Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ground Zero Update

The One World Trade Center Tower by David Childs is already the tallest thing on the New York skyline, as I found on my visit last November.

Here's an update from the British journal BD (Feb. 1, 2012; free registration required):
"The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that the cost of 1WTC – formerly known as the Freedom Tower – had soared to $3.8 billion, $700 million more than the last public estimate in 2008...."

"1WTC is already 90 stories high, 60% let, and on track to be completed by the end of the year."

"Foster and Partners’ 2WTC, which is intended to be the second-tallest building on the site, at 88 stories, is to be temporarily capped at ground level because of a lack of tenants."

"The same problem is also threatening to truncate Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners’ 80-story Three World Trade Centre at just seven stories. A Port Authority financing agreement means developer Silverstein Properties must stop building at podium level if it cannot find tenants for at least 10 floors."
Story filed by Elizabeth Hopkirk.
Snapshot by DC, November 2011.

Note portable police surveillance tower in foreground.
And note the tower's  bomb-proof solid concrete podium, still unclad.

The new towers rise around the empty site of the original towers. That's an important void. But it's hard to make much sense of the towers as an urban presence. They seems so far like a negative presence all the way, from the absence at street level due to bunkerization to the anonymous sheer glass facades. And their apparent detachment from the site; they could really be anywhere, or move around like chessmen. They don't make a case for being there.

Another void: the raised plaza of the former towers has disappeared, a whole artificial topography. The Memorial Park is set down at the level of West Street and Battery Park (Battery Park was reclaimed from the river by the excavation of the first project in the 1960s). So the Memorial Park's footprint of the twin towers, in the form of pools with fountains, bumps into this problem of where the ground plane actually is, in one's semi-conscious, bodily memory of the site. Will have to wait and see how this is finally resolved at the top of the site, along Church Street.

Here's a rather lame photo of the new Park seem from across West Street -- the gimlet-eyed can maybe make out one of the pools:

Photo added May 8, 2012, as the main tower surpasses the Empire State in height:

Source: Buzzfeed, found on the Arquitectura Viva web page. Photographer credit not found.

While I am on the subject of New York and detachment, here are a couple of snaps from the same trip.:

Subway Dude

On The Phone

High Line in the Rain
From the Hellgate Bridge

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