Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Culture: The World Trade Center II Design

Count me among the many who think that “Freedom Tower,” the proposed substitute for the destroyed World Trade Center complex is wanting in almost every respect. Ostensibly reaching 1,776 feet in height, a third of Freedom Tower is unoccupied. The productive spaces of the original structures are not restored. Instead of serving as a replacement for the World Trade Center, Freedom Tower is little more than a ghost of a building.

Unfortunately, I have not seen an alternative proposal that I found to be compelling. Every design I have reviewed seemed like a compromise to fear. Almost all evoked the feeling of a tomb, not a productive space.

That is, until now. The World Trade Center II Design by Kenneth Gardner and Herbert Belton restores the New York skyline with a new interpretation of Yamasaki Twin Towers design, with several enhancements and modifications over the originals. The effect of resorting the original shape and purpose of the twin towers is striking; it says we will have what we had before and we will have it better.

I think the effort by Gardner and Belton is laudable and I wish them every success. It will require significant political support to compel a change in plans for the World Trade Center site. I think it is a worthwhile goal though.

Anything less than what the World Trade Center site was before September 11th is a moral surrender to militant Islam. The new structure should be a defiant re-affirmation of who we are as a people and what the Trade Center was to New York. It’s time to write some letters to our elected officials.

Update: Here are some key adresses:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
Phone: 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)
Fax: (212) 788-2460

Governor George E. Pataki
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224
Phone: 518-474-8390

Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
One Liberty Plaza, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10006
Phone: (212) 962-2300
TTY Phone: (212) 962-0045
Fax: (212) 962-2431/33

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