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. #211
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    Maybe they'll work a little Christian chapel into it to as well

  2. #212

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    ^Maybe something evangelical to recruit converts.

  3. #213

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    I would like a Pagan Temple. It's bad enough I don't get any holidays.

  4. #214

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    Does anyone know what is the roof of this building like? It seems to me that if the memorial won't take the Tribute in Light maybe we could put it up there? It would be perfect, out of the way, close to the site.

  5. #215
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Based on info about necessary ventilation systems (none of which were included in the published renderings) we can bet the roof won't look like anything this --



  6. #216
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    Arts Patron Resigns Over Move by Pataki

    By ROBIN POGREBIN
    October 1, 2005

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/01/arts/01gund.html


    Protesting Gov. George E. Pataki's decision to remove the International Freedom Center from the rebuilding effort at ground zero, Agnes Gund, one of the city's leading cultural figures, has resigned from the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation board.

    In a letter to John C. Whitehead, the foundation's chairman, Ms. Gund lamented the erosion of the original master plan for the site, which was drafted to "permanently memorialize what happened on Sept. 11, while also bringing and weaving the site back into the fabric of the city."

    Now, she wrote in her letter dated Thursday, "Governor Pataki (and it saddens me to say, Senator Clinton has joined him) has caved and virtually ensured that there will be no cultural component to the redevelopment."

    "I hate to walk away from this situation and leave it to you and the others to sort out," continued Ms. Gund, who is a president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art. "But I am afraid that the governor and those few family members have succeeded in destroying what could not be destroyed on that awful Tuesday, which is our hope."

    Gretchen Dykstra, president of the memorial foundation - the organization charged with raising money for a memorial and for cultural institutions at ground zero - said yesterday that she was disappointed by Ms. Gund's departure but not discouraged.

    "Of course, we will miss Aggie, not just for her wealth but for her wisdom," she said. "But we in no way find this a setback."

    The governor announced on Wednesday that he had eliminated the Freedom Center after well-publicized arguments by some relatives of 9/11 victims that its mission - exploring human rights and freedom around the globe - detracted from the reality of what unfolded on Sept. 11.

    Ms. Dykstra suggested that the removal of the Freedom Center might even attract new financial contributions from donors. She said that on Thursday, "we got a lot of very encouraging phone calls from potentially very large donors who had been holding back." So far, no other foundation directors have resigned in response to the governor's decision.

    Paula Grant Berry, a vice chairman of the Freedom Center who serves on the foundation board, said yesterday that she was considering it, although "it's important that we have many voices there now so it's a well-rounded representation."

    Barbara Walters of ABC News, a board member, resigned in August, though she later agreed to stay on until an October board meeting, saying in a letter to the foundation that it might not be wise for her "to appear on a board which is certain to involve some controversy."

    The building designed for the Freedom Center by the Norwegian firm Snohetta, was also to have housed the Drawing Center, a SoHo institution for works on paper that is looking for other space. Some 9/11 family members had faulted works exhibited in the past by the Drawing Center, calling them unpatriotic.

    The building is now to contain the 9/11 museum and a visitors center. Since the Freedom Center was to have charged admission to support an annual operating budget of $15 million to $20 million, it is unclear how these activities will be supported. Because many of New York's philanthropic dollars flow from arts patrons, some people involved in rebuilding downtown speculated yesterday that Ms. Gund's departure could hurt fund-raising.

    But Ms. Dykstra said that she remained optimistic about the foundation's capacity to raise $500 million, the cost of the memorial and the museum building, in an international campaign and that she hoped "to reach the first major benchmark soon." And some board members said dropping the Freedom Center would provide the clarity that potential donors were craving. "It will be easier now than it was before," said Ira M. Millstein, a foundation director. "There is no confusion about walking into something where people are going to be fighting forever."

    Thomas Rogér, a board member who lost his daughter on 9/11, said yesterday that the elimination of the Freedom Center had "to some extent resolved issues but also undercut the master plan."

    In a statement yesterday, Governor Pataki said, "We remain staunchly committed to building the cultural building and the performing arts center and to bringing life-affirming cultural activity to the World Trade Center site."

    In her letter, Ms. Gund took aim at the family members of 9/11 victims who had campaigned against the Freedom Center. "I fear that certain vocal family members, who as near as I can tell do not represent a majority of anything, have taken over the process and are uninterested entirely in the needs of the people who actually live and work in Lower Manhattan," she wrote.

    A leader of the battle over the Freedom Center, Debra Burlingame, a member of the memorial foundation whose brother was a pilot on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, defended the Snohetta building's new purpose yesterday. "The 9/11 memorial and memorial museum is a cultural institution," she said, while adding that Ms. Gund's departure was regrettable.



