Wednesday, June 29, 2005
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has unveiled the revised designs for "Freedom Tower" which is supposed to replace the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center site.
As part of the new design, the tower’s footprint, measuring 200 feet by 200 feet, is the same size as the footprints of the original Twin Towers. As the tower itself rises from its cubic base, its square edges are chamfered back, transforming the square into eight tall isosceles triangles in elevation. At its middle, the tower forms a perfect octagon in plan and then culminates in an observation deck and glass parapet.[LMDC]
However, what is not highlighted (and is only shown in 1 of 6 preview photos) is the 200-foot high pedestal that will be at the base of the tower. The New York Times says it will be a "an almost impermeable and impregnable 200-foot concrete and steel pedestal, clad in ornamental metalwork...This enormous pedestal would overlook the Sept. 11 memorial."
The pedestal will dominate the plaza where people will mill about observing and taking in the Twin Tower footprints as well as paying respects at the memorial. A huge, austere pedestal might cast a morbid pall over the area and create a dark, scary ambience instead a dignified mix of sadness, remembrance and defiance.
The first 30 feet of the 200-foot-tall pedestal would be completely solid, with no windows. The next 50 feet would have some openings, allowing light to be brought into the lobby from above. The rest of the base would be occupied by mechanical equipment. [NYT]
It is my hope that the Freedom Tower will be a poignant reminder to the world that the United States does not shrink in the face of terror. However, I wonder if the pedestal will be an imposing structure that lacks character. It hope it does not signal to many visitors from around the world that 9/11 changed this country forever; and turned the United States into Fortress America.
PS: Don't be fooled by the renditions of what the skyline will look like with a Freedom Tower in place. Look carefully and see that they show the building as rectangular in shape like the Twin Towers. But, the building will actually taper from the massive cube foundation to a small area at the top.
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
Freedom Tower Fact Sheet(pdf)
New Design for Freedom Tower Calls for 200-Foot Pedestal - New York Times
Other blogs commenting on the newly designed Freedom Tower, Scott Sala's excellent Slant Point, Empire Builder, Dagenham Heathway, Modeltrain, Focused Forward, Blogs for Bush, The Exceptionalist, Mark Lerner, and Blogging the President.