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09.07.2011
Feature> Making Meaning
Drawn largely from stories in our own pages, this selective timeline recalls key design moments, revisions, and decisions leading up to the tenth anniversary opening of the 9/11 Memorial.
Courtesy Silverstein
 

2001

November
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) established.

December
[ 01 ] A viewing platform overlooking ground zero designed by Diller & Scofidio, David Rockwell, and Kevin Kennon opens to large crowds.

 

AN 02_12.08.2003 > Read full article.

“Surely, we can afford to make Ground Zero a place of peaceable assembly for everyone. Indeed, if terror demands a civic reply, what better than a solemn memorial to those lost and a space for the most fundamental exercise of democracy in space, the freedom to gather in a place that is our own.”
-Michael Sorkin, Architect




AN 14_09.07.2004 > Read full article.

“The first and most difficult problem is so obvious that it is amazing that none of the brilliant architects assembled in the design competition dealt with the issue. The site of Ground Zero slopes down 30 feet from Broadway to West Street and the Hudson. This means that the site must be dealt with as a series of platforms from east to west and that north-south cross streets like Church and Greenwich must act as a series of steps across the site. Minoru Yamasaki’s World Trade Center design for the PA completely ignored the island’s topography.”
-D. Grahame Shane, Professor




AN 16_10.05.2005 > Read full article.

“Over the past two years, the tower has gradually been stripped of its best attributes. The final blow was delivered earlier this summer by the New York Police Department, which forced a total redesign when it demanded a greater setback from the street and a heavy barricade to resist potential bombs. Now, just after the fourth anniversary of 9/11, the Freedom Tower has become a bland prism with a forbidding 200-foot-high concrete base.”
-Jonathan Massey, Historian










2002

January 17
The exhibition, “A New World Trade Center - Design Proposals,” 58 submissions by celebrated architects, draws long lines to Max Protetch Gallery in Chelsea.

April
LMDC releases Blueprint for the Future of Lower Manhattan with 15 points outlining the need for transportation, culture, commerce, memorial space, and a reestablished connection to the city grid.

July
Beyer Blinder Belle present planning studies at the Javits Center, plus two New Urbanism-inspired plans by Peterson Littenberg. All are widely reviled by the public and in the media.

August
LMDC announces Innovative Design Study, a call for qualifications. That it is not a competition is disregarded by all parties.

September
Teams are announced: THINK led by Frederick Schwartz and Rafael Viñoly; Peter Eisenman, Richard Meier, Steven Holl, and Charles Gwathmey; Foster & Partners; United Architects; SOM; and Studio Daniel Libeskind.

December
[ 02 ] The six designs are presented in the Winter Garden starting with Studio Daniel Libeskind’s “Memory Foundations,” the cheapest proposal at $330 million.

2003

February 24
On the eve of LMDC’s selection, Schwartz, Viñoly, and Libeskind appear on Oprah Winfrey Show.

February 26
[ 03 ]The New York Times announces on page one that LMDC has chosen the THINK scheme.

February 27
Governor George Pataki officially selects the Libeskind plan.

April
An open competition for the memorial is announced.

June
By deadline, 5,201 proposals for the memorial are submitted.

July
After it is reported that developer Larry Silverstein’s architect David Childs from SOM and masterplan architect Libeskind cannot be left alone in the same room, LMDC announces that Childs and Libeskind are official collaborators on the $1.2 billion office, now named the Freedom Tower by Governor Pataki.

November
Libeskind floats a 59-page treatment for a memoir: “The Foundations of Optimism: My Journey from Communist Poland to Rebuilding the World Trade Center” that will ultimately be published as Breaking Ground: An Immigrant’s Journey from Poland to Ground Zero (Riverhead Trade) in October 2005.

November
Eight finalists for the memorial competition are announced.

December
[ 04 ] Revised design for the Freedom Tower is released.

2004

January
[ 05 ] The Federal Transit Administration announces that Santiago Calatrava will design the WTC transportation hub.

[ 06 ] Libeskind’s Wedge of Light concept is displaced by and then absorbed into the transit hub.

January
[ 07 ] Michael Arad’s “Reflecting Absence,” now a collaborative work with landscape designer Peter Walker is selected for the memorial. The design does not include several Libeskind ideas, including the sunken bathtub and ramps. The focus on the tower footprints includes the names of those who died viewed through waterfalls.

March
Shortlists name potential institutions for the site’s cultural component: a 50,00-70,000-square-foot Memorial Complex (Museum of the City of New York; New York Historical Society; New York State Museum; Project Rebirth; Sound Portraits Productions); a 100,000-200,000-square-foot Performing Arts Complex (The Joyce Theater; New York City Opera; Signature Theater Company; Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; Tribeca Film Institute); and a 200,000–250,000- square-foot Cultural Building (Children’s Museum of the Arts; Drawing Center; Museum of Freedom; New York Hall of Science).