  7. #217
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Is Culture Gone at Ground Zero?

    By ROBIN POGREBIN
    September 30, 2005

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/30/ar...gn/30zero.html


    It's not easy to pinpoint the day culture died at ground zero.
    Since four cultural organizations were selected for the site a year ago, the notion of giving the arts an integral role has been gradually - and more lately precipitously - slipping away.

    Daniel Libeskind's master plan for the former World Trade Center site called for life-affirming, forward-looking cultural activities that would coexist with a memorial's somber acknowledgment of lives lost. Culture was supposed to make the site a hub of round-the-clock activity for tourists and to provide a vibrant gathering place for people who live downtown.

    But at this point, culture is being cast as a suspicious interloper. On Wednesday, Gov. George E. Pataki kicked the International Freedom Center off the site, saying that its goal of exploring the realm of human rights had attracted "too much controversy." Relatives of 9/11 victims had argued that such a theme did not belong at ground zero.

    The Freedom Center's board rebuffed suggestions that it look for a different location downtown, pointing out that it was conceived specifically for that site and that context.

    "During the planning process there was a clear consensus that culture was essential for the revitalization of Lower Manhattan," said Kate D. Levin, the city's cultural affairs commissioner. "Clearly, it needs to be repaired."

    Stefan Pryor, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is supervising the rebuilding effort, said, "The L.M.D.C. is deeply committed to culture." Yet the power of the development corporation's board members is now in question, given that the decision on the Freedom Center was supposed to be theirs. In acting unilaterally, Governor Pataki has signaled that even if the board had voted in favor of the Freedom Center, the decision would have been an insufficient counterweight. John P. Cahill, the governor's point man on ground zero, said in an interview yesterday that culture remained "an integral part of the site plan."

    Several prominent members of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, which is overseeing the fund-raising, are reputed to care about culture - Michael D. Eisner of Disney, Kenneth I. Chenault of American Express, Richard D. Parsons of Time Warner and the actor Robert De Niro - but have been notably silent.

    A lack of powerful, outspoken advocates seems to have been a significant ingredient in the erosion of culture at the site. By putting the development corporation in charge of choosing the cultural groups, the state failed to enlist an enthusiastic commitment from business leaders and philanthropists, some arts executives say.

    "So when they got in trouble, no one was willing to stick their neck out against the families," said Tom Healy, president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

    "The arts are critical to ground zero," Mr. Healy said. "There was a process. Maybe the process needs to be looked at, but it certainly shouldn't be abandoned."

    In an interview yesterday, Mr. Libeskind said he believed culture must remain part of the master plan to foster activity and to act as a "buffer between commercial, memorial and retail space."

    "This is not just an empty site of sadness," he said. "There has to be something that heals." He added that he supports the governor's decision.

    Weeks earlier, another cultural institution on the slate of four, the Drawing Center, was driven from the site by victims' families and New York newspaper accounts asserting that some of the center's exhibitions had been "anti-American."

    That leaves the museum building at the northeast corner of the site, designed by the Norwegian firm Snohetta, with neither of its original tenants. It was designed specifically to accommodate the Freedom Center and the Drawing Center. The talk now is that it will house a visitors center and some kind of permanent 9/11 exhibition.

    The master plan's other major cultural component, a performing arts center, increasingly looks like a pipe dream. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation recently committed $50 million to the project. But given that the designated architect is Frank Gehry, and a Gehry building would cost eight times that amount, the commitment is a drop in the bucket.

    Raising the rest seems like a tall order. The two groups designated for the building, the Joyce Theater and the Signature Theater, are modest in size and relatively little known. What's more, the Memorial Foundation has made clear that it intends to put its muscle behind memorializing the victims.

    The design process is in limbo. "We have not had any contact at all," Mr. Gehry said in a recent telephone interview, adding, "I can see that it's precarious."

    The Joyce, which presents dance, and the Signature, an Off Broadway theater, continue to hone their proposals without any sense of whether they have a real shot at a new home at ground zero.

    Nonetheless, Gretchen Dykstra, president of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, said yesterday, "The commitment to the performing arts center is strong and deep."

    On a broader level, the public has only the haziest notion of what cultural groups will reside at the site, given the current plans for a World Trade Center Memorial Museum, a Memorial Hall, and contemplation and family rooms.

    And some are asking what remains of Mr. Libeskind's master plan. This state of affairs is a far cry from the 2002 "Blueprint for the Future of Lower Manhattan," in which the development corporation called for "a diverse mixed-use magnet for the arts, culture, tourism, education and recreation."

