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Libeskind WTC Plan Officially Chosen

  • Subject: [cg] Libeskind WTC Plan Officially Chosen
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 11:08:31 -0800 (PST)

From: Adam Honigman

You can't make this kind of stuff up. While I like the garden part, to be perfectly frank, I find the design to be unattractive.  Technically, I think the garden may be very hard to pull off, but time will tell. Maybe some of the professional planne

Libeskind WTC Plan Officially Chosen 

By Amanda Y. Barrett and Katia Hetter

February 27, 2003, 12:40 PM EST

Saying the plan would "bring back the life to lower Manhattan," Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg today announced the selection of architect Daniel Libeskind's soaring garden in the sky and memorial as the design for the World Trade Center site.

"It would restore lower Manhattan to its rightful place in the world," said Bloomberg in a news conference announcing the decision.

Libeskind's plan includes sloping, angular towers with a 1,776-foot airy spire jutting into the skyline. It also preserves part of the sunken pit that was the foundation of the original 1,350-foot twin towers, where he imagines space for a museum and a memorial to the nearly 2,800 victims who died there on Sept. 11, 2001.

Pataki termed the Libeskind plan "truly an emotional protection of the site of ground zero itself" which also "brings back the life to lower Manhattan that is so important to our future."

A committee of politicians and rebuilding officials picked the design last night for the 16-acre World Trade Center site in less than two hours, sources said. The decision was unanimous, a source said.

"It was born out of tragedy, but it was forged in democracy," said Pataki, who hailed the public comment and input from architects and planners around the world.

Libeskind, a Polish Jew who immigrated to the Bronx as a teenager, beat a team of architects called THINK, which proposed two latticed towers containing cultural and memorial space.

Bloomberg said Libeskind's plan fit the three main goals of the rebuilding project: to poignantly recall what happened on 9/11, to remake the area as a center of global culture and commerce and to integrate it into a revitalized lower Manhattan.

John Whitehead, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., praised the way Libeskind's plan aim to create a bustling, vibrant streetscape around the site, complete with a five-star hotel, a transportation hub, a memorial museum and cultural spots.

"There is still a long road ahead of us and with the studio of Daniel Libeskind, we have the best map to start the journey," said John Whitehead, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

He also mentioned a space designed to capture a wedge of sunlight each year on Sept. 11, from the time that the first plane hit until the time the last tower fell.

With a separate competition for a memorial design scheduled to begin this spring, Whitehead said Libeskind's plan allows space for a memorial without significant restraints.

"The plan succeeds both when it rises into the sky and when it descends into the ground," Whitehead said. "In doing so, it captures the soaring optimism of our city and honors the eternal spirit of our fallen heroes."

But what drew the most attention was the spire, which will be filled with greenery.

While Pataki termed it "inspiring," Bloomberg said it "is guaranteed to become an internationally recognized icon for our city."

A glowing Libeskind called his selection "a tremendously proud and moving moment." He said he was looking forward to restoring the city's skyline.

"It was what America stood for," he said. "It was what the freedom of America stood for."

Almost from the moment it was unveiled in December, Libeskind's plan found favor with some influential family members of attack victims for its use of the slurry protective wall as a memorial, its "wedge of light" and other details that pay tribute to the nearly 2,800 lives lost on Sept. 11.

Lee Ielpi, a retired city firefighter who lost his firefighter son in the disaster, said yesterday the selection was "wonderful" if the plan is not changed.

"The Coalition of 9/11 Families has been looking at the Libeskind plan since the beginning," he said. "We have somewhat endorsed it because it encompasses the bathtub slurry wall down to the bedrock. That area is sacred and hallowed ground and we want a memorial there."

The ad-hoc committee representing the state, city, Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and Port Authority chose Libeskind last night, overruling a site-planning committee that on Tuesday had favored THINK's plan.

"Since 9/11, I've dedicated my life to helping our city, our country and the families. I'm honored to have participated in this extraordinary process ...and I will continue to help in any way I am called upon," said Frederic Schwartz, one of THINK's principal architects.

Libeskind and the THINK team - led by Rafael Vinoly, Frederic Schwartz, Ken Smith and Shigeru Ban - were selected earlier this month from seven teams of renowned architects.

Libeskind lives in Berlin with his wife and partner, Nina, but they plan to move to New York City in May. Their staff will follow them in September. He is known for his design of the Jewish Museum in Berlin. 

Copyright (c) 2003, Newsday, Inc. 


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