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Special Sauce
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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
 

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I think that the cultural center, the calatrava building, and the memorial center are a nice trio there. Just those are much better than the hideous twin towers revitalization that Trump is talking about. I can't believe people actually want those back. 10 years ago, it was unanymous that they were hideous.


Now if they could do a bold, and visionary Freedom Tower, then the world trade center would be impressive.
 

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Very nice. I like how it looks all transparent. It looks like it's just floating there.

So which performing arts group will be housed in here?

Edit: Oh nevermind. I RTFA.

the Joyce International Dance Center and the Signature Theatre

I wonder what kinds of productions will be put on.
 

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its going to be an architectural cluster **** at street level with all those very strong competing architectural forms [personalities] right next to each other
 

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There's a review in the Times today about this building. It's a pretty good article. Things to note:
1) The reason why it's elevated that way, raised above the ground, is that Calatrava didn't want any support structures intruding into his underground space. Also, he wanted sunlight to get down to train platform level.
2) The published pictures don't include the revisions asked for by the Port Authority that calls for more ductwork for ventilation and utilities. The final design will no doubt be more massive (or taller) in order to take these revisions in.
3) Consider how huge it is compared to the voids and the parkland... it seems to be too massive a building that will overshadow the power of the monument at street level.
4) For a "Freedom Center" the way it imposes how you appreciate the architecture on you isn't entirely "free." You're forced to go up an elevator, and then forced to go down the walkways. So the design assumes a tyrannical way of appreciating the architecture.
 

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gotta rememeber this is also just a beginning design...there is certainly alot of mass and structure missing from these drawings since they are more or less a concept sketch
 

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Architorture said:
gotta rememeber this is also just a beginning design...there is certainly alot of mass and structure missing from these drawings since they are more or less a concept sketch
Yea, the NYTimes article talked about the building being at least 1.5 stories taller.


And it is true, these three buildings (Calatrava, Gehry, and the center..), with the Freedom Tower, 7 WTC, and the other 4 buildings (they are 4 correct), will all have competing visions, and conflicting images of the World Trade Center site. I think it can either end up blending well, or looking hideous (maybe one architect with a master design would be better...).
 
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