Lower Manattan Redevelopment
December 18, 2002 8:03 AM   Subscribe

WTC Redevelopment Today at 1pm EST, the 7 proposed new plans for redevelopment of the former World Trade Center site will be revealed. Currently, they're carrying the announcements of the new proposals (with architect descriptions of their projects) live on wnyc.org on the Brian Lehrer Show.
posted by callicles (30 comments total)
Hopefully these will be a little more interesting than the first set of proposals.....
posted by culpable at 8:20 AM on December 18, 2002

Hopefully these will be a little more interesting than the first set of proposals.....

And hopefully less interesting than the CNN amateur proposals. :-)
posted by oissubke at 9:10 AM on December 18, 2002

I think we should just build a big stable.

With ponies.

For the children.
posted by xmutex at 9:23 AM on December 18, 2002

Four of the plans proposed creating the tallest building in the world, topping Malaysia's 1,483-foot Petronas Twin Towers. One recommended a 2,100-foot skyscraper, while another called for a 1,776-foot tower topped with a spire. (From an NYT ARTICLE
Good. It is essential to Build up the skyline and spirit of NYC (particularly Lower Manhattan.) Yet it is also necessary to respect the wishes of the victims of the attack. I am anxious to see the proposal and how they fulfill both the commercial needs as well as the victims'.
Oissubke- hopefully... : )
posted by culpable at 9:24 AM on December 18, 2002

So I'm assuming these Cnn.com proposals are it, and I have been listening to WNYC, here are my initial reactions:

Proposal #1: Walt Disney Land of Tomorrow. May be different through a full realization, the model does not do it justice I assume, but as it stands now, it's really ugly. Nothing particularly remarkable about it either, other than the fact all the buildings are 'dented.' Where's the grandeur?

Proposal #2: That looks unnerving, as if it could topple on itself at any moment because it seems top-heavy

Proposal #3: Are you sure this isn't a mistake and was accidently taken from the CNN amateur proposals? What the hell is that supposed to be? Are we taking sports lingo to great new levels?


I can only assume that WTC7 is a large Foam Finger.

Proposal #4: That's really cool, and really appropriate. However, possible waste of resources. I could see where people would want all that office space back, but then I can also see that nobody would want to work there. So maybe this is one of the good ones.

Proposal #5: I can't tell a thing from this view. I need to examine a model. But right now it looks like somebody's trying to ripoff the Thundercats lair. I hope the top has a giant laser eyebeam to shoot down aircraft and to defeat the evil Mum-Ra.

Proposal #6 : Blah

Proposal #7 : NOW THAT IS COOL. But who the hell is going to pay for that monstrosity? I guess if we could have afforded to build the first WTC, we can do this. It's going to cast a shadow on a greater part of manhattan though.

I'll have a detailed smarty pants "I Study Architecture" review later on.
posted by Stan Chin at 10:16 AM on December 18, 2002

Oh, hey, the LMDC has much better pics, they're just hidden in the slideshow portion. I look like an idiot now. I take back what I said about the Thundercats lair, I'd have to put the United architects effort at the top right now.

That fucking Fence is still an abhorration though.
posted by Stan Chin at 10:26 AM on December 18, 2002

Bigass slideshows, no less. 55 slides and stuff.
posted by smackfu at 10:32 AM on December 18, 2002

Stan Chin - no need, thank you.

Just finished watching all the presentations on NY1, and I was surprised at how little ego was involved in the architects' presentations—they were informative, earnest and measured. Ideas discussed: the literal and metaphorical "lifting up" of public space; tectonic expression of what remains unexpressed about 9-11 (our need to reduce dependence on oil); and the hopeful nature of architecture itself.

Seems funny that there's so much emphasis on the Pit, although Daniel Liebskind's idea for it eventually won me over, with its lovely encapsulated roughness—very wabi-sabi. Seems like the Gregg Lynn idea, to put the memorial skyward, just seems like a more optimistic parti; less like walking into a grave.

