Reader-submitted designs for the WTC
December 4, 2002 3:50 PM   Subscribe

Reader-submitted designs for the WTC I know I'm going to hell for saying this, but some of these are tremendously funny...
posted by oissubke (71 comments total)
Agreed that some of these are hilarious. My favorite so far:

"We already have hologram technology. Let's use it to honor our dead and show our resilience. "

[referring to two towers - both half steel, half hologram]
posted by buddha9090 at 3:54 PM on December 4, 2002

sorry, link should go here:
posted by buddha9090 at 3:56 PM on December 4, 2002

If you're going to hell, you'll meet me and a lot of other mefites there... many of these are side-splittingly funny.
posted by cadastral at 3:56 PM on December 4, 2002

If you're going to hell, some of the submitters are going to architectural limbo.

I like this one. It's so... blue..
posted by abez at 3:57 PM on December 4, 2002

"We already have hologram technology. Let's use it to honor our dead and show our resilience. "

Nothing says "resilience" like holograms.
posted by oissubke at 3:57 PM on December 4, 2002

Has anybody taken my idea of rebuilding the WTC as two giant missile silos (I'm talking Saturn V-sized nukes here) with the same dimensions as before? That would like, totally rule. Then, we can shoot them at bad people. Or Superman can take them and fly into space then throw them into the sun, because's he's really strong and a big dickhead.
posted by Stan Chin at 4:01 PM on December 4, 2002

this is my favorite so far
posted by dolface at 4:02 PM on December 4, 2002

'A reasonable size could be one mile high.'
Well, I suppose that's reasonable.
posted by saintsguy at 4:11 PM on December 4, 2002

I like to see people exercising their creativity, even when it takes them off the deep end. Very few of these are much worse than what I've seen the "professionals" offer forth thus far.

It's okay that some are silly.

I like #15 on this page.
posted by rushmc at 4:12 PM on December 4, 2002

For simplicity's sake, you gotta like the first one. Although who's gonna fall for the 'ole see-if-they'll-fly-into-the-big-windowed-fake-steel-building trick?
posted by samuelad at 4:12 PM on December 4, 2002

Hahaha. These are fantastic designs!

My idea is that they should be made of solid sheets of metal, with no foundation, but instead have a large ballast of sand in the bottom, so that if any planes hit it will just fall over and then spring right back up, like a clown punching bag.

You think it's heartless, I think it's funny!
posted by Hildago at 4:15 PM on December 4, 2002

I gotta agree rush, they're not all bad, and the funniest ones are often the most poigant in a folk-artsy sort of way. It's also sort of interesting in terms of sheer volume -- there are 110 pages of suggestions!

On the other hand... I just came across one which boasted a memorial laser / anti-aircraft beam.

Did any MeFites submit?
posted by condour75 at 4:22 PM on December 4, 2002

"My idea is for the new World Trade Center to look like a giant Domokun. Wait, no. I want it to look like Gumby taking a dump. Or a vagina! Yeah, an enormous vagina with an appropriately clever name!"

God and Baby Jesus help us all...

(Man, the goons from SomethingAwful need to get in on this...)
posted by Danelope at 4:41 PM on December 4, 2002

I'm not giving these people my secret WTC designs for free! They don't deserve to know about the mega-legos!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 4:43 PM on December 4, 2002

I was inspired to make my own and submit it.


We need two towers, right? Well, we can save some money by just making two Sears Towers like the ones in Chicago. They're bigger, anyway. Then we put a full size Eiffel Tower on top of one of them, just to make it extra fancy and taller... and the Eiffel Tower is very popular in France anyway... so imagine if it was in NYC and on top of a Sears Tower!

