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Six WTC site plans released
July 16, 2002 10:11 AM   Subscribe

Six WTC site plans released by LMDC public-private partnership. Each idea revolves around a different conception of the memorial and is named for that, while showing variation in the structures that will be built around it. There are 3D renderings from above and from the south of the Battery, and skylines as seen from Jersey City, to show how the concept will fit into the existing neighborhood. None as imposing as the Twin Towers, but several include at least one distinctive structure that will rise above the nearest buildings, so Manhattan pedestrians can navigate again. All may be discussed Saturday in a public meeting at Javits Center, expected to attract 5000. I suspect that figure will be low.
posted by dhartung (57 comments total)

 
The Memorial Plaza design looks quite elegant. None of the others are particularly aesthetically striking, to me.
posted by Marquis at 10:22 AM on July 16, 2002


New Yorkers can register for the meeting this Saturday by visiting listeningtothecity.org.
posted by adampsyche at 10:36 AM on July 16, 2002


I recently got an email forward to the effect that the towers should be built back, just as they were... maybe with a few minor aesthetic improvement. Part of me agrees-- those massive towers were a real symbol of New York and ought to be built back in the same monolithic style, while another part of me dreams of something even more beautfiful.
posted by cell divide at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2002


Wow, the concept site is getting hammered right about now.
posted by adampsyche at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2002


Where's the grandeur? I realize that none of the buildings are being represented in their final form, but none of the plans seems overly compelling. All sort of lackluster, designed by committee, make everyone kind of happy typical american urban architecture. There's no sense of raw energy.

Truly memorable architecture needs to be controversial. It needs to push. The original towers did that. None of these designs do.
posted by warhol at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2002


For a nice, holistic perspective view of the six plans within the larger context of that part of the island, here are links to the six scale model views...

- Memorial Plaza
- Memorial Square
- Memorial Triangle
- Memorial Garden
- Memorial Park
- Memorial Promenade

I'm okay with any but the last two; neither Park nor Promenade sports a high and mighty spire to mark the New York skyline with a distinguishing feature.
posted by brownpau at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2002


My mistake, sorry; Park and Promenade do feature a spire or two, but somehow it isn't quite as prominent as in the other plans.
posted by brownpau at 10:45 AM on July 16, 2002


insulting

Dear LMDC:

We would like to extend our thanks for your designs to replace the World Trade Center. We're pleased to see you agree with us that the former towers were too tall.

Your partners in victory,
The Terrorists
posted by joemaller at 10:47 AM on July 16, 2002


I agree with warhol. All of the proposed designs look timid compared with what once stood there.
posted by Potsy at 10:52 AM on July 16, 2002


Screw you joe.

The WTC towers were ugly ugly ugly, and the only reason they're being lauded now was their ancillary role in the disaster of 9.11. Not re-building such anti-human behemoths grants nothing to the terrorists, you twit.

Ack.

I can't believe you'd even say such a thing. I don't normally get my hackles up... but what a shallow, awful thing to write.
posted by silusGROK at 10:54 AM on July 16, 2002


Memorial Garden aint so bad but all in all pretty banal.
posted by zeoslap at 10:54 AM on July 16, 2002


At the same time, with all the Dot-Bombs, is it worth the money to build lots of additional office space right now? Maybe smaller buildings are a better investment?

I don't know -- but it was a thought. And, my favorite idea for a memorial so far has been to rebuild them exactly as they were....

....in Kabul.....

.....out of concrete made from the ground bones of our enemies.....

