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Thread: 200 Greenwich Street - Proposed WTC Tower #2 - by Norman Foster

  1. #1666

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    Commercial Observer
    June 17, 2015

    When Larry Met Bjarke…

    By Sara Pepitone



    “It’s like in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” said Bjarke Ingels, scrolling through images of gorgeous, multi-masted wooden sailboats on his phone, about to agree with Larry Silverstein who’d just extolled the fjords of Norway.

    “Come here,” said Mr. Silverstein, gently interrupting, reaching out his arm, guiding Mr. Ingels away from the reception area and into his office at 7 World Trade Center.

    “Can we come?” asked those who remained: a reporter, a photographer and two publicists (one each for Messers. Silverstein and Ingels).

    “No,” said Mr. Silverstein. This was to be a private moment for the city’s newest power couple: developer and architect, honeymooning after their engagement was announced.

    Last week BIG, the Bjarke Ingels Group, a New York-based design firm birthed in Copenhagen, unveiled its design for a (probably) 80-story, 1,340-foot building at 200 Greenwich Street, the fourth and final skyscraper at the 16-acre World Trade Center site. That’s 2 World Trade Center, the one that was maybe to open in 2016, the one where construction was halted at street level in 2010. The Liberty Bonds and insurance money funding 3 and 4 World Trade Center was not enough for building 2, too. It’s also the one that was originally designed by Lord Norman Foster in 2005.



    Earlier this month Silverstein Properties, developer and master leaseholder, signed a non-binding agreement with 21st Century Fox and News Corp., non-officially starting their relationship as landlord and tenant at 2 World Trade Center. If the agreement stands, 21st Century Fox and News Corp.—separate companies since 2013—will move Downtown in 2020 when their leases at 1211 and 1185 Avenue of the Americas expire. The combined headquarters will fill more than 1.3 million square feet on the lower floors of the 2.8-million-square-foot building. Silverstein will lease the upper floors to other tenants.

    “While no final decisions have been made, we look forward to continuing to work with SPI [Silverstein Properties] on the design of the new headquarters and terms of our lease arrangement,” 21st Century Fox and News Corp. said in a prepared joint statement.

    Significant not only because this (likely) move augments the neighborhood’s growing “media capital” status but also because it was James Murdoch, CEO of 20th Century Fox, who approached Mr. Ingels last summer—via CBRE’s powerbroker, Mary Ann Tighe—in a search for an architect who would help seek out an appropriate headquarters.

    “He already had a vision,” said Mr. Ingels of Mr. Murdoch, who hired him shortly after meeting. “I really sensed there was a great care and concern for their future workspace. The last thing he wanted to do was to build a giant skyscraper, so we kind of failed on that parameter,” he added, laughing.

    BIG sketched out the possible workspace for each of the few locations considered. “If you’re looking for 1.5 million square feet of workspace it narrows the search down,” said Mr. Ingels, noting a veritable cemetery of abandoned headquarters mockups in his office.

    Each space came with possibilities and limitations. Four months in it was clear 2 World Trade Center had the most merits. This January the official design phase began. By then, Mr. Ingels said, his firm was well-educated in the needs and dreams of Fox and News Corp. so his firm could take elements of previously presented designs and hit the ground running.

    Of course at that point they were a party of three: Mr. Silverstein was at the table, too, because while the lower floors will be specifically tailored for TV studios, newsrooms and the like, the upper floors need to be desirable to any variety of potential tenants.



    The floors here are located within seven pods, so to speak, seven spaces that can and will operate individually, layered like an upwards staircase, each with ample amenities spaces—including anything from cafeterias to basketball courts—natural light and easily accessible terraces. This is what Mr. Ingels refers to as a “vertical village” which is immediately clear when standing next to him looking at a model of the site and the surrounding neighborhoods. Each level of the tower mimics the scale of nearby Tribeca buildings.

    The backside—the flat, western side of the building—faces 1776-foot 1 World Trade Center. Depending on your viewing angle the buildings are aligned in parallel, horizontal unison. It’s stirring; a subtle, clear homage.

    “Even though they are not twins, they are not identical, they have a sibling relationship going on,” said Mr. Ingels, who was born in Copenhagen 18 months after the World Trade Center’s grand opening in 1973. He moved to New York City in 2010. Overseeing the Durst residential project at 625 West 57th Street began in 2011. To give you a sense of his style, this is the building alternately referred to as pyramid, tetrahedron and “courtscraper” (Mr. Ingel’s word: courtyard meets skyscraper).

