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Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 21:48 GMT
Gaudi design proposed for WTC
Gaudi's New York design (second left) along with other tall world buildings
The plans (second left) may have been for the original WTC site
Architectural plans by the late Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi are to be submitted to an international memorial competition for redesigns of New York's former World Trade Center site.

Gaudi's New York design
The design's backers say a memorial could be included
Gaudi's 95-year-old plans, which were originally designs for a futuristic hotel about the same size as the Empire State building, will be entered into the competition this spring by a group of art historians, architects and enthusiasts of his work.

It has been said that the plans may well have been intended for the original site of the World Trade Center, although this cannot be verified.

Some say that the designs may solve the dispute between developers and relatives of those who died in the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001.

'Amazing'

Gaudi, born in 1852 and revered as one of Spain's most noted architects, is known for his inventive, flamboyant architecture which changed the face of Barcelona in the early 1900s. He died in 1926 after a street-car accident.

A lot of the other proposals are literal ego trips... but here is a way that everyone can be involved in a historical project from around the world

US architect Paul Laffoley
His design shows a curved cluster of steel and concrete towers at varying heights surrounding a central tower that would stand 1,048 feet (319 metres) tall.

Central to the design is a cathedral-style space about 400 feet (120 metres) high which originally would have honoured all the US presidents.

However, architects behind the submission have suggested that this space could instead be reserved for a memorial to those who died in the attacks.

Some New Yorkers have expressed approval of the drawings.

" [They are] absolutely amazing," said Jessica Pingatore.

"I think this city is beautiful and unique as it is, and with that it would just bring a new spirit."

'Historical project'

Nine proposed plans from seven architectural groups for the future of the site have already been put to the people of New York, however response was considerably muted.

One of the proposed designs for rebuilding the World Trade Center by Think
New Yorkers expressed concern at the height of other new designs

Many expressed dismay that the designs - from notable architects such as Norman Foster and Richard Meier - did not adequately commemorate the dead, while others expressed concern for safety at the immense height of some proposals.

Other, earlier, designs were dismissed for being unimaginative.

The rebuilding of the World Trade Center has polarised the city.

Some say that no development is appropriate as the area is a mass grave, while others advocate building an even taller tower as an act of defiance against terrorism.

US architect Paul Laffoley, who is spearheading the effort to have Gaudi's plans re-examined, said that using such aged plans would resolve the tension between the two groups.

"It's 77 years since Gaudi died - a lot of the other proposals are literal ego trips," he told the Associated Press news agency.

"But here is a way that everyone can be involved in a historical project from around the world."

What do you think of the Gaudi plans? Are they fitting designs for the World Trade Center site?

Your reaction


A bit kitschy, even if they once might have been considered forward-looking

Matthew Travisano, USA
I like the idea of someone of Gaudi's obvious ingenuity being considered. His work can be breathtaking. Yet his designs for an office tower seem a bit kitschy, even if they once might have been considered forward-looking. I just don't think another tall building is what we need. How about some open space, a plaza, or park. How about an amphitheatre or performance space? Enough office towers.
Matthew Travisano, USA

Simply the most elegant, futuristic, impressive, beautiful, conservative and creative design I have seen. It manages to find a balance between all the key elements that are to be met.
Yivan Alveo, Panama

I think the plans are perfect as they incorporate both a memorial portion and also an eye-catching and revolutionary architectural style as so much Gaudi's work has become known to have.
Brett Rusert, USA

By far the best WTC proposal I've seen

Susan, USA
Without a doubt this is by far the best WTC proposal I've seen. I love it! Many of the other ones are more than ego trips - they're plain ugly.
Susan, USA

If you have ever seen the Gaudi buildings in Barcelona you would support this project.
Peter Dean, Belgium

The Gaudi plan is an excellent one and I would support it 100%. A visit to Barcelona would convince anyone that his ideas are brilliant.
Bob Craig, New York, USA

This design really would make a great futuristic statement

Jeremy, USA
I am not the biggest fan of Gaudi and modern architectural styles, but anything too conventional really isn't going to make much of a statement. This design really would make a great futuristic statement.
Jeremy, USA

A fantastic idea! Surely this design has stood the test of time.
Bruce Gillespie, South Africa

Simply awesome! Just what New York needs to catapult it into the future! I say yes!
Denis Drew, USA

The WTC site deserves more than yesterday's leftovers, warmed up

Ashraf Mina, USA
The WTC site deserves more than yesterday's leftovers, warmed up. It deserves a reconstruction expressive of today's New York.
Ashraf Mina, USA

Frankly, they stink. The design is nauseating - what a far cry from the grace and beauty of the World Trade Center. I can't believe some architect would propose such a rubbish design to replace such a beautiful complex as the World Trade Towers.
Joe, USA

Gaudi designed the building 95 years ago for the future. Well, that "future" is now here. Let us seize the moment.
Benneth Eka, USA

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Lawrence Pollard
"The Gaudi proposal has no chance of being built"
World Trade Centre
Click here to see the designs
See also:

14 Jan 03 | Americas
13 Jan 03 | Americas
18 Dec 02 | Americas
12 Dec 02 | Americas
18 Dec 02 | Americas
21 Nov 02 | Americas
11 Mar 02 | Entertainment
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