Now, if I can just get this rid of this evil tic my left eye has developed....
posted by dwivian at 10:55 AM on July 16, 2002


Not only is that a troll, joemaller, but you're ganking bandwidth. Host the image on your own time and money or don't reference it like that. The site is getting enough activity right now as it is.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:56 AM on July 16, 2002


The problem with the way these proposals are presented is that no one will ever see them this way except seagulls and maybe some airplane passengers. I would like to see 360 degree renditions viewed from ground level -- as seen by a pedestrian in the plaza/park/square/triangle/promenade. Nobody can properly judge these things the way they are showing them. I'd like to be able to see what it feels like to walk up and through the site on the ground.
posted by beagle at 11:04 AM on July 16, 2002


And anyway, here's a much better proposal. Imagine walking around and over this.
posted by beagle at 11:11 AM on July 16, 2002


Vis10n, I couldn't disagree more. 9/11 is not the "only" reason some people are now praising the architecture of the former towers. Many genuinely liked them, myself included.
posted by Potsy at 11:13 AM on July 16, 2002


From what I understand, these are general concepts, not intended to show architectural or landscaping detail. From the NY Times:
"I want to emphasize the plans you see today are not intended to represent the design and the details of memorials or other buildings," said the Port Authority chairman, Joseph J. Seymour. "They show where the various components of the redevelopment plan interrelate and how much space they may occupy. Once the land-use plans are approved, we can move to construction with architectural design criteria that provides unified, dignified and creative designs for the site's components."
So, detailed renderings or 3-D views may not be useful. The idea is to get a general feel for how the site will stand in relation to the rest of downtown.
posted by Avogadro at 11:13 AM on July 16, 2002


I don't get it. Who was the corporation/individual who owned the buildings before they were destroyed? Shouldn't they get to pick what goes on their own real estate? Has the area been since sold off and acquired by the city?

Personally, I think that the most appropriate memorial would be to use the spot in whatever way generates the most profit for the landowners. Doesn't have to be amazing or transcendent, although that would be great too. Just profitable. When you think about what was being attacked, there is no better statement.

And settle down, guys, joemaller is right. If you replace the Trade Center, that soaring monument to capitalism, with a patch of grass and trees, or some mournful memorial, or a fucking tax-sucking cultural center, what is that saying?
posted by tirade at 11:13 AM on July 16, 2002


Hey, if we all give in and get mad at him, then joemaller will have already won!
posted by interrobang at 11:14 AM on July 16, 2002


The "if we don't rebuild them big, then we let them win" idea is junk... we should be strong enough that we don't have to try to play tit-for-tat. Leave that to the small minds. Personally, I like the Andow idea linked to a few comments back is better than any of these. I don't think any office structures should be put there at all, personally. In any case, it's way too soon to even have a chance at coming up with something that will be compelling for any length of time.
posted by fncll at 11:21 AM on July 16, 2002


And settle down, guys, joemaller is right. If you replace the Trade Center, that soaring monument to capitalism, with a patch of grass and trees, or some mournful memorial, or a fucking tax-sucking cultural center, what is that saying?

Joemaller was implying that the terrorists attacked the towers as an aesthetic objection, he didn't talk about capitalism at all, and my response was in no way.... ah fuck it, I'm confused enough now.. joe was probably just being sarcastic.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:23 AM on July 16, 2002


Who was the corporation/individual who owned the buildings before they were destroyed?

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:36 AM on July 16, 2002


Plus Larry Silverstein owns the building, I believe he has a contract with the PA, wherein he is obligated to rebuild the office space in the event of the building's destruction.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:40 AM on July 16, 2002


ugly ugly ugly

I completely disagree. Buildings are humanity's first realization of the dream of flying, and the towers were a triumph. They changed with the weather, and held onto the sun when it had set over the rest of the city. The World Trade Center towers were also the only place on Earth where you could stand at the base of an unbroken wall 1/5 of a mile high.

Practically, 14 million square feet of real estate need to be replaced. The average working population of those towers was 50,000 - 60,000 per day. They had their own Zip code. Perhaps most importantly, those economies also need to be rebuilt.

...then joemaller will have already won!
At least I'm consistent.

joe was probably just being sarcastic.
Gee you think?
posted by joemaller at 11:43 AM on July 16, 2002


Sometimes not very quickly.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:44 AM on July 16, 2002


Why not just keep the towers of light?
posted by panopticon at 11:45 AM on July 16, 2002


Hrm, yeh I wished for more detailed renderings, but it makes sense that they arnt. Some of those trapazodal shapes are kind of ugly.

