Then There Was One...

March 1, 2003
Then There was One...

Daniel Libeskind is selected as lead architect to rebuild the World Trade Center site.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC) and Port Authority of New York & New Jersey have selected Daniel Libeskind, a Berlin architect, to oversee redevelopment of the 16-acre World Trade Center site. Libeskind's proposal, which includes a tower soaring 1,776 feet into the sky, was chosen over another design called World Cultural Center, developed by THINK. Representatives of the LMDC, the Port Authority, as well as state and city offices, had narrowed the field from nine designs to these two earlier this year after rigorous analysis based on a combination of factors, including feasibility, context for the memorial, phasing and public comment, which was collected during an unprecedented outreach campaign called "Plans in Progress."The main features of Libeskind's design include:* The tower, which stands 1,776 feet tall, symbolizing the year of America's independence. It will also be the world's tallest building.* An attached office building with 7.5 million square feet of office space.* The top floors of the tower will be filled with indoor gardens, signaling what Libeskind says is "an affirmation of life."* A museum and a performing arts center.* A rail station to serve the mass transit needs of visitors to and workers at the site.* A memorial to the victims of 9-11. According to Libeskind, he calculated the arc of the sun so that a wedge of natural light would funnel visitors to the memorial site.Every September 11 between 8:46 a.m., when the first tower was struck, and 10:28 a.m., when the second tower collapsed, no shadows will be cast by the buildings on the memorial site.Additionally, the plan calls for part of the trade center's 70-foot-deep concrete foundation walls that survived the towers' collapse to remain exposed.In his concept statement for rebuilding the site, Libeskind wrote: "The sky will be home again to a towering spire of 1,776 feet high, the 'Gardens of the World'. Why gardens? Because gardens are a constant affirmation of life. A skyscraper rises above its predecessors, reasserting the pre-eminence of freedom and beauty, restoring the spiritual peak of the city, creating an icon that speaks of our vitality in the face if danger and our optimism in the aftermath of tragedy."Libeskind, 56, is formerly of New York, but now resides in Berlin. His work includes the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, England; the Jewish Museum in Berlin; and the Denver Art Museum, which is currently under construction. He was born in postwar Poland to parents who were both Holocaust survivors. The Libeskind family emigrated to Israel and then to the United States when he was a teenager. He arrived in New York in 1959 by boat.
The initial designs were evaluated based on the following criteria, and included public comment:
  • How well does it provide an appropriate
    memorial setting?
  • Does the design meet the program
  • How well does the design establish practical street, block and development parcels.
  • What is the public response to the design?
  • How well does it support the Mayor's Vision Plan for Lower Manhattan?
  • How well does the design connect with its
  • Does the design allow for phased development?
  • How effective is the addition to the
    public realm?
  • Is the design an attractive environment for private development?
  • Are there components that are unresolvable?
  • How significant are the issues that can be resolved?
  • What is the estimated cost of publicly funded
    elements of the plan?
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