Dear ArchitectureWeek Readers,
The new tower named 1 WTC, designed by David Childs of SOM, rises gradually above the vast site where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood together. Photo: Michael J. Crosbie
NOTES FROM MANHATTAN: HIGH LINE TO WTC
by Michael J. Crosbie
New York on the cusp of fall: the light has that very
yellowy tint that only happens this time of year, and
the air seems clear as crystal. A quick jaunt around
Manhattan Island — literally one afternoon, just
before the tenth anniversary of September 11th —
reveals new, continuing, and still-becoming works of
The best news of the summer is the continuation and
extension of the High Line. Built upon the carcass of an
abandoned elevated rail line from the 1930s that served
a thriving meatpacking industry on Manhattan's west
side, the High Line has been reborn as an urban park
with lush green grasses, wildflowers, benches, city
outlooks, and places to lounge.
Last summer, ArchitectureWeek editor David Owen paid a
visit to the first section of the High Line, which
opened in June 2009, and which runs along 10th Avenue
from just north of 20th Street down to just south of
12th Street. This June, a new section opened all the way
to 30th Street. (A third stretch, pending development,
would take the High Line to 34th Street.)
The High Line design is a collaboration among landscape
architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field
Operations (project lead), architect Diller Scofidio +
Renfro, and planting designer Piet Oudolf.
The main boom lies bent and broken after a 500-ton hydraulic crane toppled at the National Cathedral on Wednesday. Photo: Kevin Matthews/ ArtificeImages
Crane Collapse Shifts Memorial Events Title
by Kevin Matthews
Around 11 o'clock on the morning of Wednesday, September
7, in Washington, D.C., a 400-foot-tall, 500-ton
Liebherr crane collapsed in a thunderstorm wind gust at
the National Cathedral. The crane had been working on
securing the building after recent earthquake damage, in
anticipation of 9/11 memorial observances slated
to include President Obama this Sunday, September 11.
Setting down a 40-foot I-beam at the top of the cathedral that morning, the crane operator started to swing the crane away from the cathedral as the wind gusted up, according to workers on the site. The crane toppled full-length along South Road, flanking and parallel to the cathedral building, just clipping the historic Herb Cottage. Apparently no one was seriously hurt.
The accident took place in a context of urgency to complete work in time for high-profile national events, conflicting with an extended spate of stormy weather, with thunderstorms for days since Hurricane Irene.
As a result of the crane collapse, Friday and Sunday events commemorating the 9/11 disasters have been moved from the National Cathedral to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, also in Washington, D.C.
The World Trade Center site in June, 2010. The 9/11 Memorial is taking shape in the center, and One World Trade Center, to the right, has reached about 25 floors. Photo: Courtesy of Port Authority of NY & NJ
Engineering Ground Zero on PBS Title
by Kevin Matthews
The PBS series Nova premiered a powerful show on
Wednesday, September 7, 2011, about the reconstruction
work currently underway at the site of the World Trade
"Engineering Ground Zero" is available now as streaming video on the PBS web site. And it will be rebroadcast by many public television stations across the United States (check local listings).
I had a chance to view a pre-distribution edit of the show, and it's well worth watching for just about anyone interested in architecture, construction, and/or the process of rebuilding from the World Trade Center disaster.
Of course, the show is aimed at the overall Nova audience, which is taken to be technically interested, but not assumed to be knowledgeable. Seasoned professionals may not learn much from seeing a concrete slump test, recycled steel rolling, and glass manufacturing.
Even among professionals, however, not many of us get to see those things every day. The compact, intensified story of some of the key materials and methods for building 1 WTC and the 9/11 Memorial is exciting. >>>
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Classic Home 071 — Howard House, by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects
"This four-bedroom, two-bathroom coastal house near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada sits alongside a small cove, less than 10 feet (3 meters) from the shore. Measuring 12 x 110 feet (3.7 x 33.5 meters) and finished in corrugated metal siding, this house has been mistaken for one of the many boatsheds that dot the local coastline.
"The main living spaces are on the middle of three floors, with an entry and covered breezeway to the north serving as a transition between the living area and the garage. Large sliding barn doors can be used to enclose the breezeway during inclement weather. The living room lies at the southern end of the house and opens onto a partly cantilevered patio. The three walls at the end of the living room are glazed to provide an impressive, wide angle view of the coastline and sea...
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