon B. Johnson and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)

    No doubt, the tortuous choices faced by the architects - and the skill with which they dealt with them - will make this building an intriguing case study for architecture students 50 years from now.

    Even so, the architects' finesse could take the building only so far. If the design works in relation to Mr. Calatrava's transportation hub, it fails completely in relation to the memorial site. Given what they were forced to pack into the museum building, it is grossly overscaled. Its enormous blank facade looms over the memorial pools, occupying an area that would have been better served by a public park. And the building's height detracts from the horizontal flow that is its most promising feature.

    (Note: because the current plans do not take into account the additional 40,000 square feet of mechanical space demanded by the Port Authority, the renderings unveiled yesterday are a fiction of sorts; the building would be a full story and a half taller than shown.)

    Some of these issues could be resolved. The facade overlooking the north memorial pool, for example, could be shaved back, eliminating some of the pressure it places on the memorial area and allowing for a more generous passageway onto the site from the north. And the architects are now working on a facade composed of hundreds of glass prisms to give the building a more ethereal quality.

    But this doesn't solve the broader problem at ground zero: clutter. In addition to the Freedom Center, the development corporation has added an underground "memorial center" that will link to the memorial pools as well as to rooms for grieving relatives of the dead. More recently, city and state officials have suggested adding an information center at the base of the museum building to help tourists navigate the area, an idea that would be more appropriate in a theme park.

    The clutter results from a tendency to parcel off sections of the site to different political constituencies, be it the developer, Larry Silverstein, the victims' families, or the cultural institutions. Notably, this has not been a bipartisan effort. Both Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. George E. Pataki have invoked ground zero to advance their own agendas; neither of the state's Democratic senators has been invited to appear at recent news conferences on the site's development. And the Freedom Center is bound to be viewed by much of the world as a jingoistic propaganda tool.

    What is missing at ground zero is a sense of humility. This is something that cannot be remedied by reducing the scale of a building. We should refocus attention on what matters most: remembering the human beings who were lost at ground zero, while allowing life to return to the void there. The rest is a pointless distraction.

  6. #6
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    The other buildings look short and fat, and FT looks the same.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHLguy
    The other buildings look short and fat, and FT looks the same.
    You can't even see the tops of the freaking other buildings. Try to stop being so obsessive compulsive about it. Really.

  8. #8

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    Wood is an odd choice, ephemeral, and uncultivated. (Do I detect a commentary about freedom tuning gray, cracking, and rotting away?) A terra-cotta would offer the same warmth on the exterior with considerably more integrity.

    The facade just screams for some GKD mesh. Hmm, prisms... are they trying to echo the waterfalls below?

    The spiral is practical when you think about how many school trips will come through here each year. (I like how spiraling down to exit a building symbolizes freedom hmmm....)

  9. #9

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    I like the principal and having seen one of their other buidlings that uses this plank wood theme I can tell you it will be spectacular. The prisms are a neat idea that will add a dream like sense to this building. I understand it may be a bit bulky but considering what sqfootage was required and the foot-print, they dont have much of a choice... The part about it being stilted and having light filter through to the platforms below is amazing! Im quite excited and I hope this gets going soon.

  10. #10

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    Yes, they did a good job considering the circumstances. Could those circumstances- including the ridiculous number of requirements hoisted upon them- change? Absolutely, and they should if we're to get a building more suitably massed for the site than this bulky lump.

    A spiral is practical? Set aside momentarily the fact that other museums (in cramped spaces, like MoMA) can accomodate schoolchildren quite well without the use of such a theatrical, chimerical forced progresson. That endorsement of presupposed "practicality" would ensure that rather than evoking freedom, the centre would accomodate, instead, efficiency. That order supercedes individual right would hardly seem worthy of the organisation's goals. The reality of freedom is chaotic; packaging and programming something didactically unveiled within this shoebox is its antithesis. This design is as appropriate for the concept as the organisation itself, which I'm told has some rather shadowy ideological sentiments.

    Of course, one could question the necessity of a "Freedom Center" altogether, but that would require the public to believe something other than what politicians have so successfully sold- that September 11th represented an attack on "freedom," however vague. I suppose this will stand then as a monument to the longevity of their machinations.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMGarcia
    You can't even see the tops of the freaking other buildings. Try to stop being so obsessive compulsive about it. Really.

    They look just as fat as in the original 2003 rendering. So they are probably just as tall. 600 feet for the smallest tower and 900 for the largest.


    I am OCD because I care about the heights of the buildings very much, I don't wan't lower manhattan to become a table top because the buildings at the NWTC have the average height of 750 feet.

  12. #12

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    You really got to chill. These renderings are from architects that don't have anything to do with any of the other buildings. Did you really suddenly expect to see newly designed buildings in the background?

  13. #13
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    No I didn't. I'm not saying they will LOOK like that, I'm saying they will be about the same height. And they don't look to narrow, I don't expect them to really reach much higher than the top of the page.


    I just don't want there to be a table top on the skyline. Since FT will have less than 70 floors the other towers must also be lower. I care about height because the skyline is already flattening out with buildings 600-800 feet.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHLguy
    No I didn't. I'm not saying they will LOOK like that, I'm saying they will be about the same height. And they don't look to narrow, I don't expect them to really reach much higher than the top of the page.


    I just don't want there to be a table top on the skyline. Since FT will have less than 70 floors the other towers must also be lower. I care about height because the skyline is already flattening out with buildings 600-800 feet.
    Jesus Christ! They haven't been designed yet.

  15. #15
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    I KNOW! That's not what I'm saying!! I'm saying that they will follow the same height guidelines because of silverstein that nothing on the site can have an occupied space above 900 feet! I'm not saying they are the final designs!!

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