Sunday, December 21, 2003

New World Trade Center

Frank has weighed in on the proposed World Trade Center as I asked (thanks, Frank). I wanted an architect's perspective. He also links to the BBC's description of the proposed development that has told me that the viewing platform will be at the 73rd floor. That definitely disappoints me. I thought it would be higher. {I haven't read a whole lot on the new design - I've just seen a few pictures and read a bit in the Daily News.}

Frank says he's not a fan of Liebeskind's work. I can't comment on Liebeskind's work because I don't know anything else he's ever done. I do know that his site plan was my second favorite after the Foster plan.

Frank's preference was for the Twin Towers to be rebuilt exactly as they were. Initially that was my gut reaction too, and some people are still promoting it.

But, I also remember when I was a kid and the Twin Towers were being built, most New Yorkers hated them. They were "ugly" and (worse) "uninteresting". New Yorkers didn't just want their skyline to be tall, they want it to be distinct. The Twin Towers eventually grew on people in the same way that an ugly sweater can become the most comfortable, but that's not an argument for rebuilding them as they were.

Frank makes reference to Warsaw's rebuilt historic center as an example for rebuilding exactly as things were. I was in Warsaw and Krakow in 1987. I remember at that time I was struck by how genuine Krakow seemed compared with the rebuilt Warsaw. And, I had the feeling that the local people felt the same way. Warsaw seemed like a show-piece whereas Krakow's historic center had a great atmosphere.