Posted by Dan Downey on October 10, 2002 at 07:55:42:
Peace Towers New York, NY
Proposal for the replacement of the World Trade Center Complex
The tragedy of September 11th has left a gaping hole in the fabric of New York, a hole in our hearts and more concretely a hole in our reality. The initial plans to fill this hole were greeted by a call for something more, for something in keeping with the overreaching that is New York’s defining characteristic. I am not an architect, nor am I an artist. I’m just someone who was there that day. Someone who saw the towers burn and watched them fall. But I’m also someone who saw them built and looked at them with awe practically every day until they were gone. I want the children now and unborn to experience that same mouth gaping, neck craning wonder.
Why Peace Towers?
People from all over the world from practically every belief were affected by the event. The victims will be remembered through a soaring structure that unites the vision of man, the beauty of nature and the serenity of reflection. It will do this while recognizing and fulfilling the goals of the Port Authority and the LMDC, that is commercial space, transportation nexus and most importantly the creation of a memorial.
At ground level a natural setting complete with a large manmade lake and rolling lawns. This space will cover West Street granting pedestrian access to the river. From near the four corners of the site will spring four towers each a minimum of one thousand feet tall and each with close to three million square feet of commercial space. Access will be provided at the corners where a plaza will ring the site and the raised green zone. In their basic structure they will be traditional box skyscrapers, however, at the base and crown they will be flared. At the thousand-foot level the towers will be united in a large oval platform (16 to 20 acres). On the platform will be gardens and at each of the corners a major structure that will appear to stand alone but will actually be a continuation of the building below them. These structures will be churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and for non-believers simply places for gathering. In essence a Temple Mount or in this case a Peace Mount. At the places where the North and South Towers would have broken through will be hollow funnel-like towers from which a continuing fountain of water pointed inwards will emit. This water will cascade through the towers forming a thousand-foot waterfall at platform level. The water will form a mist as it falls to the lake below. This mist could be illuminated at night, as could the platform. The Peace Mount would form a floating city, particularly at night or when weather conditions put the “city” above the clouds.
The destruction of the twin towers was a reflection of belief gone astray. The Peace Mount is an attempt to unite people in their commonality as human beings. It provides a place for people to come together and exchange their sorrow and these beliefs in an area at once sacred and yet representative of the vision of man. The soaring fountains represent a pathway between heaven and earth with the water, representing life and its ephemeral nature as it descends to join the earth. The flowering plants that would appear to fall over the edges of the platforms and the gardens scattered throughout the center of the platform would provide spaces to contemplate and at the same time be life affirming as would the lake and lawns below. Depending on your background the “city” could bring to mind Venice floating on the Adriatic or the Sky City in Star Wars or the heavenly cities described by philosophers throughout history.
Structure- As I have already stated I am not an architect nor an engineer but I believe that while such a platform has never been tried before it is something that is feasible. I base this opinion on structures that already exist, namely oil drilling platforms. These structures, which sit out at sea, are subject to tremendous forces of wind and water. They rival many large buildings in size. Some sit hundreds of feet above the water’s surface and continue hundreds more to the sea floor. On their platforms are the considerable weight of structures and equipment. I do admit building it would be a challenge but it would be a fitting challenge for the greatest city on Earth at the dawn of the 21st century.
Commercial- Four towers of this size would exceed the 11 million square feet requirement. Infrastructure would be submerged beneath the raised park (except at the tower footprints of course). The access to the towers would be through a plaza that would ring the park. This outward focus would energize the surrounding area. On a more practical note the inclusion of a world theme, a peace theme, a unifying theme will make people not just in New York but from all over the world want to be here. Rentals won’t be a problem especially with the religious nature of the Heavenly City (think St.Christopher medals, crucifixes and other talismans). Even more practically, the platform provides a way for people to be evacuated up than down through any one of the other three towers. The platform also provides the possibility of large helicopter landings in the event of an emergency.
Transportation- The desired transportation hub would be in the nine-story space beneath the park (seven stories existing and two stories added through the park’s elevation).
Remembrance- A major concern of the families was that this ground was sacred and that it should be treated like a cemetery. A major concern of the rest of us is that the events of that day are remembered. A major goal of the world is that it never happens again. This structure is soaring. It is grand in concept. The symbolism of the Heavenly City, a piece of Earth thrust into the sky, the waterfalls cascading to a lake of remembrance and the breathtaking achievement of man crowned with the acknowledgment of something more fulfills all these objectives.
D.F.Downey * 423 East 23rd Street* New York, NY 10010*email- Dan.Downey@med.va.gov* (212)951-3319
Note- This idea is submitted with no conditions. I would be honored if it were forwarded on and incorporated in any way to the final design.
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