It's like SOM just gave up at the end there - they only spoke for 5 minutes about their "Vertical City." That was kinda weird. It seemed like the least visionary of the bunch to me, which isn't surprising.

Oh! If only we could mix and match! Fingers crossed that they don't go for the 'cheapest solution,' eh?

Probably when the fervour dies down a bit you'll be able to get to , but their server seems a bit frazzled at the moment.
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:47 AM on December 18, 2002

The link in the FPP works fine, surprisingly -- better than the renewnyc one: www.lowermanhattan.info

I like the Daniel Liebskind design the best, but I think his team kind of cheated by designing in an awful lot of memorial, where the other candidates assumed that would be decided later. Gives it a bit more punch.
posted by smackfu at 10:58 AM on December 18, 2002

Sadly, none of these designs turn into giant robots to defend our city.
posted by mkultra at 11:53 AM on December 18, 2002

One could consider the events of 9/11 a chance to build something better than the original WTC buildings...

I know more then a few New Yorkers hated the buildings after they were first built...

there is only one design I don't like... but the others are rather nice. I especially like the idea of even taller towers.

Seems like we should build something better, not worse (like in the first set of designs months back.) in the old towers' place.
posted by LoopSouth at 12:28 PM on December 18, 2002

Why do so many of these feature twisty-bendy-dented buildings? I'd like something that doesn't look as if it's about to topple over, thank you very much.
posted by hippugeek at 12:45 PM on December 18, 2002

Good god, those are all *ugly* buildings.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:50 PM on December 18, 2002


Can we get over these flights of fancy already? The old design was great. Just rebuild 'em.
posted by oissubke at 1:18 PM on December 18, 2002

The old design was horrid.

Of the designs, I favor 1 and 7... though the memorial design in 1 (which I think is lovely and nuanced) somehow reminds me of the kaba. Hm... ironic association.
posted by silusGROK at 4:18 PM on December 18, 2002

Can we get over these flights of fancy already? The old design was great. Just rebuild 'em.

And, while we're at it, let's redouble our efforts on human cloning and reconstitute the people who were killed.

Can't be done? Then forget about it and choose something new and stirring that also incorporates a memorial element.

I think the fence is really hideous and the traditional towers are as bad as any of the first proposals, but the others range from serviceable to thrilling. We have plenty of ordinary skyscrapers in New York, thank you -- if we're going to put more at Ground Zero (which we should; we've lost a ton of office space) they should at least be visually different.

What troubles me, though, is what the Times architecture critic said about it:

Plans by seven teams were presented today. All but one of the teams was selected from a list prepared by an independent jury earlier this year. The exception — the New York office of Peterson Littenberg — is disturbing. Peterson Littenberg is the state agency's in-house planners. Its inclusion has put the other six teams in the strange position of competing against the agency that will be judging their work.

So the dullest design is coming out of the gate with a big advantage. That's just swell.
posted by Epenthesis at 4:32 PM on December 18, 2002

Yet it is also necessary to respect the wishes of the victims of the attack.

I'm unclear as to what you mean by this, but I think I think it's preposterous.

As for the designs, they seem much better than the first round but still a bit weak overall.
posted by rushmc at 4:45 PM on December 18, 2002

Maybe it's just me, but I'm for taking 200-300 feet off of the height of the Daniel Libeskind proposal, and building the thing. It is far and away the best design represented here.
posted by kickingtheground at 4:47 PM on December 18, 2002

Some people might be confused about the THINK Team design. It looks like they submitted three separate concepts. I only like one, the World Cultural Center (look here). The towers evoke the memory of the WTC, but at the same time, add something different.

