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World Trade Center, New York, United States

Tuesday 12 May 2009

WTC faces threat from within

World Trade Center by WAN Editorial in New York, United States
Copyright Foster + Partners 
World Trade Center by WAN Editorial in New York, United States
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19/05/09 Peter Hancock, Maseru
It may be worth recalling that the original design for the World Trade Center was quite different from the Twin Towers, as actually built. The original design was much lower, much broader and much less pretentious. The guiding design principle of the Twin Towers, seems to have been to make them as high as possible. Could this have been a case of pride goes before a fall ?<p>

The proposal to reduce the heights of the Foster/Rogers towers could be viewed as a return to a more modest approach, more in keeping with realistic future letting prospects. It would also have the architectural effect of highlighting Tower One, the former Freedom Tower, symbolic of the destroyed World Trade Center.
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Towers dwarfed by Port Authority fears 

Plans being considered by the Port Authority to remove one of the World Trade Center Towers and to reduce Lords Foster and Rogers’ towers to stumps have been released to the New York Daily News.

A source familiar with the plans revealed that in order to protect the development of the Freedom Tower (now named Tower One), the Port Authority plans to reduce office space from 10million to 5million sq ft and make retail developments of the Foster/Rogers stumps. The news comes following a report for the Authority last month by Cushman and Wakefield which stated that the towers would not be fully occupied until 2037.

The office of World Trade Center Properties, led by Larry Silverstein and awarded $5billion in rejuvenation compensation following the collapse of the WTC, are resolutely opposed to the changes: “The Silverstein team has not wavered on rebuilding the World Trade Center, and we never will,” said Janno Lieber, President. “We remain committed to the plan all the stakeholders agreed to in 2004, and reaffirmed in 2006 – a stirring Memorial, a rebuilt transportation network, and replacement of the shops and soaring office towers destroyed eight years ago.

“This space is essential so that Downtown can re-emerge as an economic and jobs powerhouse for New York City. The Port Authority agreed to that plan, and has received more than $2 billion out of the rebuilding fund based on their promise to cooperate in executing that exact vision. Now, with 10,000 construction workers standing ready to get to work, there is absolutely no reason for turning our backs on the promises.”

Foster's design for the 200 Greenwich Street tower was to rise to 390 metres while Rogers' 175 Greenwich Street would rise to 350 metres. But the source advised that these would be replaced by two retail buildings of just 4 or 5 floors.

"One of the most difficult aspects of a vision is not the creation of it, but sticking to it," said spokesperson for the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Jan Klerks. "As visions embed a long term span, the urge to change the vision when circumstances change, such as the economic climate, can be great. However, unique areas deserve a unique long term vision in which ambitions ideally shouldn’t be compromised by current circumstances. The development of these locations might be better off with temporary blanks or long term ambitions in the vision that can be shaped when tides are better, instead of being developed in difficult circumstances with economized ambitions."

Mayor Bloomberg has called for a summit between involved parties. In the mean time the Port Authority has locked down communications with press on the matter while Foster + Partners and Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners are maintaining an uneasy silence.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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WAN Editorial

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