    Or Governor Pataki's 2003 invitation to cultural institutions, in which he called the arts "an essential element to creating a thriving urban environment in Lower Manhattan."

    Or a February 2004 report in which the development corporation quoted Matthew Arnold: "Culture is acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said in the world, and thus with the history of the human spirit."

    In remarks before the Association for a Better New York last November, Governor Pataki said the planned cultural buildings would "stand as symbols of the enduring grace and goodness of humanity," adding that the Freedom Center would "convey stories of courage and inspiration."

    The first strong signal that this commitment was fading came in April, when John C. Whitehead, the development corporation's chairman, said the performing arts center was effectively on the fund-raising back burner. A $500 million capital campaign that was supposed to benefit the memorial, and both cultural buildings would now exclude the performing arts center, which would instead be part of a "second phase."

    Then came a June 8 op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal in which Debra Burlingame - who serves on the memorial foundation's board, and whose brother was killed on 9/11 - called the Freedom Center a "multi-million-dollar insult."

    The attack surprised those who had initially feared that the Freedom Center would be simplistically patriotic, because of its name and because Tom A. Bernstein, the founder of the center, is associated with Roland W. Betts, a close friend of President Bush. Mr. Bernstein and Mr. Betts are partners in Chelsea Piers, and both are former owners with Mr. Bush of the Texas Rangers. Mr. Betts is also a director of the development corporation.

    Later that month, The Daily News reported that the Drawing Center had once displayed a work obliquely linking President Bush to Osama bin Laden and another showing a hooded victim of American abuse at Abu Ghraib prison. In an editorial that day, the paper demanded, "Show these people the door."

    In a July letter to the development corporation, Mr. Bernstein tried to defend the Freedom Center. "We will not 'blame America' or attack champions of freedom," he said. "Any suggestion that we will feature anti-American programming is wrong. We are proud patriots."

    Some saw this pledge as an outright capitulation. Eric Foner, a Columbia University history professor, quickly resigned as an adviser to the Freedom Center.

    From then on, a contingent of victims' families steadfastly denounced the Drawing Center and the Freedom Center as unpatriotic distractions.

    Governor Pataki felt the pressure. With a potential presidential race looming, he had staked his legacy on the rapid reconstruction of ground zero. On July 24, he issued an ultimatum - "We will not tolerate anything on that site that denigrates America" - insisting that cultural institutions guarantee their presentations would not violate "the sanctity of that site."

    The Drawing Center quickly realized it was finished; what art organization could retain its identity without being able to show what it wants? The development corporation gave the center $150,000 to conduct feasibility studies on locating elsewhere.

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg voiced disappointment this week that officials did not find a way to make their peace with the Freedom Center. He has otherwise stayed out of the controversy, a noticeable absence given his widely known commitment to culture. But the mayor long ago made a bargain with Mr. Pataki to let the governor take the lead at ground zero in exchange for a free hand in planning the future of the Far West Side.

    Madelyn Wils, a development corporation director, said yesterday, "I'm deeply disappointed that we could not have worked out a way to have the Freedom Center on the site."

    Mr. Gehry said of the squabbles, "From the beginning, I thought it was going to be messy, given all the politics, all the people you have to please."



  8. #218

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    It should be moved to the southwest corner of the site so it wouldn't block the view of Calatrava's PATH station and it would make a good plaza in the middle of the WTC site.

  9. #219
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    I have to say that I truly hope the fundraising for the Memorial fails - monumentally. It is now the only realistic way to prevent the feared graveyard scenario. For folks who have watched this process unfold, I encourage you to withhold donations and certainly advocate on to stop this monstrosity from materializing. I'll take the underground mall over this private mourning pit in the blink of an eye.

  10. #220
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    It would be brilliant if Snohetta were to withdraw their plan in protest.

    Fat chance -- but, wow, would I cheer that move.

  11. #221

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1
    It would be brilliant if Snohetta were to withdraw their plan in protest.

    Fat chance -- but, wow, would I cheer that move.
    In protest of what? They are Norwegian architects. They are paid to design a building, which they did. They have no say in Lower Manhattan land use decisions.

  12. #222
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    ^ My understanding is that Snohetta was paid to design a cultural center. While I'm not certain of the specifics of their contract -- or the extent of the design work that has been submitted on this project -- the core purpose of the building has changed. It would not surprise me if architectural changes will be required as well.

    Does the building as now designed serve the newly-stated purpose of the building to be built (Cultural Center v. Museum)?

