The planning process has been surrounded by lofty, often sanctimonious rhetoric
June 3, 2005 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Why We Should Build Apartments at Ground Zero by Paul Goldberger:
In an ideal plan, most of Ground Zero would be devoted to housing, hotels, and retail space. Lower Manhattan currently has a range of housing options: the converted lofts of Tribeca, the converted office buildings of Wall Street, and the retro-style apartment complexes at Battery Park City. The one thing missing is experimental architecture. Ground Zero would be the perfect place for an inventive alternative to the prim, packaged urbanism of Battery Park City. [...] With several blocks to build on, Ground Zero provides an opportunity to think not in terms of single buildings that are stand-alone works of sculpture but of ensembles that fit together to make coherent streetscapes and complete neighborhoods – something modern architecture has rarely succeeded in doing, in New York or anywhere else.

Martin Filler in the NY Review of Books on books about the proposals for Ground Zero, including Goldberger's 2004 addition, Up from Zero:
Goldberger's establishment-friendly attitude toward architecture has always lacked a discernible moral center. Although here he displays less of the maddening equivocation that has been his most defining characteristic as a critic, the targets he picks are most often easy ones, and unlikely to bar him from the corridors of power.
posted by gramschmidt (13 comments total)
iraqi terrorist: american human shields?
posted by nervousfritz at 8:59 PM on June 3, 2005

As far as I understand it, I think this is a great idea. I've never lived in NYC, so there may be practical reasons why this wouldn't work, but I definitely get his drift. Fill the void with life, is what I think he's saying... I think that's exactly the right approach.
posted by BoringPostcards at 9:33 PM on June 3, 2005

I am a bit slow. What does your comment mean nervousfritz and how does it relate to the post?
posted by arse_hat at 9:48 PM on June 3, 2005

people won't want to live on top of what was a mass grave.
posted by amberglow at 9:50 PM on June 3, 2005

people won't want to live on top of what was a mass grave

Never apartment-hunted in Manhattan, have you, amberglow?
posted by QuietDesperation at 10:04 PM on June 3, 2005

There just aren't enough incredibly overpriced apartments in Manhattan. More must be built, or the terrorists have already won!
posted by clevershark at 11:12 PM on June 3, 2005

pretty much my whole life, Quiet. I stand by my statement. Even the offices they're planning will be hard to fill.

clevershark has got it about right.
posted by amberglow at 11:15 PM on June 3, 2005

Whether people actually want to live there or not is immaterial. There will be no shortage of people who will want the address. New York itself has enough millionaires and billionaires that the developers wouldn't have to worry about any of them going unsold.

Besides Ground Zero isn't a grave anyway... things have been cleaned up since the incident, or at least sufficiently so that thousands of people don't mind commuting through the site on a daily basis.
posted by clevershark at 11:25 PM on June 3, 2005

Did anyone actually read the first article? Central to Goldberger's argument is the notion that lower Manhattan doesn't need more office space:
The planned skyscraper, which will contain 2.6 million square feet of commercial office space, doesn’t have a single tenant – an unsurprising fact, since the demand for commercial office space in lower Manhattan is so small that it can barely be said to exist.


In addition to the FreedomTower, the master plan calls for four additional office towers – even though there are no prospective tenants for them, either.


What does seem risky is building office space. Not only does Larry Silverstein have to find tenants for the FreedomTower, if he builds it, but he also has to fill another building, across the street from Ground Zero, which he has already constructed: a seven-hundred-million-dollar glass tower built as a replacement for SevenWorldTradeCenter. That building, designed by David Childs, will be ready for occupancy next year. Predictably, it has no tenants.


Lower Manhattan hasn’t been a truly diverse neighborhood since the nineteenth century, when the city’s center of gravity began creeping uptown and office towers started surrounding TrinityChurch, crowding out residential life. Now that the cycle has reversed, the planning for Ground Zero seems frozen in the past. Surely, it would be better to knits its sixteen acres into the vibrant new fabric of downtown. building housing and architecturally adventurous mixed-use structures.
posted by gramschmidt at 2:55 AM on June 4, 2005

In reference to the Goldberger article- I can't really comment on his experiemental architecture angle, since I know next to nothing about architecture. However, one thing I do know is that lower Manhattan needs housing. Badly. Increasing supply could have the effect of driving down rent prices all over the city, which would be incredible.

This is a good idea.
posted by afroblanca at 6:48 AM on June 4, 2005

(experiemental = experimental)
posted by afroblanca at 6:49 AM on June 4, 2005

correct me if I'm wrong, but you wrote a post about someone who wrote about someone who wrote about buildings to put up on Ground Zero.

And then posted it to metafilter?
posted by delmoi at 7:21 PM on June 4, 2005

I was kind of partial to the Think team design myself, but I guess it would be a bit ridiculous. I have to agree though that this is an excellent idea. If there's one thing Manhattan needs, it's a new stadium... uh, I mean more housing.
posted by Astragalus at 8:29 PM on June 4, 2005

« Older A poignant book, tenderly written   |   The third of the "Big Three" Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments