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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 16:55 GMT
Berlin architect to rebuild WTC site
A complex of angular towers and a spire that would be among the world's tallest structures has been officially selected as the design for the World Trade Center site in New York.

Berlin-based architect Daniel Libeskind's project is centred around the excavated pit of the former World Trade Center.

Daniel Libeskind's proposal for the World Trade Center site

The plan features a 541-metre (1,776-foot) spire, topped with gardens.

It beat the other finalist team, led by New York-based architects Rafael Vinoly and Frederic Schwartz, which proposed two decorative steel towers in memory of the twin towers destroyed in the 11 September 2001 hijacked plane attacks.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the winning plan would restore "lower Manhattan to its rightful place in the world".

Governor George Pataki described the Mr Libeskind's plan as a "truly emotional protection of the site of Ground Zero itself".

A shortlist of international architects was drawn up after the original designs were criticised for being uninspiring. The choice was finally narrowed down to two teams.

Mr Libeskind, who designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin, would like to keep much of the gaping hole left at the World Trade Center site for space for an eventual memorial.

The specific design of the memorial is expected to be chosen later this year in a separate competition.

Born: Poland, 1956
Career: Lecturer in architectural theory at Cranbrook academy, Harvard and UCLA
Notable work: Jewish museum, Berlin, Imperial war museum, Manchester

Even though the Libeskind design has been selected, officials say there will be more debate and refinement of the plan.

But the BBC's Emma Simpson in New York says money and commercial pressures are likely to have an influence what is eventually built on the site.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), which made the decision on the designs along with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said last year that construction work at the site would not start until 2005 at the earliest.

The question of what to do with the 16-acre (6.4 hectare) site in lower Manhattan remains a controversial one, with opinion differing wildly.

Many New Yorkers believe no development is appropriate as the area is a mass grave.

Others have advocated building a tower even taller than the original 411 metres (1,350 feet) towers, as an act of defiance against terrorism.

The BBC's Stephen Evans
"The interest groups are all ready gathering to argue"

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