Ground Zero Plans Taking Shape, But Still Troubled

The long-delayed and troubled design for Manhattan's Ground Zero site has undergone some improvements and been revealed in a new model. But as <em>New York Times</em> architecture critic Nicolai Oroussoff notes, the design is still lacking.
May 12, 2009, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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"During the next several years the project's cost spiraled to $3.2 billion from $2 billion. The scheduled completion date was delayed, first by a couple of years, then several more. Mr. Calatrava, determined to save his design, worked slavishly to get the budget under control. In a misguided effort to avoid more controversy, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey enveloped the project in secrecy, essentially shutting the public out of the design process.

But even for those of us who had given up on the idea that anything good would ever emerge from ground zero, the unveiling of an elaborate new model of the revised design on Saturday at the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute was heart wrenching.

The model gives us the clearest picture yet of Mr. Calatrava's vision. Dozens of minor improvements have been made; his structural pyrotechnics look as dazzling as ever.

Even so, Mr. Calatrava remains unable to overcome the project's fatal flaw: the striking incongruity between the extravagance of the architecture and the limited purpose it serves."

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Published on Sunday, May 10, 2009 in The New York Times
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