(it's hard to capture the ephemera of childish design, I'm sure that I've failed... give me odds on it being accepted)
posted by cadastral at 4:48 PM on December 4, 2002

I say that the day CNN gets my drawing for a 540 story building with a wrestling ring on the top of it is the day that I die!

posted by RobbieFal at 4:48 PM on December 4, 2002

luckily, XQ, none of these will be implemented. So it's mostly a harmless way for normal folk to vent, fantasize, etc. Just like paint-by-numbers, or karaoke, or make-your-own-sundae.

I do hope that whatever is built there is striking, appropriate, and better looking than the original. But in the meantime, smile and try to enjoy the laser turrets.
posted by condour75 at 4:49 PM on December 4, 2002

Say -- that's an awfully nice shade of blue they're using for the background of the thumbnails ....
posted by webmutant at 4:52 PM on December 4, 2002

Beaten to the punch, cadastral.
posted by Danelope at 4:54 PM on December 4, 2002


wow. Further proof that I don't have an original idea in my head.
posted by cadastral at 4:54 PM on December 4, 2002

The Tyrell building from Blade Runner...great idea XQUZYPHYR!
posted by modofo at 4:56 PM on December 4, 2002

I saw this a couple months ago. I gotta say, they're still incredibly funny albeit well-intentioned.

Here's my personal favorite:
“Here’s my idea: a large snow globe, so to speak, with a few of the iconic girders. Not all as represented have to be in there. On the anniversary, wind machines churn gray dust for two hours between 8:45 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. That night, great lights crisscross the wreckage just like they did on September 11 for the all-night rescue workers. No more than two acres should be used. At the base of the globe are seats and a small park surrounds it. Nothing monolithic. But the memorial is the image, and the bells-and-whistles once a year would be a great landmark celebration...”
--Alexandra Corbin in Poughquag, New York
...Uh, yeah. That's a wonderful use of the billions of dollars needed to restore WTC.

Looking back on all these crude designs shows an honest love for the country, but a severe lack of rational design skill. The result of these entries is a class of disturbing and violent towers that would be an affront to any city's skyline, let alone New York's.
posted by Down10 at 4:57 PM on December 4, 2002

It'd be a wonderful stroke of populist... irony, if the design for the new WTC was just selected randomly from this pool. A raffle, of sorts.

I'm all for that idea, come to think of it.
posted by cadastral at 5:06 PM on December 4, 2002

The rebuilding solution is as simple as two words: Jumbo Jimbos.
posted by aaronetc at 5:20 PM on December 4, 2002

I am feeling strangely inspired by Danelope's Domokun suggestion, and am having strange visuals of a giant, brown refrigerator with teeth in lower NYC.
posted by adampsyche at 5:20 PM on December 4, 2002

Works for me, cadastral. It'd be better than the uninspired bit of functionalia that they'll end up building there.
posted by rushmc at 5:23 PM on December 4, 2002

I'd like to see a 700 ft Godzilla, and I know I'm not alone.
posted by 2sheets at 5:30 PM on December 4, 2002

Ask Toyo first.
posted by riffola at 5:37 PM on December 4, 2002

remember folks , when you buy drugs , you help terrorists.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:46 PM on December 4, 2002

OK, these are all pretty funny and unrealistic. It strikes me as extremely strange that not one single good idea about what the hell to do with the WTC site has yet been submitted. Seriously, I haven't seen one. Is it really so hard? Aren't top men on the case? It would seem as though this distributed-architecture system that CNN has going would cough up something decent, but...for crying out loud. Someone come up with something! Something good, and proud, and artistic, and practical, and tasteful, a memorial too, that's not a target, that's economically and psychologically good for New York and America....

...maybe that's too much to ask.
posted by drinkcoffee at 5:48 PM on December 4, 2002

a soulfull tribute to a couple of soulless buildings.
should be a breeze.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:54 PM on December 4, 2002

The idea for two solid steel buildings takes the cake for best design, especially if they have the designer's comment etched in giant letters on their side: "Let's see you hit these ones!".
posted by dazed_one at 5:58 PM on December 4, 2002

eureka !!

rubber towers !!!
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:00 PM on December 4, 2002

confession , 12 noon tommorrow folks.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:00 PM on December 4, 2002

Being as the Sears Tower wasn't hit, this design will most likely prevent any future attacks on the WTC.

