Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Thing is Actually Going Up

Here is the proposed design for the new 1 WTC

Here it is under construction. It is now higher than in this photo. I love watching buildings under construction. It's so fascinating. These days, I'm frequently I'm disappointed when they are finished.

Well what do you know? The new World Trade Center is actually starting to rise downtown. 240 feet of it now stand down at Ground Zero. Mercifully, it is now known as "One World Trade Center" instead of "The Freedom Tower." Contrary to everyone's expectations, it is now attracting the attention of a lot of potential tenants, and there is real competition to see who gets the contract to manage the thing. It is owned, and being built, by the Port Authority.
They are also making progress on the 9/11 Memorial and on the transportation hubs.

I have very mixed feelings about the design of the building. It's a big improvement over what was there before. It's a good design, but also a conventional design. It looks like every other skyscraper around the world these days. The weakest part is that brutal looking base.

I've written before on the idea that this is unique among the world's commercial developments in that it is fraught with symbolism. It is a big commercial development, but it's also the final resting place for over a thousand people who perished on September 11th and whose remains were never found or identified.

Modernism in architecture was created by and for commercial and domestic use. It did not completely replace classicism as public and commemorative architecture until after World War II (the first such building was probably the UN headquarters on First Avenue). In this project, all those uses are combined. We'll see how it turns out.


toujoursdan said...

I think the size and scale of the building will be completely out of place for the area and definitely agree that it looks like every other building. But the old WTC were spectacularly ugly too.

So I agree. We'll see.

Counterlight said...

The more and bigger skyscrapers go up around the world, the better the old Empire State Building looks.
Also, the Chrysler Building gets better and better over time. The critics now praise it as an Art Deco classic. I can remember when they dismissed it as so much kitsch.

There's the acid test of any building or any work of art, familiarity. Will a new building stay new or get better over time, or will it look like yesterday's science fiction?

Lapinbizarre said...

Good luck finding tenants!