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Critic's Review: 1 World Trade Center 'A Cautionary Tale'

New York Times Architecture Critic Michael Kimmelman unequivocally pans the newly opened 1 World Trade Center as a cautionary tale: "The point is that something better was possible in Lower Manhattan."
December 2, 2014, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The paper of record has released its architectural review of one of the most eagerly anticipated buildings in American history. To put it mildly, Michael Kimmelman is not a fan of the tallest building in North America. A sampling of his critiques:

  • "Like the corporate campus and plaza it shares, 1 World Trade speaks volumes about political opportunism, outmoded thinking and upside-down urban priorities. It’s what happens when a commercial developer is pretty much handed the keys to the castle. Tourists will soon flock to the top of the building, and tenants will fill it up. But a skyscraper doesn’t just occupy its own plot of land. Even a tower with an outsize claim on the civic soul needs to be more than tall and shiny."
  • "Replacing the twin towers with another giant office building was somehow supposed to show New York’s indomitable spirit: the defiant city transfigured from the ashes. To the contrary, 1 World Trade implies (wrongly) a metropolis bereft of fresh ideas. It looks as if it could be anywhere, which New York isn’t."
  • "Stripped of prospective cultural institutions, as well as of street life and housing, the plan soon turned into something akin to an old-school office park, destined to die at night — the last thing a young generation of New Yorkers wanted."

Chicago Tribune Architecture Critic Blair Kamin produced a less-than-stellar review of 1 World Trade Center back in October. 

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Published on Saturday, November 29, 2014 in New York Times
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