Posted by Issi on September 16, 2002 at 20:15:46:
In Reply to: WTC memorial posted by Paul Dremann on September 15, 2002 at 05:25:54:
A few weeks ago CNN's website featured a series of amateur suggestions, in the form of drawings, as to what might be done with the "ground zero" site. My brother, who happened to come across the website, sent me an email asking which suggestions I liked. Here is my reply to him:
I looked at some of the ideas given. These aren't the six official
suggestions, but rather amatuer suggestions from the public.
I don't especially fancy a particular one, but I can tell you what my
general line of thought would be in formulating a plan:
As far as relating the plan to what occured on 9/11:
1) A memorial center of some type would have to be part of the site
It would be wrong to ignore the topic. It would be equally wrong to devote the entire site for this purpose, as New-York is still a living city, and could well make use of the land. In other words: a memorial center should be a secondary function on the site.
2) Whatever is built must be in the same range of magnitude as the
former twin towers (+/-). Anything else would be widely understood as "all that is western" caving in (as infantile a response as that is, it's inevitable).
3) Recreating the former towers in exact measure is anachronistic.
History does not freeze. However, a new plan should "quote" the former towers in as clear a fashion as possible. This does not have to mean "remaking" the towers according to contemporary architectural fashion as a singer might "remake" an older song. The repositioning of previous "greatness" in a new context is essentially the way in which great art is synthesized along an historic continuum.
4) The New-York port authority would be wise to pick a renowned,
heavyweight, consensus architect (Such as Cesar Pelli who designed the neighboring World Financial Center), rather than a young avantgarde trying to make his name by exaggerating a statement into a roar on the site (that would be too risky a gamble considering how senesitive an issue the site is).
5) The memorial center and the stylistic quotation of the former twin
towers demand an outstanding creative spark. There are other issues which I view as "technical" (NOT as a derogatory adjective). These issues will have far more impact on the site's users and the city as a whole, nevertheless they will lag behind stylistic issues as far as international (and American) public opinion will go. The next clauses refer to some of these issues.
6) I think the buildings built on the site ought not to point their backs towards the neighboring districts, as is the case with most of the suggestions on CNN. How many of the drawings actually include the
site's surroundings? They are a small minority, I assure you, and many of them point a cold shoulder towards the surroundings as well.
7) One thing I remember from being there in 1992 is that it's the kinda place you don't wanna be outside, as opposed to most of Manhattan. The lack of commercial streetfronts pointed the people inwards, to where all the "action" was. I think the interior content and the still very relevant outdoor street system ought to be superfluous (or perhaps entire sections of streets enclosed and made temperate).
8) I would dissect the site with many pedestrian traffic routes, thus
making it a place you go through rather than walk around. Added [pedestrian] traffic in a genuinely urban place is an advantage in my opinion.
9) These are very general guidelines. As for the details, they ought to be a well-thought-out derivative of the outstanding creative spark I mentioned.
Have you read all the way up to here?!
Issi ;) "
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