    Would Snohetta have become involved in this project if the course of events that have now transpired taken place prior to the choosing of the architect? Knowing that the building does not fulfill what was outlined in the original master plan for the site?

    Of course all of us (no matter our profession) could view the contracting of our services as being merely guns for hire, no matter the details of the transaction. Sometimes "creative differences" on a project can result in the ending of what once appeared to be a mutually beneficial working relationship.

    I don't foresee that Snohetta will actually withdraw from this project. If nothing else the firm might want to protect the integrity of their design.

  13. #223
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    Well, they can withdraw their design and then David Childs can copy it to the last detail, submit it to the LMDC and call it his brilliant masterpiece.

  14. #224

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    New York Times
    October 3, 2005

    For Ground Zero Building, It's Back to Drawing Board

    By DAVID W. DUNLAP

    The practice of recycling buildings goes back millennia. But the World Trade Center project may claim a new distinction by recycling a structure that has not yet been built.

    The Norwegian firm Snohetta was chosen last October to design the cultural building at ground zero to house the International Freedom Center and the Drawing Center.

    Because Gov. George E. Pataki evicted the Freedom Center last week as too controversial, and the Drawing Center is looking for space elsewhere, state officials say that the "Snohetta building" will instead be used in conjunction with the underground memorial nearby, to tell the story of 9/11.

    The building was custom designed for its original tenants, however, and it is unclear how much the new version will resemble the renderings that have been in the public eye since May.

    "Of course, we'll be engaging in a design process to be sure the building meets the needs of its new program," said Stefan Pryor, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is overseeing cultural and memorial planning at the trade center site. "But its appearance - especially in terms of the signature elements - will be substantially similar. And the building will remain spectacular."

    It will be at least 30 percent smaller than the 250,000-square-foot design that was unveiled five months ago, Mr. Pryor said. He said it was too early to tell which signature elements would survive: the broad entry ramp, the way the building seems to float over the plaza, the prismatic facade studded with glass, the light court at the center.

    The executive director of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Fredric M. Bell, put in a word for the ascending ramp. He said it would connect an appropriately "skyward-pointing" element to the largely underground memorial complex.

    Others despaired of salvaging anything from the project.

    "The beautiful Snohetta-designed building is now a relic - a design without a program or a purpose," Agnes Gund, president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art, said on Thursday, in the letter she wrote resigning from the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation to protest the Freedom Center's eviction. Her comment carries particular weight, since Ms. Gund was a member of the panel that chose Snohetta.

    Monica Iken, another board member of the foundation, which will build and own the memorial and cultural buildings, said in an e-mail message, "There is no reason from a cost or time standpoint that they could not reconsider the look and location of that building."

    Ms. Iken said the architects should determine how many visitors can be expected, then account for 9/11 artifacts like the twin tower columns, stored in Hangar 17 at Kennedy Airport.

    Ms. Iken, whose husband, Michael Iken, was killed on Sept. 11, 2001, said the Snohetta building was "beautiful in some ways." But she said, "It blocks the views of the memorial and important sight lines and vistas that would help tie the whole area together."

    In addition, Ms. Iken said, planners should consider moving the cultural building to the corner of West and Liberty Streets, where it was shown in an early version of Michael Arad's design for the memorial.

    There seems to be no chance of that, however.

    The building belongs at the northeast corner of the memorial quadrant in part because it will house the visitors center, Mr. Pryor said, and most visitors will approach from that direction. It also was placed there, he said, because the architect Daniel Libeskind called for it in his master plan as a buffer between the memorial and the city. At that location, the building will also serve the unglamorous but essential role of containing, and effectively hiding, the huge ventilation shafts from the PATH terminal.

    "Our desire," said Craig Dykers, a founding partner of Snohetta, "has always been to create a building that respects the memorial setting, protects it from its immediate urban surroundings and provides a place where visitors to and from this important location can find a place of transition. This will remain the case whatever institution remains present in the building."

    And Snohetta remains on contract with the development corporation.

    "The L.M.D.C. have stated clearly to us that they are dedicated to building a life-affirming, interactive and invigorating facility," Mr. Dykers said on Friday in an e-mail message, "and we therefore remain committed to proceeding."

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  15. #225

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    the architect Daniel Libeskind called for it in his master plan as a buffer between the memorial and the city.
    This goes to the core of the problem with removing the Freedom Center from the building. The Freedom Center was an ill-defined concept, but its removal should have reopened the process of finding a suitable cultural institution for the site.

    Instead of shielding the memorial from the street, the building now becomes part of the memorial, and there will be pressure from memorial groups to regulate the environment across Greenwich St.

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