I guess he's joking?
posted by Wood at 6:11 PM on December 4, 2002

So far, #24 on this page is my favorite, just for the text:

"It's important to have a guard there, either a fireman or a policeman, to thank. And it is very important to have a place for dogs, since they played an important part in the rescue."

Maybe they'll draw straws at the station to see who gets to be on "Thanking Duty" down at the new towers.
posted by jennyb at 6:32 PM on December 4, 2002

Wait, wait. I have it!

Two towers. One is an actual office building of colossal proportion; the other is a holographic representation of the same. Both towers are built upon a slowly-rotating foundation (think "Space Needle" speed) The terrorists will never know which one is the actual tower! 50/50 chance of missing the building entirely!

Damn, I'm brilliant!
posted by Danelope at 6:43 PM on December 4, 2002

"In my proposal, we leave a small part of the towers missing. These missing parts remind future generations about the losses we suffered on 9/11."

I, personally, would've thought the Department of Homeland Security and the rights-removing effects of the PATRIOT Act would've been plenty. But that's just me.

I would like to see flowing water coming down the two triangle supports; this way if anything happened like this again, people could jump onto the fountain and slide to the bottom

Why hasn't this life-saving plan been implemented in every building over three stories?

The lights would change colors to represent the day's events.

Perfect! Red means a subway breakdown, green means a smog advisory, yellow means a skyrocketing murder rate, orange means a mugging in Central Park, and the default, blue, would indicate a traffic jam.

This is a heart-shaped building I call the Heart of America Memorial, HOAM = home.

Everything that's wrong with America... captured, in one sentence.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 6:45 PM on December 4, 2002

I wonder what Minoru Yamasaki would do?
posted by JohnR at 6:47 PM on December 4, 2002

How much harder (or easier) would this be if one tower had been left unharmed? It would still have been a tragedy. What would be a good idea then?
posted by tss at 7:10 PM on December 4, 2002

Number 4, "one defiantly large structure that pays tribute," also has a convenient hole in the middle for the planes to fly through.
posted by jennyb at 7:11 PM on December 4, 2002

I submit my World Trade Center idea!

The green is the fields of grass for the growth

the gray is the parking lot/memorial to the dead

the red is also a memorial to the dead

the two yellow spots are 77 story buildings

the green between those buildings is where they will smoke on their break time

apologies to Frank Zappa
posted by RobbieFal at 7:28 PM on December 4, 2002

(Man, the goons from SomethingAwful need to get in on this...)

Ask and ye shall receive
posted by guyincognito at 7:55 PM on December 4, 2002


It was there a second ago. Scroll down at your own risk to see the goonery
posted by guyincognito at 7:57 PM on December 4, 2002

I can't help but laugh at the SA criticiques of the buildings
posted by RobbieFal at 8:07 PM on December 4, 2002

I question the very same concept of rebuilding in that area. It may sound romantic, but why should I rebuild towers on blood and bones of the ones who died in in the towers, and why should I rebuild new towers that will be stuffed with more people that may be hit the very same way in future, even if we hope it will not happen again.

Remember people jumping from them ? So desperate they'd rather try jumping, knowing they were going to meet certain death, then be burned alive ? Remember all the people trapped there that had no way to safely escape from a building so tall no stair can be used and no helicopter can help evacuate in a short time ?

Why in the bloody hell should one want to do THE SAME error again ? It is so _obvious_ that escaping from a skyscraper is much harder then escaping from a normal building, but it took two planes to show some people that it's real, it happened.

Why should one want to concentrate so many people in such an easy target, when one can decentralize people : military knew that, remember internet was originally built by the military to withstand a nuclear attack ? They knew putting all the eggs in one basket in always dangerous. The attack on the Pentagon, imho, didn't even scratch but the surface American Military System.

