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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 00:53 GMT 01:53 UK
New Ground Zero designs unveiled
Artist's impression of the three remaining towers propsed for the WTC site
Plans for the World Trade Center site are now complete

Plans for three new skyscrapers to sit alongside Freedom Tower on the site of the World Trade Center in New York have been unveiled by architects.

The towers will descend in height in a semicircle around the memorial to the victims of the 11 September attacks.

The designs complete plans for Ground Zero, where the showpiece Freedom Tower is already under construction.

But five years on, frustration is growing over the lack of actual rebuilding work, correspondents say.

British architects Norman Foster and Richard Rogers have each designed one of the new towers, as has Fumihiko Maki of Japan.

Each building will be covered in glass and the tallest will stand as high as the city's iconic Empire State Building.

Former glory

Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a news conference in New York that the new skyline would "restore the splendour of our city's historic birthplace".

New York's governor looks at designs for three new skyscrapers
Plans for the World Trade Center site are now complete

"These are some of the most stunning buildings you will see anywhere in the world," said New York Governor George Pataki.

"It does respect the sanctity of this entire site," he added.

Lord Rogers said that he hoped people would come to the site to think of the past, but, more importantly, to "dream of the future".

Construction work on the new towers is expected to begin in 2007 or 2008.

Design features

The tallest of the skyscrapers, and the last to be built, will be topped by four diamonds that will point towards the memorial park from any vantage point in the city, architects say.

Designed by Lord Foster, the diamonds will light up lower Manhattan at night.

Lord Rogers's building will be more slender and designs show it featuring four 100ft (30m) spires - one at each corner.

Fumihiko Maki's minimalist fourth tower will be covered in perforated aluminium, making it the lightest of the skyscrapers, according to its designer.

The landmark buildings are intended to complement Freedom Tower - which at 1,776ft (541m) is set to become the tallest building in the United States.

All building work on the site is due to be completed by 2012.

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