Famous Architects Unveil Plans for World Trade Center

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

The designs for three of the skyscrapers that will eventually occupy the World Trade Center site were unveiled yesterday, just days before the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Designed by three of the world’s most famous architects, the soaring glass-and-steel structures represent major progress for a site that has long lain fallow and has become a source of intense dispute.They were unveiled by the developer Larry Silverstein on the 52nd floor of Seven World Trade Center, the only building to be reconstructed since the attacks. Dozens of television cameras and reporters from around the world were on hand.

“Yes, today is about three buildings, but it’s about something much bigger,” Governor Pataki, who has been harshly criticized for the development delays at ground zero, said.

The three buildings — designed by Lord Norman Foster, Lord Richard Rodgers, and Fumihiko Maki — will run along the eastern edge of the 16-acre site. With varying heights, the buildings will climb toward the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower and spiral around the memorial to the attack victims.

Although the buildings may still be subject to change, they and the Freedom Tower will remake New York City’s skyline. They will add 6 million square feet of office space to a site that lost 10 million on the day of the attacks, and new retail. The construction phase is scheduled to begin by 2008 and be done by 2012.

The tallest of the buildings is Mr. Foster’s. The top of his 78-story tower will be cut on a diagonal, creating four diamond shapes that will face the memorial.

“If you extend the top downward as an invisible line, it will connect to the park,” Mr. Foster said yesterday after the renderings were presented. “Wherever you are — whether you’re north, south, east, west, or anywhere in between and you look at this tower, it will immediately tell you where the memorial park is.”

The city’s deputy mayor for economic development, Daniel Doctoroff, praised the master design, which was created by architect Daniel Libeskind, and said it would feed off of downtown in a way that the trade center did not because it was more physically isolated.

“Think about five years from now, when we will stand on this site and literally side-by-side will be the work of seven of the world’s greatest architects … in one place,” he said. “Nowhere else in the world.”

Mr. Doctoroff acknowledged the frustration of the delays, but said five years from now, once the buildings are getting ready to open, it will be worth it. While some worry that too much office space will flood the market at the same time, he said that market was strong and was only improving. He noted that Moody’s Investors Service is about to sign a lease for a 600,000-square-foot space in Seven World Trade Center, which was built by Mr. Silverstein.

The site, which has seen its plan modified a number of times, has been a political hot potato. Yesterday, the speaker of the state Assembly, Sheldon Silver, said the new designs are “spectacular,” but that there are still challenges ahead. There are “many issues to be addressed, many timelines we must adhere to before we can start patting ourselves on the back too hard,” he said.

The New York Sun

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