I understand that there were a lot of problems with the old WTC design, but I do wish they would have put at least one 'really tall' option up. Something similar, but better, and enough with these pansy needles.

Oh well.
posted by delmoi at 11:48 AM on July 16, 2002


What we really need is some sort of grand optical illusion to make it look like the two old towers are still standing, like a hologram or a bunch of mirrors or something. Then you could put a small memorial and plenty of office space down there.

I agree with beagle, where are the ground-level renderings? I don't care how it looks from a helicopter... or a jetliner.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:54 AM on July 16, 2002


I think rebuilding the WTC as it was would be the truest sign of victory for the terrorists. Afterall which victory is bigger for the terrorists: (1) Forcing us to spend billions of dollars rebuilding a bunch of massive structures or (2) watching the US go on just fine without them, perfectly happy with a nice 14 acre lawn or something. Option (1) looks a lot better to the terrorists than option (2).
posted by plaino at 12:04 PM on July 16, 2002


The World Trade Center towers were also the only place on Earth where you could stand at the base of an unbroken wall 1/5 of a mile high.

So what? Is this supposed to be a worthwhile experience? How does a 5- or 6-foot human being relate to a 1/5-mile high wall? This is the same mentality that says we need cars that will go 180 miles per hour; one-family houses that are 6,000 square feet or larger, etc. Let us have architecture that is designed with human beings in mind; city planning that maximizes the experience of the person on the ground, or in the building.
posted by beagle at 12:06 PM on July 16, 2002


BOOOOOOOOring!!

These designs represent some of the more tedious, utilitarian, uninspired architecture I've seen. What a hideous capitulation it would be were any of these ever built.
posted by rushmc at 12:07 PM on July 16, 2002


It doesn't have to be big, just beautiful --- and opulent. Look at Rome, Venice and other European cities that have buildings low to the ground, but are still known as great pieces of architecture.
posted by geoff. at 12:22 PM on July 16, 2002


So what? Is this supposed to be a worthwhile experience? How does a 5- or 6-foot human being relate to a 1/5-mile high wall? This is the same mentality that says we need cars that will go 180 miles per hour; one-family houses that are 6,000 square feet or larger, etc.

Have you ever done it? Standing right at the foot of the Towers and looking up at them was one of the most worthwhile experiences of my life. Now that they are gone I wish I had done it more often. I can't think of many other things that have so clearly filled me with a sense of the power of the human spirit.

You're right: The mentality that built the towers was exactly the same as that which builds fast cars and luxurious homes. Thank god for it.
posted by tirade at 12:27 PM on July 16, 2002


If you replace the Trade Center, that soaring monument to capitalism, with a patch of grass and trees, or some mournful memorial, or a fucking tax-sucking cultural center, what is that saying?

Oh I don't know, that we're taking the opportunity granted by a terrible event to help erase an example of bloated and inhuman 60's and 70's era architectural hubris with something that celebrates humanity? But you're right. God forbid that damn icky "culture" sucks any of my tax dollars.
posted by jalexei at 12:27 PM on July 16, 2002


So what? Is this supposed to be a worthwhile experience? How does a 5- or 6-foot human being relate to a 1/5-mile high wall?

It was like laying down on the horizon. Are you arguing a specific point, or just arguing? One of humanity's greatest motivations has always been "because we can."
"...for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
That quote is chistled into the ground outside Stuyvesant High School on Chambers Street. It was positioned so you could look up at the WTC after reading it.
posted by joemaller at 12:30 PM on July 16, 2002


BOOOOOOOOring!!

These designs represent some of the more tedious, utilitarian, uninspired architecture I've seen. What a hideous capitulation it would be were any of these ever built.