How many more lifes are needed to learn a lesson ? Face it, it's not rethoric, it's reality.
posted by elpapacito at 8:22 PM on December 4, 2002

Unless I've been desensitized from nonstop media coverage after the event, if I remember correctly a very good percentage of people escaped from the skyscrapers.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:26 PM on December 4, 2002

There's some humourous reviews of selected designs at Something Awful.
posted by mckayc at 8:57 PM on December 4, 2002

Is it just me, or does design number 4 resemble a middle-finger salute?
posted by LinusMines at 9:05 PM on December 4, 2002

great link, great thread, great fun! thanks oissubke!
posted by quonsar at 9:27 PM on December 4, 2002

My design is, well, basically, we make a giant sphere. Because, as we all know, spheres are the most structurally sound object. The top half of the sphere is covered with gold and diamond tiles, to represent rebirth, and the cycle of nature. The bottom half is tiled with slates of ice, to represent the coldness of the rescue workers, who often worked late at night when it was cold. The ice slates are chilled by liquid nitrogen that runs down from the equatorial trench, which has an access port for maintenance. The structure would contain no doors, a safety feature I think will help people escape easier. The entire structure is held in place by three replicas of the twin towers, (or six towers if you want to be technical!!11) placed equidistant around the base, because as we all know triangles are the most structurally sound object. These towers would be made of glass, with a hollow tube inside which contains a giant fluorescent tube. These tubes would be over 20 stories tall and would continuously recite the names of all the people that died on september 11, in morse code. Every now and then we could play morse code adverts on it to recoup some of the construction costs. The top part of the sphere, or, "LifeBall" as I like to call it, would contain the worlds biggest helicopter pad, which contains a helicopter capable of carrying every single person inside the building in one trip, should the unthinkable happen. The top part of the sphere would also contain two airstrips, with four F-16's, two of which are constantly on patrol. In 10 degree increments around the equator there would be laser turrets, which are hidden by panels over the course of the day to help the structure blend in with the surroundings. The laser turrets would be capable of taking out any hijackers in a plane approaching the building with pinpoint accuracy and without putting any of the passengers in danger. The structure would also contain an underground escape tunnel, in case terrorists tried to enter the building.

Finally, the trees in the surrounding area would be arranged to spell out the names of everyone who died on september eleven. I like to call this, the garden of remember.

I drew a picture of what I plan the structure to look like:
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 11:06 PM on December 4, 2002

Dillon wins! That's it, it can't get any better.
posted by riffola at 11:59 PM on December 4, 2002


May have been satire
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 12:04 AM on December 5, 2002

Magnifique, Dillon!
posted by tommyc at 12:31 AM on December 5, 2002

listen dillon ....i got a whole buncha people from the rubber tree farms in whatchamacallit interested in my rubber towers proposal.......maybe if you drop your idea i can get them to stick a few bucks your way when the funds start rollin in......
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:29 AM on December 5, 2002

And it is very important to have a place for dogs, since they played an important part in the rescue."
posted by Fabulon7 at 5:50 AM on December 5, 2002

Damn, jennyb beat me to it. I must have missed her comment when reading through this. Apologies.
posted by Fabulon7 at 5:52 AM on December 5, 2002

The lights would change colors to represent the day's events.

Someone's been watching The Wiz.
posted by tolkhan at 5:56 AM on December 5, 2002

Oh, also: Why should one want to concentrate so many people in such an easy target,

No more cities!
posted by tolkhan at 5:58 AM on December 5, 2002

I just wanted to say this is the best MeFi thread I've read in a looooooong long time. Thanks everyone!
posted by mkultra at 6:50 AM on December 5, 2002

Does anyone know about progress for the real design?
posted by agregoli at 7:08 AM on December 5, 2002

XQUZYPHYR : You haven't managed to show why one should rebuild two towers there, what strict logic commands that one should make the same error twice.

