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Official Freedom Tower Thread

Wendell FOX

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Architect Libeskind vows WTC rebuild will inspire


By Emma Thomasson

BERLIN, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Daniel Libeskind, the architect whose design won the competition for the redevelopment of "Ground Zero" in New York, said on Monday he was sure his vision would be realised despite wrangling over control of the site.

"The prospect is very, very good and there is a lot of commitment by everyone that this project will be implemented very closely to the model presented at the competition," he told journalists at his acclaimed Jewish Museum building in Berlin.

In February, New York officials chose Libeskind's design for a needle-shaped "Freedom Tower", 1,776 feet (541 metre) high to echo the year of U.S. Independence, for the site of the World Trade Center's twin towers destroyed on September 11, 2001.

But after months of feuding between Libeskind and site developer Larry Silverstein over the plans, another architect, David Childs, was made lead designer and project manager and Libeskind was relegated to "collaborating architect".

Silverstein wanted more office space than Libeskind's design envisaged and sources close to the developer said he was also worried the tall tower could not be evacuated easily. Libeskind said he would not compromise, but his design would evolve.

"There will be many new things that come into it... like a painting that starts as a sketch and as a first impression but then develops in time with all necessary detail," he told a news conference to mark the opening of a new exhibition of his work.


"What will come out of it is not a hodge-podge of eclectic mixtures and compromises but an evolution of a plan that was initially robust enough and strong enough and flexible enough to accommodate the evolving programme," he said.

"We will deliver to the public something the public expects: something fantastic, something inspiring, something which speaks about 9/11 and the heroes of the day, something which reasserts Manhattan as capital of the world and creativity."

Born in 1946 in Poland to Jews who survived the Holocaust in Soviet labour camps, Libeskind became a U.S. citizen in 1965 and spent most of his early career as an academic, teaching architecture rather than constructing buildings.

He shot to fame in 1989, when his controversial design for an aluminium-clad lightning bolt of a building was picked for Berlin's new Jewish Museum, only completed a decade later.

Hundreds of thousands visited the empty building before the museum's permanent exhibition opened two years ago. Since then, 1.4 million have flocked to the museum, and director Michael Blumenthal said many of them were drawn by Libeskind's design.

An accomplished accordion and piano player who initially studied music, Libeskind believes in architecture as art.

"I see in all the great buildings an effort to communicate across time, across the barriers of language in a kind of universal way something that is touching the soul and uplifting the heart," he said.

"Architecture as a constructive profession is something that is always about optimism. You can't build something if you don't believe in the future."

I certainly hope it will be, but the needle that Libeskind has now doesn't cut it, though plenty of adjustments are possible.

As today is the anniversary of Sept. 11 it's important to remember the happier days, and the fact that they'll likely never return...


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The tallest tower entitled the Freedom Tower is (which is being redesigned by Childs/Libeskind) said to be increased to 2100 ft/640 meters. Here's some new renderings, though note the tallest tower won't have the same design as shown, the new design will be released next month.





The visible height changes:





Updated ground site plans:






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The design is ok but its just too radical for New York's character. It just doesn't make the same kind of bold statement that the origional World Trade Center towers made. Ironically, the origional towers were simple box buildings versus the elaborate design of the new proposal. Maybe thats the problem with the new design, its too busy.

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Architects Release Revised WTC Tower Design


This is a view of the proposed Freedom Tower, center, by architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, as seen from the south, at the site of New York's former World Trade Center, released by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., in New York Friday.

By Glenn Thrush

Staff Writer

December 19, 2003, 6:23 PM EST

The Freedom Tower unveiled Friday would be among the world's tallest buildings and possibly the safest, but its architect can't guarantee the 1,776-foot Ground Zero landmark would be able to withstand another Sept. 11-type attack.

The twisting, tapered tower design presented to the public at lower Manhattan's Federal Hall is a unique hybrid of skyscraper and sky sculpture, a 70-story office building topped by an open-air lattice of cables and windmills. It is punctuated by a splinter-like spire.

Gov. George Pataki, who has overseen an often acrimonious design process, called the final product "a work of creative genius" that proves "freedom will always triumph over terror."

The building will have a variety of safety features absent from the doomed twin towers, including reinforced stairwells and more exits to make it "the safest building in the world," said David Childs, the project's lead architect.

Yet even with those improvements, Childs said he didn't know if the tower would be strong enough to survive an attack by a fuel-laden airliner, like the 737s that slammed into the Trade Center.

"It's hard to exactly say the level of security we'll have," he said. "We haven't done those analyses yet."

The project could be completed as early as the fall of 2008 at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion. It will be financed entirely by the site's leaseholder, Larry Silverstein, said Charles Gargano, vice-chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site.

