trade center site, new buildings
A magazine called Metropolis (which looks interesting -- urban design sorts of things) has an article this month entitled Ground Zero's Saving Grace, about the small, small shreds of hope that the new construction at the WTC site may actually be something other than a fiasco, contrary to all other current indications. The author of the piece, Karrie Jacobs, discusses how impressed she is with the new 7 World Trade, a replacement for the third building that collapsed that day. Since the building was not part of the master plan for the site, and since it housed a big power substation, it was redesigned and rebuilt as quickly as possible. The architects, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, are the same firm who will be responsible for the Freedom Tower if/when it is ever built. The article describes how 7 World Trade is actually an architectural success, with interesting color effects in the exterior glass and a popular art installation (poems projected in giant letters on a glass wall) in the lobby, and how that leads her to some hope, perhaps unwise, that the Freedom tower may actually end up as an attractive building after all. She says:
7 WTC reminds me that architectural magic is more likely to emerge from necessity--terrorism proofing, green strategies--addressed with technological sophistication and a modicum of imagination rather than overworked symbolism and hot air. It also suggests that if we are trapped in a world where truck bombs are an eventuality, the awfulness of our current circumstances can be eased a bit by embedding our blast screens with poetry.Several other tall buildings are going up in the city right now. The tower of the Hearst building is basically completed, with interesting diamond shapes that for some reason remind me of the considerably more ambitious China Central Television building under construction in Beijing. And the New York Times building, which I really like the design of, is also well underway. Below, from upper-left going clockwise, photos snagged off the web of 7 World Trade and the Hearst Building, and renderings of the Freedom Tower and the New York Times Building.