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Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 18:07 GMT
World Trade Center architects aim high
Design for the World Trade Center by Think
This design by Think is among the contenders
New Yorkers have been presented with a new set of designs for redeveloping the site of the World Trade Center, five months after rejecting all six initial proposals.

COMPETING DESIGNS
Think
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Foster and Partners
Studio Daniel Libeskind
United Architects
Richard Meier, Peter Eisenman, Charles Gwathmey, and Steven Holl
Peterson/Littenberg Architecture and Urban Design LLP

Among the designs were plans that would allow New York to reclaim the title of home to the world's tallest building - currently held by Kuala Lumpur with the 452-metre (1,483-foot) Petronas Towers.

Prominent architects from around the world unveiled their designs during a three-hour televised presentation that begins a six-week consultation period.

"The plans presented today are imaginative, innovative and go far beyond anything we have seen to date," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Iconic skyline

A design presented by New York-based company Think was a structure 2,100 feet (640 metres) high, while Studio Daniel Libeskind's offering includes a towering spire of 533 metres called Gardens of the World.

Mr Libeskind said the building would restore a "spiritual peak" to the city, "creating an icon that speaks of our vitality in the face of danger and our optimism in the aftermath of tragedy".

British architect Norman Foster described his design as "a unique twinned tower" - an emblematic structure comprising two towers "that kiss and touch and become one".

"The iconic skyline must be reassembled," Lord Foster said, saying his design would be "the most secure, the greenest and the tallest in the world".

Rebirth

John Whitehead, who chairs the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation said the plans "present a dazzling diversity of geometric configurations, ranging from conventional building shapes to highly unorthodox structural forms".

Foster WTC design
Foster and Partners design would be the world's tallest building
He said the designs shared a common theme of rebirth and needed to transcend the present to speak to future generations about today's society and its spirit.

However, the height of some of the plans have surprised many observers.

BBC News Online's David Schepp in New York says New Yorkers believe the height of the original World Trade Center skyscrapers, about 420 metres, made them easy targets for the suicide attackers who brought them down with hijacked aircraft on 11 September 2001.

Every plan involves a victims' memorial, including one which sees it placed on top of one of the buildings and another that features a sunken garden.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), the agency charged with redeveloping the southern tip of Manhattan, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a regional transport agency, are working in tandem to redevelop the World Trade Center site.

The seven plans unveiled on Wednesday were selected from more than 400 submissions and represent architectural firms from New York and Los Angeles, as well as London, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Berlin.

First failure

When unveiled last July, the original six designs were universally condemned for their lack of imagination and their uniformity.

Previous designs
The first set of designs failed to inspire New Yorkers
The architects of the failed plans said they were constrained by requirements that all 11 million square feet of office space contained with the destroyed trade centre complex be replaced.

This time around, however, the requirements are more flexible, calling for between 585,000 and 900,000 square metres (6.5 million to 10 million square feet) of office space.

The fate of the footprint of the twin towers in each teams' plan is likely to be a highly charged issue.

Family members and survivors of victims of the attacks have called for the foundations of Towers 1 and 2 to be preserved as a memorial.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Stephen Evans
"They are not as stark as the previous buildings but tallness is back in fashion"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
One of the WTC designsRebuilding NY
What do you think of the new WTC designs?
See also:

18 Dec 02 | Americas
18 Dec 02 | Americas
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13 Nov 02 | Business
11 Mar 02 | Entertainment
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