Granted you could build one a graveyard and nobody would think twice because graveyard gives no profit at all, but then why build memorials and graveyards at all, given that they don't give profits ? You know that's irrational, if the only rationale you admit is profit one.

But the ultimate truth is that a somewhat important office building was destroyed... a new office building needs to be built

I don't see this need. But let's assume one badly needs new offices, why should I rebuild offices in towers, so unsafe and proven to be deadly unsafe ? That's patently absurd.

remnants of a potter's field for public executions in the pre and early post-Revolutionary days. I don't hear anyone whining about remembrance

Well the fact nobody or somebody whines it's only a pratical approach : nobody seems to care so let's do it. That proves only you're pragmatic

again realize that time will give precedence to the real needs of future generations after a current one is affected.

You seem to consider rebuilding as something that will give an advantage to future generations. It's probably true that they'll appreciate having all the building work done before they're even born. So why build something that has failed ? They'll not blame our will to give something to them, they'll blame our failure to understand towers are not safe enough.
posted by elpapacito at 7:51 AM on December 5, 2002

But let's assume one badly needs new offices, why should I rebuild offices in towers, so unsafe and proven to be deadly unsafe ?

Look, I'm not crazy about putting profit and office space over safety and dignified remembrance either, but what are you proposing? That we never build another tower in NYC? Oh, I know. Let's build a nice, low, four-story office building spread over several acres. Yup, that sounds safe.

And this trumps an awful lot of those designs.
posted by hippugeek at 8:30 AM on December 5, 2002

The pentagon is still a shape as well as a building, right?
posted by agregoli at 8:36 AM on December 5, 2002

As far as I know, agregoli. But the presence of that Sept 11 flag and remembrance ribbon flanking the site heading made me think the designer had more than geometry on her mind. Perhaps I should give the benefit of the doubt.
posted by hippugeek at 9:05 AM on December 5, 2002

I'm sure the stichery was suspect. I've just seen that shape used before for potholders.
posted by agregoli at 9:19 AM on December 5, 2002

hippugeek: oh come on ! You want to say nothing is _absolutely_ safe ? Thanks for rediscovering hot water ! But look ! One plane hit that nice(?) flat building and only the poor ones working on the levels hit by the plane were killed. The others escaped to safety. Try that on a tower.
posted by elpapacito at 11:12 AM on December 5, 2002

Why build anything at all? Why not just offer some nice parks instead?
posted by feelinglistless at 2:38 PM on December 5, 2002

In light of our new TIA overlords, I'm thinking a Giant Illuminated Pyramid. With anti-aircraft batteries.
posted by moonbiter at 5:30 PM on December 5, 2002

XQUZYPHYR: I concur that a number of events are unpredictable and that you just can't prevent them all, you'll be always taking some degree of risk, in any human activity.

You correctly point out that one should only build skyscrapers to save people from floodings. But you can prevent floodings, you also have a forewarning most of the times. It's not a largely predictable event , but you often have enuogh time to minimize the damage. Granted, sometimes a flooding or some other natural disaster don't give any forewarning and strike too quickly, but such events are rare.

For example, why do they keep on building in Tornado Alley ? Maybe they considered that the chances of a tornado hitting their homes is so little they can handle the risk. But as far as I know, you just need an underground basement to survive a tornado, even a room with concrete walls seems to be enough sometimes. ; you also often have a forewarning and a better forewarning system can be done. YOU HAVE TIME on your side.

Now apparently a lot of people survived the WTC disaster because the towers were good enough to sustain a considerable structural damage for some time, they had enough time to evacuate. But let's assume somebody does wrong calculations or some other damn terrorist decides to plant bomb in structurally strategical places : what you have is a tower full of people that doesn't know how to fly with very little if any forewarn of imminent disaster. You still want cry "mad" at one that doesn't give a shit about economic side of the issue ? Well teach him to fly.
posted by elpapacito at 6:53 PM on December 5, 2002

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