    Mr. Ingels is also half of team Googleplex 2.0 (the other is Thomas Heatherwick, another lauded, exciting, foreign-born 40-something designer), he’s involved with New York City’s Dryline project (Lower Manhattan flood protection barrier) and he’s sought after internationally. But mega-office towers are pretty new for his group.

    “I was a little bit intimidated that we were going to design one of our biggest projects ever on one of the most important sites, like, period. And it was so full of constraints,” he said, mentioning things like the Master Plan, the existing footprint, set back requirements, structure loads, the heritage, the anchor tenant and, yes, Mr. Silverstein.

    The creation of 2 World Trade Center was not their first meeting. In 2011 BIG was considered for another Silverstein site. In the end, Mr. Ingels said, “they went with someone, as Larry said, ‘More his age’.” Though the meeting had ended with Mr. Silverstein, as portrayed by Mr. Ingels, saying, “Is it exciting? Yes! Would it be great to work together? Yes!”

    An alluring tease. Four years later they were reintroduced.

    “When [Mr. Ingels] showed me how beautifully his design served the programmatic needs of the Murdoch interests, I said, ‘This is interesting; this is worth looking at seriously’,” Mr. Silverstein said. Then, seeing how the needs of other tenants—those who will occupy the upper floors—would also be met, he was convinced. “He ended up serving two masters, Murdoch requirements and our requirements, which is not an easy thing to do.”

    “I concur,” Mr. Ingels said, good naturedly.

    Yet Mr. Silverstein was still not ready to say ‘I do’.

    Mr. Silverstein has a preference for symmetry and buildings that get smaller towards the top, two characteristics this future-feat-of-engineering will not have. And, perhaps more importantly, he wanted 2 World Trade Center to fit in. “The other buildings are very conventionally designed, typical office buildings,” Mr. Silverstein said. “Would it fit? This building is the language of tomorrow. The others are 10 years ago, a different decade,” Mr. Silverstein said. “We gave it such a huge amount of time, effort, energy, so many people involved—governors, mayors, directors, people invested in it. There was such a sensitivity, such a concern we weren’t violating any covenants with ourselves or anyone else.”

    So Mr. Ingels suggested consulting with the other architects who had worked on the World Trade Center site. He had not then met any of them.

    David Childs, who worked with Silverstein in the area since the rebuilding of 7 World Trade Center (not technically on the site), which began in April 2002, was called in first. That was March. Mr. Silverstein said Mr. Childs hesitated to play this game of does-this-fit out of respect for other architects. His approval, said Mr. Silverstein, resulted in a huge sigh of relief.

    “Oh. My. God. Ohmygod,” said Mr. Ingels. “When everyone left we were all hugging. Thomas [his partner] has tears in his eyes. I was pretty confident that this was the right thing to do and in my mind’s imagination could see that everyone else would love it but there was a pretty handsome risk that that was not the case.”



    Daniel Libeskind, master plan architect, also approved. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to see the master plan come closer to completion with the design of 2 World Trade Center,” he said via email. “The Bjarke Ingels Group tower brings an exciting new spirit to the site, while honoring the foundations of the original master plan.”

    In the end, Mr. Silverstein said, all agreed that this design would fit “beautifully.”

    But bringing in Mr. Ingels meant letting Lord Foster go. “We had a very good conversation. He understood. I fully expect we’ll do another building together. He’s responsible for lots of first-class projects,” Mr. Silverstein said. “Modification would have been impossible, to fit the programmatic needs.”

    This week, as the previous design model is donated to the Skyscraper Museum (39 Battery Place), BIG moves in to 7 World Trade Center. Everyone working on the project will be there too, a system Mr. Silverstein has seen work in the past: collaboration and minding the same countdown clock. “We’re definitely going to see a lot of each other,” he said. “When you work with people you like, respect, admire, it’s not hard. He’s a terrific guy.”

    “Who would have thought?” said Mr. Ingels.

    “He’s half my age, has accomplished some extraordinary things. I find working with young people an absolute pleasure,” said Mr. Silverstein, 84. “They come at it with a different perspective, different concepts. The flexibility of thought is just a pleasure. We get fixed in our ways, fixed in our thoughts, unwilling to change. That’s a sign of old age. I have conferences with myself on a regular basis: get with the program; go with the flow!”