Okay, once again: these aren't architectural renderings per se. They are used to show the relation of buildings and other structures relative to one another within the site and with the surrounding buildings. After designing the site layout (the DNA of the site), then a design competition will take place to determine what actually gets built. The finished product will not resemble the designs presently presented except for general building footprints, height, and other general layouts.
posted by Avogadro at 12:33 PM on July 16, 2002


These designs represent some of the more tedious, utilitarian, uninspired architecture I've seen.

From what I can tell, the designs are more conceptual layouts, and I have a feeling that the actual buildings would look different.

I think that building them exactly how they were would represent the worst kind of stagnated thinking imaginable. The land can be used to create the same amount of office space and incorporate a more humanist approach to the area, and create more of a neighborhood for residents and commuters. The notion of rebuilding exactly how they were, for sheer spite, when it is less expensive to do it another way and get the same amount of space, seems nothing less than silly to me. At least we can take solace in the fact that they almost certainly will not be rebuilt the way they were.
posted by adampsyche at 12:34 PM on July 16, 2002


The quote above is from The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
posted by joemaller at 12:34 PM on July 16, 2002


...only place on Earth where you could stand at the base of an unbroken wall 1/5 of a mile high...

Ever been to Yosemite and stared at the face of El Capitan?
posted by MaddCutty at 12:39 PM on July 16, 2002


What's too bad about this is that in the post-9/11 world lower Manhattan doesn't need nearly as much floor space. So many companies have fled downtown for Midtown, Queens, Jersey, LI, Conn, etc. that there's already a glut of empty space. In fact, if the buildings went up tomorrow they'd sink the market. So it would seem the planners should use all the land for memorials, except -- there are three big players looking to recoup their loses, the Port Authority (owned the buildings), Silverstein (leased the buildings), and an Australian consortium (subleased the retail space). So something has to be built, even if the market doesn't want it. Moreover, the three, along with the city and various victims' groups, have to agree on a compromise for the site's design, which means an inevitable committee decision. And you know how those turn out. Frankly, I wish things could just wait a while, for the passions to cool down; besides the Vietnam, it's hard to think of a memorial that was built soon after an historical event that doesn't pander to a host of groups, rendering it pablum-esque.
posted by risenc at 12:53 PM on July 16, 2002


Why not look at this issue from the viewpoint of 9/11 having never happened? The WTC would still be there in all its glory. I'm in favor of rebuilding two skyscrapers of equal height, situated opposite the footprints of the original towers. Give New Yorkers and the city's skyline what it deserves — a 21st century reinterpretation of the original buildings.
posted by dayvin at 12:57 PM on July 16, 2002


The more I think about it the more I like the proposed designs in all their blandness. No matter how you slice it, any monument here will be both a memorial for the lost AND a celebration of terrorism's greatest hit on America, depending on who looks at it. The best compromise is to build something on the site that is utterly unremarkable and simply blends in and quickly goes unnoticed. A true memorial would have to be built on untainted ground somewhere else, in order not to be simultaneously a monument to terrorism.
posted by plaino at 1:16 PM on July 16, 2002


"...for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder."
Nice quote, but, um, I think it refers to the El Capitan experience noted above (thanks MaddCatty), not to the artificial experience of looking up at the WTC (and yes, been there, done that, watched them being built). The quote is from Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby describing the experience of Dutch sailors first seeing the primeval Long Island (Full quote: "As the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes--a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.")

I say again, give us Tadeo Ando's version of the "fresh green breast of the new world."
posted by beagle at 2:03 PM on July 16, 2002


Tadao, that is.
posted by beagle at 2:04 PM on July 16, 2002


That, beagle, would be a beautiful memorial indeed.
posted by silusGROK at 2:06 PM on July 16, 2002


I really don't care that some of us think that not rebuilding big is surrender. The WTC was one of the worst buildings ever erected. And too few businesses, if any, will rent above 50 stories. So please. How about a park with no tall, inhumane buildings.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:16 PM on July 16, 2002


As an architect, we are many times asked by clients to do massing studies to see how many square feet of office space can fit on a site or how proposed massing of buildings relate to the buildings around them. These 6 studies are just that, with the additional reference to a "memorial" that will be constructed as part of the project. Are they bland? Given the context, I think so, but hopefully when an architect is selected to design the actual towers there's the opportunity for more creativity.

