Page N2.1 . 03 October 2001                     
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    Rebuilding in New York

    by Tess Taylor

    It has been just over two weeks since terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center led to the collapse of the landmark twin towers. To varying degrees, and for those who can manage it, the routines of Manhattan have restarted. The city, in its myriad ways, is going about the work of going back to work.

    While chain link fencing keeps casual onlookers from a close-up view, the enormous absence is visible from miles away. Stripped of its minimalist, sculptural figurehead, the prow of Manhattan seems to disappear, rather than loom, in the distance.

    Meanwhile, the city's public spaces commemorate a multitude of private absences and griefs. Collections of flowers, candles, and handwritten notes wait at corner kiosks and subway stations.

    However, most New Yorkers are more-or-less ready to fulfill the promise that Mayor Rudolph Giuliani offered on the day of the crisis: "We will rebuild: We're going to come out of this stronger than before, politically stronger, economically stronger. The skyline will be made whole again."

    The Rebuilding Debate

    But what should rebuilding mean? As discussions begin, they, like the practice of architecture itself, waver between the need for structural concern and the hunger for poetic gesture.

    There is no shortage of opinions about how to fill the site. One might in fact make two small towers of the opinions in favor of and opposed to the rough idea of "rebuilding."

     

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    ArchWeek Image

    The World Trade Center as seen from the Hudson river before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.
    Photo: Great Buildings Photo by Greenstreet

    ArchWeek Image

    Impromptu offerings of candles, flowers, and notes are scattered throughout lower Manhattan in memory of those lost on September 11.
    Photo: Courtesy Tess Taylor

     

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