    Speaking of conference, when they emerged from their tête-à-tête, minutes after leaving the group, Mr. Ingels was telling Mr. Silverstein that he was “working on it” but did not currently have a significant other. (Or, at least not one worthy of joining him in what appeared to be an invitation. A sailing trip, perhaps? They’ve got that in common along with a fondness for iced coffee.)

    “You know the part when the protagonist meets God?” said Mr. Ingels, referring again to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. “They’re talking about earth and God says he won an award for the fjords of Norway.”

    He was emphasizing the area’s beauty—motivation for Mr. Ingels’ upcoming sailing trip back there—but it’s hard to separate from the notion of remarkable design, a passion for which this duo clearly shares.

  2. #1667
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    Quote Originally Posted by scumonkey View Post
    That makes two...you and Rupert?!
    Make that four. Me and surely Ingels must like it a little.

  3. #1668
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    Silverstein comments that the Foster design as well as the other towers are so 'last decade' and this design is somehow more current. Given how long it takes between a final design and the completion of any similar large project, isn't any building 'last decade' by the time it opens including this one by the time it is done?

  4. #1669

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    Quote Originally Posted by arcman210 View Post
    Those overhangs and "terraces" are fugly. The whole Tribeca inspiration is a crock, IMO.
    Maybe not, if he adds a few water towers.



    On my list of the top ten most tortured analogies:
    Even though they are not twins, they are not identical, they have a sibling relationship going on.

  5. #1670

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed007Toronto View Post
    Make that four. Me and surely Ingels must like it a little.
    4...How very sad.

  6. #1671
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    On my list of the top ten most tortured analogies:
    'Even though they are not twins, they are not identical, they have a sibling relationship going on.'

    They sure do. They hate each other.

  7. #1672
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    Sigh... such a joke. After praying for years that tower 2 gets built... we get this piece of shit instead of Foster's design - which is really the only one I ever liked at the site.

    I can only hope that this gets stuck in development hell for years...

  8. #1673
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    The lesson he might take away is that it's not really personal; some of us think that in this instance, he designed an inappropriate building.
    Beyond inappropriate....

    Offensive.

  9. #1674
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    Bad yes, offensive? I mean, it could have been the skyscraper from HIMYM:


  10. #1675
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoldanTTLB View Post
    Bad yes, offensive? I mean, it could have been the skyscraper from HIMYM:

    I said offensive, not lewd.

  11. #1676

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    Capital New York
    July 8, 2015

    For final World Trade tower, a construction obstacle course

    By Ryan Hutchins



    Nearly 14 years after the Twin Towers were destroyed, there are clear signs the World Trade Center may once again be whole.

    A tentative deal announced last month would have 21st Century Fox and News Corp. anchor the final building, known as 2 World Trade Center, providing a path forward for developer Larry Silverstein. Already, the companies have shown off new, cutting-edge designs for the skyscraper, thought up by Bjarke Ingels, one of the rising stars of the architecture world.

    But actually constructing Tower Two could prove to be one of the biggest challenges of the entire rebuilding effort, requiring extensive planning, a surgeon’s precision and the realization that there could be significant complications along the way. The problem faced by Silverstein and his new design team? Massive, hulking pieces of ventilation equipment take up much of the development site for 2 World Trade Center.

    The system cannot be moved and must stay operational—it regulates the air quality in underground stairwells connected to the center’s transportation hub, which is opening in phases this year. The task of building around the equipment will not be a simple one, according to several prominent architects, including Ingels.

    “I think you probably couldn’t find a more difficult place in the world to build a 1,300-foot tower,” Ingels said in a recent phone interview.

    To keep the ventilation system online, Ingels’ team has been asked to figure out how to “weave” the building’s support columns through all the machinery. They must also work around emergency stairs that connect to the hub. On top of that, there also needs to be room for the “core” of the building, where all the elevators, electrical wiring and the tower’s own ventilation must go.

    Construction crews will have to assemble the first three floors without disturbing the equipment. Then they must “duplicate” all of it; that is to say, they will build a replica of the machinery inside the tower. New air pipes will be snaked up the building. Then, somehow, the systems will be switched over without severely disrupting PATH train service or the underground retail shops.

    “The machinery has to keep running to keep the hub alive,” Ingels said. “Duplicate the machinery, switch it on, and then we can start clearing the ground floor for our purposes. So, baked into the site is already a few additional challenges, above and beyond the programmatic and sort of gravity requirements.”

