Ground Zero Becomes Boring

Metropolis Magazine visits Ground Zero as building begins, and finds that the bold plans and architectural dreams have fizzled.

"Tourists still flock to the World Trade Center site, almost seven years after the attacks of September 11. What they find when they get there is not a scene of destruction but a busy construction site. While I'm grateful to see Ground Zero filling up with fresh concrete and steel, there's something about the utter normalcy of the scene that makes me long for that heady period in 2003 and 2004 when the planning process for the site, a grand public pageant bursting with visionary zeal, promised to generate a place brave and powerful enough to heal the city's wounds. But as the concrete hardens, I can almost see the banality setting in.

The only person speaking with any frequency these days about his "vision" for the site is its developer, Larry Silverstein. Lately, he's been giving what amounts to a stump speech, promoting the vitality of Lower Manhattan and touting his revised schedule. "The buildings will reach street level approximately one year after the start of construction, and Towers 3 and 4 will top out in mid-2010, with Tower 2 following in 2011," Sil­verstein told the Downtown Association in April. "Can you count on this schedule? You bet."

So Silverstein, once thought to be the site's weak link, is now its master builder. His deal with retail developer Westfield, which for a time was off, is back on so the towers' lower floors will be lined with 500,000 square feet of shopping and dining. The latest renderings released by Silverstein Properties show four gleaming skyscrapers (including the Freedom Tower, now being developed by the Port Authority) flanking the eight-acre memorial."

Full Story: Normalizing Ground Zero?



Ground Zero Becomes Boring

Prakash M. Apte
Urban Development Consultant

World Trade Center
The diabolic destruction of the Twin Towers in New York was an act as despicable as brazen. It was meant to be as much an affront as abuse. It sought to humiliate a great people and a great democracy into permanent shame.
Retaining the footprints of the towers as a ‘memorial’ and building a new Tower as a replacement would be more of a tacit and ‘permanent’ admission of the victory of the ‘evil’ over the ‘good’ than displaying a spirit of rejuvenation.
Architectural merits apart, the only definitive and forceful statement that a nation can make is to rebuild the Twin Towers exactly as they were and ensure that the cityscape and skyline of the great city is regenerated as if there was no aberration. A great people and a great democracy must demonstrate its undying character in ‘immortality’ of the symbols of its national ethos and not appear to be morally weaker than the forces of terrorism by grasping the opportunity for a new commercial exploitation of land and an Architectural commission.
Prakash M Apte

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