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Tuesday, June 26, 2007


THE NEW JPMORGAN CHASE BUILDING IN DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN 

BEER-BELLY TOWER ON DIET | By STEVE CUOZZO | Business News | Financial | Business and Money



The new JPMorgan Chase building at the World Trade Center is notable for its large cantilever.

The architect is already having to defend his project from descriptions like "beer belly" "kangaroo" and "electric chair."

"The size of the cantilever is one of those things still being studied," Gene Kohn of the Kohn Pedersen Fox firm said of controversial images released last week.

But, he emphasized, it will still be a "cantilever of some dimension" and there's no alternative to designing the Liberty Street building immediately south of the World Trade Center site any other way.

Kohn took polite exception to my description last week of the protruding block of trading floors facing the 9/11 memorial as a "beer belly." (Readers likened it to a "kangaroo" or "electric chair.")

"Things like that have a way of sticking," he said.

I was referring to the project's ungainly shape, which Kohn acknowledges is "unusual." The tower will be 32,000 square feet at the base, swell to between 52,000 and 56,000 square feet from floors 12-16, and slim down above that.

The trading floors, starting at 190 feet above ground, will hover over a patch of land about two-thirds the size of a city block - an overhang like no other building in New York.

They also gesture ambiguously toward Ground Zero: Does the protrusion compatibly relate to the site's quartet of architecturally arresting towers, or does it fight them?

Kohn noted that, at 42 stories, the JPMorgan Chase tower is much smaller than the buildings inside Ground Zero, crowned by the Freedom Tower at 1776 feet. And he defended its "preliminary" design, pointing out that the rules of the game left him no choice.

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