July 4
[ 08 ] Governor Pataki attends the ceremonial laying of a 20-ton block of granite as cornerstone of the Freedom Tower that will be removed again in June 2006.

April
Davis Brody Bond join the Arad/Walker team as associate architect for the Memorial, eventually becoming the architects of the underground Memorial Museum.

June
Tenants selected for the Museum Complex are the International Freedom Center and The Drawing Center. The Performing Arts Complex is to house the Joyce and the Signature theaters.

August
Shortlist of six firms for the Memorial Complex is released, including Moshe Safdie and Associates; Pei Cobb Freed and Partners; Polshek Partnership; Robbrecht en Daem architects with Pasanella and Klein; Stolzman and Berg Architects; Shigeru Ban Architect + Frei Otto with Dean Maltz Architect; and Snøhetta.

August
The shortlist for the Performing Arts Complex includes ten firms: Bing Thom Architects with Meyer/Gifford/Jones architects, Gehry Partners; Moshe Safdie and Associates; OMA and LMN; Polshek Partnership; Rafael Viñoly Architects; Schmidt, Hammer & Lassen; Studio Daniel Libeskind; Ten Arquitectos and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture; and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.

October
Snøhetta is selected to design the Memorial Complex, largely comprised of the the International Freedom Center; Frank Gehry is to design the performing arts complex for the Joyce and the Signature theaters.

2005

May
[ 09 ]Snøhetta’s design for the Memorial Complex is circulated.

June
New York Police Department concerns about vehicular bomb forces Childs to rework base of Freedom Tower.

August
The Drawing Center withdraws over controversial plans to restrict exhibition content at the site.

September
Governor Pataki evicts the Freedom Center from the site. Officials say that the Snøhetta building will now be used in connection with the underground memorial museum.

December
Norman Foster’s design for Tower 2 is unveiled.

2006

February
[ 10 ] Debate erupts over the cost and viability of the waterfalls in the footprints in wintertime. A $175,000 prototype is constructed to resolve the issue. In the final musuem design, the names are moved to the parapets surrounding the waterfalls that are no longer viewable from within the museum now located under the footprints.

April
Silverstein cedes control of the now $2 billion Freedom Tower to the Port Authority (PA).

April
[ 11 ] National Trust for Historic Preservation puts a twin tower original staircase still on the site on the Most Endangered List before it is razed to make way for constructions of Foster’s Tower 2. Renamed “Survivor Stair,” it is given to the memorial museum.

May
7 World Trade Center opens with three tenants: the New York Academy of Sciences, Ameriprise Financial, and Vantone Real Estate. Jenny Holzer’s eight hour stream of LED poetry and prose is featured in the lobby.

June
[ 12 ] Childs unveils revised Freedom Tower with concrete base clad in prismatic glass and aluminum..

June 21
LMDC receives a $2.78 billion block grant from HUD. Concerns about costs result in construction company owner Frank Sciame being asked to convenea design review panel. He invites Rick Bell, Thom Mayne, among others to evaluate the memorial in order to bring cost down to the $500 million cap established by Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki.

September
[ 13 ] Tower designs by Norman Foster, Fumihiko Maki, and Richard Rogers released.

2007

July
Freedom Tower is now called 1 World Trade Center, and Durst Organization takes over leasing.

August 18
While the Deutsche Bank building is dismantled, a fire breaks out and results in the death of two firefighters.

2008

September
[ 14 ] Snøhetta’s revised design is now for a pavilion entrance to the National Sept 11 Memorial and Museum.

October
PA announces simplified plans for the site. In addition to the scaled-back Snøhetta project, Calatrava’s transit hub is pared to essential elements but still budgeted at $3.2 billion.

2009

March
PA announces that rebuilding at the World Trade Center will create 72,202 construction jobs over 10 years and $16.4 billion in economic activity.

March 19
PA and the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church that was demolished on 9/11 deadlock over negotiations to rebuild the church just east of its original site plus a $20 million subsidy.

March 26
Vantone, a Chinese real estate company, is announced to be the first major tenant for One World Trade Center.

November
Silverstein and PA wage on-going battles over financing and the leasing of Towers 2 and 3.

2010

March
[ 16 ] PA and Silverstein reach an agreement calling, in part, for the developer to raise $300 million in private investment to access $200 million each from the City, State, and PA.

August
[ 15 ] Fueled by Internet activists, an international uproar engulfs the plans of an established Tribeca mosque to move into a former Burlington Coat Factory two blocks from the World Trade Center site.

2011

May
Conde Nast Publications is announced as a tenant for One World Trade Center.

May
The prismatic glass base of One World Trade Center is scaled back. PA claims it is too difficult to manufacture, while Childs privately complains of cost cutting.

August
LMDC announces that a board for the Performing Arts Complex will be selected by the end of the year. LMDC will contribute $155 million toward the $400-500 million cost.

August
[ 17 ] One World Trade Center reaches 960 feet.

 

The Editors