I don't think putting a museum up so high is a great idea, though.
posted by lalas at 4:57 PM on December 18, 2002

i like the tic-tac-toe one and the three towers :D an elevated 16-acre park!
posted by kliuless at 5:02 PM on December 18, 2002

Architectural design and materials have evolved by leaps and bounds since the original twin towers were constructed, and even then they weren't using everything they could -- they were simply looking for cheap and big. I think New York should try and reclaim the throne as Greatest City on earth by taking some damned risks with the design of its buildings. I for one am tired of showing people around my city and having only two buildings to show them (the Empire State Building, which is actually rather bland, and the beautiful Chrysler building). Shit, Chicago's got better architecture then NYC. Around the world, I'd say Hong Kong's got us beat for futuristic design. Let's show the world we've still got some balls by grabbing ours and building something cool, for fuck's sake.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:50 PM on December 18, 2002

I agree, Civil_Disobedient, but the problem with risk-taking is that it's, well, risky. We might get something incredible, and we might get something that will be embarassingly dated 25 years from now (and if there's one thing you want a memorial to do, it's stand the test of time in a dignified manner). I think most of these designs lean toward the latter.
posted by hippugeek at 7:30 PM on December 18, 2002

I for one am tired of showing people around my city and having only two buildings to show them.

Are we talking about the same New York? Norval White lists 5,000 buildings worth looking at.
posted by muckster at 10:27 PM on December 18, 2002

I think that if anything's embarrassing, it would be the decision to put an ordinary building in one of the most important lots of real estate to become available in human history.

We will almost certainly be ashamed of ourselves in twenty years if we decide to put something dull and safe in the WTC lot. We may or may not regret the decision to put something innovative there.

As Sondheim said in Sunday in the Park with George: "The choice may have been mistaken; the choosing was not."
posted by Epenthesis at 2:11 AM on December 19, 2002

Of the designs, I favor 1 and 7...

Do you seriously think that this or this wouldn't be a cheesy-looking eyesore fifty years from now?
posted by Erasmus at 8:59 AM on December 19, 2002

Ahem... erasmus, I said "of the designs".

I think a lot of these designs have a high eyesore quotient... but if we're stuck with these alone, I favor one and seven.

One, however, would be much nicer if it were 300 feet shorter.
posted by silusGROK at 10:42 AM on December 19, 2002

By "300 feet shorter," I assume you mean "500 feet higher"...
posted by rushmc at 10:05 PM on December 19, 2002

It's intersting how two famous unbuilt skyscrapers keep showing up.
posted by Dick Paris at 1:38 AM on December 20, 2002

The best thing which can be said about the Richard Meier & Partners Architects tic tac toe building is that in one of the photos, it doesn't look as bad as it does in the others.

Of the two THINK proposals, one looks like, as was said in the NYPost yesterday, an adaptation of the Elmhurst gas tanks (write to me if you don't get that), and the other looks like Modern architecture even more fragile than the original WTC. The Plaza they offer isn't bad.

Studio Daniel Libeskind: Building seems realistic-interestiing; the plaza is emotionally cold.

United Architects: less grotesque than the other grotesques, but still not welcoming.

Peterson/Littenberg: the buildings actually strike me as viable and not offensive. I like the garden.

SOM, SANAA, Michael Maltzan: Very ominous building (at least in the photo provided), but I'm not sure the rendering does the idea justice. As for the inside plaza, it's interesting in that it evokes features of the original WTC, including the large amount of light in the lobby and the escalators, but its too cold a space; feels too much like an airport; too much unbroken space inside is not desirable.

Foster and Partners: while, perhaps impressive from an engineering persepective, it's basically, GROTESQUE. Their plaza is...ok.

So: for buildings: Studio Daniel Libeskind:, and Peterson/Littenberg. For gardens/plazas: THINK or Foster & Partners.

The bigger issue is WHO WOULD WANT TO WORK IN ANY OF THESE BUILDINGS?! The two I like are the most attractive for that reason as well.

I would prefer that the site lie fallow, or be only a memorial. Most of the financial district/lower manhattan is a planning/architectural DISASTER: if you want to build a new WTC, put it somewhere else down there.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:49 AM on December 20, 2002

You like red; I like yellow; he likes flash; she likes xhtml. The frustrating fact about this whole conversation is that none of us has really studied the plans closely enough to make an informed decision or an intelligent critique.
posted by DenOfSizer at 8:28 AM on January 3, 2003

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