WTC plans loftiest in world

2 WTC finalists chosen; both designs propose world’s tallest structures


Two plans featuring structures that would rise taller than any other in the world have been picked as finalists in the selection of a design to rebuild the World Trade Center, officials said Feb. 4.

THE TWO FINALISTS ... A proposed design by an architectural team known as THINK seen at left, and architect Daniel Libeskind's proposed design for the rebuilding of New York's World Trade Center are seen in these file photos. Libeskind's and THINK's designs were selected Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2003, as the finalists in the plan to rebuild ground zero.


Vote for your pick
Design by Think
Design by Studio Daniel Libeskind

One proposal evokes the original trade centre with twin latticework towers, while the other preserves the foundations of the twin skyscrapers.

The selection of the designs was announced Feb. 4 afternoon by officials from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency overseeing the redevelopment of the site, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that owns the trade centre.

“These designs best satisfied the rigorous set of criteria that we set forth,” said Roland Betts, head of the LMDC’s planning committee.

Both finalist designs — by an architectural team known as THINK and by Berlin-based architect Daniel Libeskind — feature structures rising higher than the tallest in the world, Malaysia’s 452-metre Petronas Twin Towers.

The World Trade Center’s twin towers measured 411 metres.

The THINK team, led by New York-based architects Rafael Vinoly and Frederic Schwartz, proposed the World Cultural Center, whose lacy 507-metre towers have been called 21st-century Eiffel Towers.

Libeskind, who designed Berlin’s Jewish Museum, proposed starkly geometrical buildings clustered around the foundations of the fallen towers and topped by a 541-metre spire.

Although both finalists include soaring structures, neither plan conceives of office space extending all the way to the top.

The models each include a vision for where the victims’ memorial might be built. A specific design for the memorial is expected to be chosen later this year in a separate competition. Nearly 2,800 people were killed in the attack on the trade centre Sept. 11, 2001.

Spokesmen for the two finalists did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The two finalists were among nine proposals for redeveloping the 6.4-hectare site that were unveiled Dec. 18. The plans were selected from 407 submissions from around the world. One of the nine semifinalist designs was later withdrawn.

An earlier group of proposed designs, released in July, was criticized as boring and overstuffed with office space.

While no one expects an exact replica of either of the finalist designs to rise at the site, officials at the development corporation have said whatever is built there will be based on one of the plans.

Recurring turf battles over control of the site may complicate the decision-making, though.

Developer Larry Silverstein, who holds the lease to the site, complained in a letter to development corporation chairman John Whitehead last week that the proposed designs do not include enough office space.