    The 2 World Trade Center site is located next to the transportation hub and its grand “oculus.” The hub, designed by world renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, has been a problem-plagued undertaking, delayed time and again as costs repeatedly grew, pushing the price tag to $3.9 billion. To the west is 1 World Trade Center, which shares a similar story and cost.

    Tower Two already has a foundation, something that would certainly be advantageous if not for the fact it comes with all the ventilation equipment installed. Under a 2006 agreement between Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the World Trade Center, the developer had to bring the project to street level to allow for the ventilation equipment to be placed on the surface. Silverstein has already built new a new tower at 4 World Trade Center and is currently constructing 3 World Trade Center.

    Representatives for Silverstein, including World Trade Center Properties president Janno Lieber, have said they do not consider building around the equipment a significant obstacle.

    “There isn’t going to be an issue,” Lieber told Capital last year in a previously unpublished interview. “Most of the mechanicals for the hub are in tower three. Most of the stuff that you see at grade at tower two is really to feed the below-grade retail. It’s not the hubs, per se.”

    He was speaking prior to Ingels joining the project, and before News Corp. and Fox—both run by the Murdoch family—had entered formal negotiations. The original designer, famed British architect Norman Foster, was replaced at the request of the Murdochs. At the time, Lieber said he considered finding an anchor tenant to be the real challenge.

    “I shouldn’t be flip,” he said. “It’s technically—it’s mechanics and so on, and it costs money. But that’s not going to be the issue that prevents timely construction of Tower Two.”

    Indeed, several architects said they did not consider the task of moving the equipment to be impossible. Some allowed, though, that it would be “monumental.”

    One prominent architect familiar with the site, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to anger Silverstein, said he thought all the machinery and stairs are “seriously compromising their ability to build on top of it.” But, he conceded, the task is not impossible to complete—it will just take time, money and mental equity.

    Others weren’t as foreboding. Craig Schwitter, principal at BuroHappold Engineering and an associate professor at Columbia University’s graduate architecture school, said he too thinks dealing with the equipment will come with an additional cost and challenges. But he noted that numerous buildings have been constructed over transit and faced similar difficulties. That would include tower two’s big brother, 1 World Trade Center.

    “A lot of larger-scale building these days are built over transportation hubs,” Schwitter said. “Transportation and high rise and density go hand in hand. How often do you get to build a high rise in the middle of a green field?”

    Ingels and his team, for their part, have already designed a tower that is complex enough on its own. It involves what Ingels said will appear to be seven separate, smaller buildings stacked on top of each other. On one side, facing the Sept. 11 memorial, the building would have a conservative façade, albeit one that tilts slightly, following the pitch of 1 World Trade Center. On the other side, tower two would feature large overhangs with outdoor gardens on several levels.

    Ingels said the mechanical equipment counts among numerous obstacles, and says his firm continues to work on solutions.

    “We’ve already spent six months of trying to solve a lot of added complications you get when you’re building in one of the densest cities, in one of the densest neighborhoods, in the world, on top of 11 separate public transportation lines and some central loading and power supply, etcetera,” he said. “So I think, we’ve definitely taken into account a lot of the things. Happily, we have a few more years before we have to be done, so there’s still a few things to iron out.”

  12. #1677

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    Ingels said the mechanical equipment counts among numerous obstacles, and says his firm continues to work on solutions.
    Like realizing your new design is an utter failure, and going back to the drawing board starting all over again ?!

  13. #1678
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    All depends on your definition of 'severely disrupting' right? I mean, is that closing everything for a few hours? A day? A weekend? If you can close the PATH at 10pm on a Friday and reopen it Monday at 5am, and that's not severely, I think they're golden (operationally, if not aesthetically).

  14. #1679

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    All this considered why did no one think to build this thing to a few stories in height, as 3 wtc, to build the final mechanicals once, and not worry about monkeying around to build the same mechanicals again?

  15. #1680

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    I guess I'm the only one who loves the new design. Foster's design was amazing and was probably his best work ever. For the most part, other than 2 WTC and Swiss Re, I find his work to be mundane.

    Anyway, although Norm's design is great, I think that BIG's is awesome too. I hope that it's actually built and that this isn't a ruse to get its landlord on 6th to bend over and give NewsCorp the deal of the century to stay.

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