Page N1.1 . 05 March 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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Libeskind Scheme Chosen for WTC

by B.J. Novitski

On February 27, 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) selected Studio Daniel Libeskind and their widely-applauded design to guide the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site in New York. The "Memory Foundations" submission by the Polish-American architect emerged from a competition lasting many months, involving some of the best known architects in the world, and inspiring a lively, often rancorous, public debate. Although the debating is far from over, there now appears to be a framework from which to develop a long-term reconstruction plan.

Libeskind's original design, unveiled in December, 2002 along with schemes from six competing teams, included several distinctive features. He proposed a glass tower topped by an antenna to reach 1,776-feet (541 meters) in height, that number a tribute to the year of the United States Declaration of Independence. If built, the tower would be the world's tallest building.

His original proposal also included a sunken memorial garden that would leave open the "footprints" of the two fallen towers and leave exposed the concrete "slurry wall" which was built from street level down 70 feet (21 meters) to bedrock during construction of the World Trade Center. This exposed basement wall is now an inspiration to visitors and a symbol of endurance to the families of victims.

The combination of tall buildings and sunken memorial anchors Libeskind's solution to the contradictory desires expressed by the public to build high to symbolize resilience and to leave the excavated site as is, to preserve the memory of the many dead who were found there. Libeskind's site plan is intentionally light on detail for the 4.7-acre (1.9-hectare) memorial site, which will be the subject of a separate international competition in the near future.

A third feature of interest is the "Wedge of Light," a plaza which has been calculated to be unshaded by adjacent buildings every year on September 11 between 8:46 a.m., when the first airplane hit, and 10:28 a.m., when the second tower collapsed. Here, Libeskind says, "the sun will shine without shadow, in perpetual tribute to altruism and courage."   >>>

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A glass tower design by Studio Daniel Libeskind has been selected to guide the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site in New York.
Image: Studio Daniel Libeskind

ArchWeek Image

A sunken memorial garden will leave open the "footprints" of the fallen towers and show part of the slurry wall.
Image: Studio Daniel Libeskind


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