New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ground Zero

People always ask me about progress at the site of the former World Trade Center - here is Ground Zero in its current state. Mired in controversy since day one, the project is finally underway - steel should be rising above street level this year, 2008, seven years after 9/11 with occupancy anticipated in 2011. One tower or two?, taller than the World Trade center?, how tall?, how much a part should the memorial play? Freedom Tower? are among the questions which dragged the process down. Of course the design itself, won by Daniel Liebskind, has been the largest struggle. I originally saw the design competition presentations at the World Financial Center and went to a number of presentations. There were several extremely innovative designs by some of the top firms - I remember one design which called for floors of interior gardens.
However, there have been many individuals and organizations with various controlling interests in this process: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who own the right to develop the site, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation who ran the design competition, Larry Silverstein who had signed a 99-year lease for the World Trade Center site in July 2001, architects Daniel Liebskind and David Childs. The original plans by Daniel Liebskind saw many changes and now, David Childs (one of Silverstein's favored architects) is in charge of the Freedom Tower's design.
In its final incarnation, the tower will rise from a cubic base with tapered chamfered edges, forming a tall antiprism with eight isosceles triangles, forming a perfect octagon at its center. It will be capped with an illuminated spire containing an antenna. The total height will be 1776 feet (marking the year of the signing of the American Declaration of Independence).
The name of the building itself has come into severe criticism - a number of articles have said the design is defined more by fear than by freedom - some have called it the Fear Tower. Understandably, many of the structural design considerations have been built around possible future terrorist attacks. In an article entitled Medieval Modern: Design Strikes a Defensive Posture by Nicolai Ouroussoff, architecture critic for the NY Times, Nicolai says: "The most chilling example of the new medievalism is New York’s Freedom Tower, which was once touted as a symbol of enlightenment. Designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, it rests on a 20-story, windowless fortified concrete base decorated in prismatic glass panels in a grotesque attempt to disguise its underlying paranoia."


Lucy said...

Good dramatic photo at night -- they seem to be working there round the clock.
Amazing how all of NYC bounced back so fast, even the nearby areas to that site.
That area and the very near environs tho still seem very empty.

marley said...

Thanks for this post. I too have often wondered how working on rebuilding the area was going. It is hard to imagine what the finished tower will look like or even if it was the right idea for ground zero. We'll all have to wait and see.

Pat said...

Thanks so much! It's great to read about the progress and what's happening on the site.


Guelph Daily Photo, Pat's Photo-a-Day

Anonymous said...

I agree about the poor design of the Freedom Tower.
The four initial designs, presented just a few months after 9/11, were all much superior. Too bad they were rejected on the spot, for emotional reasons (cause no tower design can be good enough to make 9/11 worthy).

Anonymous said...

The building is indeed controversial, and with the bunker it is a monument to Al Qaeda.

In 2006, Eliot Spitzer (now the governor) called the rebuilding process an "Enron-style debacle." The process and these buildings are a result of a massive scandal that is costing taxpayers.

The NY government has continued to deny the public what belongs there: rebuilt Twin Towers. They have been making sure Al Qaeda's deed is complete and that an international symbol never rises again.

We must turn things around and rebuild the Twin Towers while we still can. Otherwise, we should pardon the terrorists and allow Osama bin Laden to decide how we live.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I love your website. Can you please tell me exactly where Ground Zero is? We were in the city in Dec. and wanted to drive by it. I mean, at what streets does it intersect (roughly). Thanks!

Outerbankschick said...

Sorry guys, have to disagree on NYC bouncing back "fast". Although it's not completely the city's fault either...but...bear with me here...

*Fast* would have been construction beginning within a few months of the final cleanup being finished. And IMO, a true sign of the "bounce back" would have been *two* buildings, with the obvious design flaws corrected, but the the exact same facade as the fallen towers. Or if not the same facade, at the very least *two* towers.

Thanks for posting this pic. We need to remember who we are...and that we don't back down and snivel and cry when we're punched in the face. We punch back. Let's get this tower spearing into the sky ASAP!