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Old September 12th, 2006, 11:51 PM   #141
TalB
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http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/11/ar...tml?ref=design
At Ground Zero, Towers for Forgetting

By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF
Published: September 11, 2006


RRP, Team Macarie via Getty Images

A rendering of what Manhattan would look like with the new towers.



SPI, dbox via Getty Images

A rendering of, from left, the proposed Freedom Tower, and towers by Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Fumihiko Maki.



The New York Times
The three towers may not be built in their current form.


The designs unveiled last week for three sleek glass towers at ground zero rise above the mediocrity we have come to expect from a planning process driven by political opportunism, backdoor deal-making and commercial greed.

But for those who cling to the idea that the site’s haunting history demands a leap of imagination, the towers illustrate how low our expectations have sunk since the city first resolved to rebuild there in a surge of determination just weeks after 9/11.

Designed by Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Fumihiko Maki, the towers are solid, competent work by three first-rate talents. But each of these architects is capable of far more. Lord Foster has shown us better work recently in Midtown Manhattan, where his faceted Hearst Tower plunges through the top of an existing 1920’s building with impressive force.

Architectural merit aside, the most telling features of the ground zero master plan remain those in which the city’s anxieties bubble up to the surface: in the paranoia implied by David Childs’s heavily armored Freedom Tower, for example, or the defiant grandiosity of Santiago Calatrava’s transportation hub. By comparison, the three new towers are about forgetting. Conservative and coolly corporate, they could be imagined in just about any Western capital, paralleling the effacement of history in the remade, blatantly commercial Potsdamer Platz in Berlin or La Défense, the incongruous office-tower district just outside Paris.

Lord Foster set out to confront the emotional trauma at ground zero in a design he submitted in a master plan competition four years ago. His proposal, for two slender glass-and-steel towers that swayed in and out as they rose, seeming to meet here and there in a gentle kiss, captured the aura of the old twin towers. That proposal, a plan for the entire site, was rejected.

This time he was limited to a single tower at the northeast corner of the site, with a mandate to pack commercial and retail space onto a more constricted area. The result is bulkier. The building, which at 1,254 feet, with an additional 85-foot antenna (not pictured in the widely distributed renderings) would be the second tallest in the city after the Freedom Tower, rises straight up from its base with no setbacks. A vertical notch cut into each of its facades creates deep, brooding shadows; the top is sliced at a sharp diagonal that tilts toward the memorial pools below. One assumes that this is intended to imbue the structure with a quasi-mystical significance, but it’s a cheap gesture.

The simplistic nod to the memorial echoes the saccharine symbolism of Daniel Libeskind’s Wedge of Light plaza, whose form is based on the position of the sun five years ago this morning, when the two airliners reached the end of their deadly trajectory. Similarly, Lord Foster, Lord Rogers and Mr. Maki emphasize their buildings’ transparency, a tired cliché for the openness of a democratic society. But transparency is not just about openness. It’s about voyeurism, exhibitionism and surveillance, the last of which is probably more relevant than “freedom” at ground zero.

The towers by Lord Rogers and Mr. Maki are more convincing as architecture. Set on a transparent base just south of Lord Foster’s tower, Lord Rogers’s building is supported by a series of massive steel cross braces that give it structural muscle. Its glass facades extend up beyond the top of the building, a familiar architectural trick that will create the illusion that the tower is dissolving into the sky. It adds a much-needed touch of lightness to the densest part of the skyline.

Mr. Maki’s tower, the most elegant of the three, is also the most deceptively simple. As it rises, its prismatic form morphs from a square to a trapezoid, giving it an air of geometric purity that is somewhat closer in spirit to the old World Trade Center towers.

Over all, the massive scale of the three towers, which are slightly staggered in height, will extend the dense canyons of Wall Street right up to the edge of the memorial site, not a bad idea. The disparate styles of the Rogers and Maki towers in particular, which are separated by a mere 47 feet, could create an interesting visual tension in the skyline.

The big problem is down below on the street. In a small but important recent victory, the city has decided to rebuild Cortlandt Street as an open-air pedestrian walkway, countering the Port Authority’s proposal to cover it with a glass canopy. Framed by Lord Rogers’s tower to the north and Mr. Maki’s to the south, the pedestrian corridor will form one of the most dramatic visual approaches to the memorial site.

But that victory has been compromised by the Port Authority’s determination to pack as much retail space as possible into the buildings. Current plans call for several stories at the base of each tower to be occupied by stores, raising the specter of vertical urban malls on the order of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. Like Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Time Warner’s architects, Lord Foster, Lord Rogers and Mr. Maki have sheathed their retail sections in glass, the difference being that shoppers will peer down into the memorial pits instead of down 59th Street.

The sense that the three towers are typical development fare, if a notch above standard, is reinforced by Mr. Calatrava’s transportation hub, whose glittering elliptical form, capped by its two winglike canopies, will sit between Lord Rogers’s tower, to the south, and Lord Foster’s, to the north. Insisting on the inviolate purity of his great central hall, Mr. Calatrava arranged to have his building’s mechanical systems located within the bases of the nearby towers, adding to their bulk.

Through astute political maneuvering, he also persuaded government officials to locate the entrances to the No. 1 subway line in the Foster tower and the R and W trains in the Rogers building. Mr. Calatrava’s hub — larger than the great hall at Grand Central — will serve only the PATH trains to New Jersey, whose tracks lie across Greenwich Street, underneath the memorial site. The risk is that his transit hub will resemble the enormous lobby he famously designed for the Milwaukee Museum of Art, exuding a look-at-me braggadocio at the expense of serviceable function.

It is far from clear that these three towers will be built in their current form. It is almost inevitable that the Police Department will raise security concerns, challenging the abundance of glass at street level, for example.

But at least we are beginning to see a real architectural composition emerge, one that for all its flaws, represents a serious effort to raise the level of conversation at ground zero. The question is whether our fortunes slowly turning, or whether cynical politics will erode the genuine merits of the designs before us today.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 01:00 AM   #142
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awesome video

everyone should watch it!!
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Old September 14th, 2006, 01:08 AM   #143
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Really nice video.Thanks for the link
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Old September 14th, 2006, 02:44 AM   #144
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Just reminding everyone of the scale of the project - the shortest tower will be at least as wide and about 200 feet taller than 1 Liberty Plaza (tallest building in the lineup on the picture)

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Old September 14th, 2006, 02:51 AM   #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected]
I have a question for You.

What abaut "5 WTC"? Isn`t there a place for another skyscraper in the South of Ground Zero? And wouldn`t it be a fine place for another 400+m tower?
Does anybody know something about a 5 WTC?
WTC Tower 5 will go south of Ground Zero where 130 Liberty Plaza (Doutche Bank of America) curretly stands, it will be residental. The renderings and stats of Towers 5 and 6 have not yet been released as well as an architect to design them. However they'll be in the renderings as well before we know it!
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Old September 14th, 2006, 05:01 AM   #146
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Cool video, Excelsior!
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Old September 14th, 2006, 05:23 AM   #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHAPINM1
WTC Tower 5 will go south of Ground Zero where 130 Liberty Plaza (Doutche Bank of America) curretly stands, it will be residental. The renderings and stats of Towers 5 and 6 have not yet been released as well as an architect to design them. However they'll be in the renderings as well before we know it!
Where will be tower 6 located?I never heard about that.
And what about the Performing Arts Center between FT and Foster's Tower?It seems strange that its location appears in the masterplan, but it wasn't featured in any of the recent renderings...
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Old September 14th, 2006, 08:42 AM   #148
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so our best guess on how tall it would stand would be between the height of 4 and 7WTC? if so, around 750-950 ft, its aight I guess. Hope the glass is mad reflective like the ones used in 7WTC.
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Old September 15th, 2006, 01:46 AM   #149
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WTC 7 is 2nd favorite building right now in lower manhattan, first is 1 Liberty Plaza its such a simple building, but yet so awesome.
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Old September 15th, 2006, 03:13 AM   #150
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Tower five is not developed by Silverstein, and for all we know will end up being another 40-50 storey residential Kondylis clone. I'm not getting excited about it until I hear otherwise.

Also, there will be no Tower 6 (it was a low structure to begin with).

What is uc nearby, however, is the Goldman Sachs building, which should complement WTC 1-4 nicely once they are all completed.
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Old September 15th, 2006, 03:26 AM   #151
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeCom
Just reminding everyone of the scale of the project - the shortest tower will be at least as wide and about 200 feet taller than 1 Liberty Plaza (tallest building in the lineup on the picture)

Yeah I think we are taking for granted truly how enormous this project is going to be
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Old September 15th, 2006, 04:30 AM   #152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabeth
Tower five is not developed by Silverstein, and for all we know will end up being another 40-50 storey residential Kondylis clone. I'm not getting excited about it until I hear otherwise.

Also, there will be no Tower 6 (it was a low structure to begin with).

What is uc nearby, however, is the Goldman Sachs building, which should complement WTC 1-4 nicely once they are all completed.
Maybe tower 6 will rise in the future just like WTC 7 did in 1989.
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Old September 15th, 2006, 05:28 AM   #153
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Wow, that video makes me feel anxious for this building to be complet. Btw,what building will replace Deutche Bank?
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Old September 15th, 2006, 06:18 AM   #154
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Wow the more pictures and renders i see of the complex the more i like it. This will be a massive addition to NYC and the buildings look great especially WTC1 and Fosters Tower. I like this project now.
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Old September 15th, 2006, 06:30 AM   #155
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yea same here, the more I think about it and the more renders I see, the more I like it. 4 HUGE skyscrapers are comming that will bring Lower Manhattan back to where it should be. NYC will be up there in terms of modern sky scrapers as well.
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Old September 15th, 2006, 06:58 AM   #156
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The video makes the project look, all of a sudden, "real." They should have disseminated these videos a while ago.

I agree with 275, I like the project now.
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Old November 8th, 2006, 12:09 PM   #157
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How did this thread fall into the two-month archives? People are skeptical about the viability of these towers, and I guess posting nothing is better than the endless will/won't get built arguments on the FS thread. That being said, this one's getting bumped.
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Old November 8th, 2006, 02:31 PM   #158
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Just to give you guys an idea of how big these towers are, compare them to the Aon Center And John Hancock Center in Chicago. Towers 2 and 3 are pretty much the same height to their roofs. The project is massive.
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Old November 8th, 2006, 02:38 PM   #159
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Anybody know the total amount of floorspace for the entire project? It must be vast.
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Old November 8th, 2006, 06:34 PM   #160
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I know the project has bin critisized over and over but i also have to agree the freedom tower seems so bland, the architect needs to go to Dubai and get some inspiration lol, but Calatrava's transportation Hub is simply magnificent just like all of his designs I wish he desinged the entire project then New York trully would have had something amazing to behold; dont get me wrong once it's all complete im sure it will be awe inspiring when standing at the WTC. The memorial is also amazing. Go NY! We will never forget.
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