Gargano said the Port Authority, whose headquarters were destroyed in the attacks, plans to occupy one-third of building's 2.6 million square feet, providing cash flow from the day the building opens.

Silverstein is locked in a bitter legal battle with insurance companies over payments for the towers. He said the insurers have already guaranteed him enough cash to build the tower but not enough for the four smaller buildings planned in phases over the next decade.

"The money for the Freedom Tower is in the bank," he told reporters.

The final design differs significantly from the proposal by architect Daniel Libeskind, who was chosen in February by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. Gone are Libeskind's jagged, asymmetrical corners and sky-level gardens, replaced by a sleek office tower topped by Childs' gymnasium of windmills and cables.

"I can't think of another building that's really like this one," said Ric Bell, president of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. "It's something different."

Highlights of the building include:

Structural support from two massive concrete supports that run the height of the building and a steel "diagrid" running outside the building, which allows it to maintain a twisted form.

A nest of trusses and cables located above occupied floors that will stabilize the building and create a design that echoes the Brooklyn Bridge.

Wind-harvesting turbines to generate 20 percent of the tower's electricity and to reduce gusts at ground level.

An observation deck and a new space for Windows on the World, the restaurant that used to occupy the top floors of the North Tower.

Extra-wide, reinforced staircases and "areas of refuge" on each floor to allow for speedy escape and rescue operations.

Dedicated stairs and elevators for firefighters, enhanced communication cables for rescue workers and a blast-resistant lobby.

The compromise on the design was brokered by Pataki last week, who mediated an intense, often testy, collaboration between Childs and Libeskind.

Childs, who was hired by Silverstein, is now the lead architect in the project

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The Tallest Building in the World: It's a Boast That Invites an Argument


December 20, 2003

It will certainly be the world's tallest cable-framed, open-air, windmill-filled, spire-studded superstructure, rising atop 70 stories of offices, restaurants, a broadcast center and an observation deck.

Whether that makes it the world's tallest building is another matter.

No fewer than a half-dozen times at the unveiling yesterday, the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site was called the world's tallest building.

But the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a recognized arbiter, has not yet ruled. And it may be a tough group to persuade.

That is because the Freedom Tower will be a hybrid structure with several pinnacles: the top of its enclosed, occupied space is to be at about 1,150 feet; the top of the superstructure at 1,500 feet; and the top of its slender spire at 1,776 feet.

In other words, about one-third of the Freedom Tower will be more of a structural framework than a habitable building.

"There are strong feelings on both sides of this," said Ron Klemencic, a structural engineer in Seattle and the chairman of the tall buildings council, which is affiliated with the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

"There's a camp that would say that since so much of the structure is not available to be occupied, it should not be considered the tallest building in the world," he said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

Strong feelings, indeed. One outspoken critic of the redevelopment at ground zero, John Lumea of the Phoenix Project, said, "The world's tallest building moniker is a shibboleth of feel-good boosterism perpetrated by rebuilding officials who have nothing else to offer the public but a P.R. campaign."

Never mind the Freedom Tower

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This is a building with a ghost for a top. It shows a certain cowardice IMHO. Be tough and build high, or be cautious and build low. Don't build low and call it high.
I agree 100%

So if I build a 2 story building and put a 1812 foot spire does that give me the worlds tallest title?

I think so.....at least according to the skyscrapers.com definition. According to them, a sprie is part of the structure of the building, and should therefore be counted in the height.

I still don't like the plan.....Foster's plan was much better, IMO. I could live with the plan as it is now, but I see much room for improvement.

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A couple of additional pics....


Associated Press

This is a computer generated view view of the proposed Freedom Tower by architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, as seen looking south with the Hudson River at right, released by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.


Architect Daniel Libeskind gestures while speaking in front of a model of the design for the Freedom Tower to be built on the World Trade Center site during an unveiling ceremony in Federal Hall, New York, Friday, Dec. 19, 2003. A new design for the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site slopes gracefully into a spire rising 1,776 feet, echoing the Statue of Liberty.


Architect David Childs, right, gestures while looking at a model of the design for the Freedom Tower to be built on the World Trade Center site during an unveiling ceremony in Federal Hall, New York. Looking on, from left, are New York Gov. George Pataki, architect Daniel Libeskind, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Larry Silverstein.

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I'm sorry but no I don't like it I don't think I will ever like it that building just doesn't look like it should be in NYC

Actually I don't think anyone really like the design....except for the architects, that is. I don't like it, nor have I talked to anyone else who likes it.

As far as not looking like it belongs in NYC...I think that might be part of the point. This tower is supposed to redefine the city & its image.

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