Oh, and I'm available if the LMDC or Larry Silverstein is interested.
posted by kpett at 4:16 PM on July 16, 2002


Naturally railing against the "architecture" of the buildings is vastly premature, for reasons noted above. The "rebuilders" won't be satisfied, because the Twin Towers concept is from another era, and even when it was built was seen as just right up to the limits -- maybe over -- of what could be constructed in that mode. The World Financial Center shows the lessons learned from that period, with lower, more varied massing and a more interesting, unpredictable mix of public uses. No, what's built will not seem as "bold", at this scale, but then nobody would build those towers new again anyway. They're gone; get over it.

I do suspect there will be an attempt to create an architectural whole, when the buildings themselves are designed -- it's all going to be done by the same supervising architectural firm, at least as indicated so far, and likely it will have a similar-but-different sibling look much like the WFC's buildings. It will still be a cohesive site.

I don't have a preference yet, perhaps for the less-cluttered memorial spaces -- but then I haven't seen all the materials and what's intended there.
posted by dhartung at 5:48 PM on July 16, 2002


A friend just sent me a pointer to an article about a design that includes a sonic ray-gun to counter air attacks. Interesting.
posted by vacapinta at 7:45 PM on July 16, 2002


when it is less expensive to do it another way and get the same amount of space

Because it's all about money, right?

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and trust that you didn't mean that quite the way it sounded.

And too few businesses, if any, will rent above 50 stories.

Balderdash. By the time it's built, if you price it right, you will have acceptable occupancy. That's just human nature.

The best compromise is to build something on the site that is utterly unremarkable and simply blends in and quickly goes unnoticed.

I believe the term for that is "being cowed." And it's more a capitulation than a compromise.
posted by rushmc at 8:31 PM on July 16, 2002


just a reminder - the WTO building was never fully occupied when it stood.
thanks beagle - that's the best suggestion i have heard so far, not so sure about the 'symbolic center of the world' bit. maybe it could become such a centre ('to stimulate people to think about how they are going to live together on this planet'), i would like to think so.
matteo, unless i am mistaken 'the great gatsby' is a kind of elegy for the 'american dream'.
posted by asok at 6:06 AM on July 17, 2002


Because it's all about money, right?

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and trust that you didn't mean that quite the way it sounded.


Well, thank you for that. Not sure how you took it to sound, but when it comes down to it, for the developers, it unfortunately will be a lot about money. It is pretty condescending to suggest that I think that it's all about the money, but you can't say that it won't be a big part of the equation.
posted by adampsyche at 6:12 AM on July 17, 2002


The Downtown We Don't Want
posted by muckster at 9:53 AM on July 17, 2002


There's, apparently a decent number of people who want the WTC rebuilt as before. To them I say as follows.

Great! 125 stories! And to assure no repeat terrorist performance, I have an idea: make the top 5 stories a mosque and/or engrave the side of the building with verses of the Koran.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:27 PM on July 19, 2002


Better yet, invade Saudi Arabia, and transport that whole sacred complex in Mecca to the foot of the new WTC. Yes, even better.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:28 PM on July 19, 2002


I can't believe no one sees the brilliance of the above ideas.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:42 PM on July 20, 2002


Apparently it is a crime under Islam to destroy anything with the name of Allah written on it. All building materials used in any replacement for the WTC should therefore be stamped with this name repeatedly. Wouldn't be a bad idea for all new construction to use this technique, and for some older buildings to be retrofitted with a few facade parts containing the name. At some point it will become impossible for Muslim terrorists to know which buildings contain the name and which do not, so they would have to refrain from destroying all buildings just in case.

This would make it impossible for Muslims to ever work in the demolition field ever again, but I suspect they're already having trouble finding employment in that line of work.
posted by kindall at 7:27 PM on July 20, 2002


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