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Last Updated: Friday, 19 December, 2003, 15:45 GMT
Freedom Tower plan for WTC site
The new design comes after months of wrangling

A new design for the building complex to replace the World Trade Center has been unveiled in New York.

New York Governor George Pataki said the cornerstone of the design, the Freedom Tower, would be a "soaring tribute" to the "heroes we lost".

The design follows months of feuding between the winner of the original design competition and the leaseholder of the WTC site.

Nearly 3,000 people died in the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

The design for the 16-acre site is a compromise between architects Daniel Libeskind - who won the competition - and David Childs, who was appointed by the leaseholder of the WTC, controversial property developer Larry Silverstein.

'New icon'

At the heart of the new design is the Freedom Tower which the architects said would be the world's tallest building.

As originally proposed by Mr Libeskind, it will be 1776 feet (541.4 metres) tall, to commemorate the date of the declaration of independence from Britain.

Daniel Libeskind's original WTC design

Mr Childs has revised the design to include an unoccupied section at the top, housing broadcast antennae and windmills - which he said could generate 20% of the building's energy.

At the unveiling the new design on Friday, Mr Childs said the tower must be "simple and pure in its form, a memorable form that will reclaim the resilience and the spirit of our democracy".

Mr Silverstein had brought in the second team of architects, having complained there was not enough office space in Mr Libeskind's winning design.

At the launch on Friday, Mr Silverstein said the building would be a "new icon of the New York skyline".

But he also said the new design was "practical" and one that "would work".

The new building is to have 70 storeys of office space, funded using insurance payments from the Twin Towers. There will be restaurants on the 71st and 72nd floors and a viewing platform on the 73rd.

The BBC's Jane Standley in New York says the public rows and the amendment of the design which won the international competition to rebuild the WTC have left many New Yorkers disillusioned with the project.

She says they are asking why there was ever a design competition in the first place.

All concerned in the development of the World Trade Center site are calling the latest design the result of not a row but of a "spirited effort" between the two teams of architects.

Mr Libeskind, who designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin has described his collaboration with Childs as a "forced marriage", but it was all smiles at the news conference.

Several safety features have been included in the design, such as separate staircases for firefighters and blast-resistant glaze on the lobby glass.

The BBC's Jane Standley
"The spire is intended to echo the graceful lines of the Statue of Liberty"

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24 Apr 03  |  Americas

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