Search results for "9/11 museum"

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Architecture Journalism
Left to right: Robin Pogrebin, Rob Lippincott, Steve Cuozzo, Matt Chaban, and Julie Iovine.
Tom Stoelker / AN

On May 3, the second of a four part series on architecture and the media organized by AN, Oculus, and AIANY’s Marketing and PR Committee, focused on media channels outside the design and building industry.

Held at the Center for Architecture and moderated by Julie Iovine, the panel included Robin Pogrebin, culture reporter at The New York Times, Steve Cuozzo, real estate reporter and restaurant critic at The New York Post, Matt Chaban, real estate editor and reporter at The New York Observer, and Rob Lipincott, senior vice president, education, at PBS. Here are some edited and excerpted highlights from the conversation, starting with each of the three print reporters describing their beats:

Robin Pogrebin: I am a reporter on the Culture Desk at the Times where there are actually not that many reporters. A few years ago, when Nicolai [Ourossoff] started as architecture critic, it was decided that there was a need to cover architecture as a story as opposed to as criticism. There had not been a dedicated reporter prior to that so that’s what I became and I have been doing it ever since. I still cover cultural and performing arts issues, the NEA budget, preservation, and a lot of these things intersect but architecture is the main thing.

Steve Cuozzo: As a genetic New Yorker who loves the city with an intense passion, I have since 1999 been covering commercial real estate. It’s only since after 9/11, that I have also been writing on design-related and architecture issues. I am a real-estate reporter only part-time; and architecture is just a sub-set of that.

I have no training, no background, and I don’t even have the proper vocabulary. Still, I believe I can really contribute to the dialog because architecture is this strange art form that’s the most invested in people’s daily lives while it also comes across as the most elitist of the art forms.

I say that, in part, because architecture critics don’t write that much. Imagine if restaurant critics, dance critics, theater critics wrote as infrequently as most architecture critics do. Just look up their by-line counts! I feel that the public is entitled to more of a voice in the realm of architecture and design and urban issues than they are getting from people who really know more about it than I do.

Matt Chaban: I am also a genetic New Yorker, although I happen to have been born in Pittsburgh. I write on real estate for the paper and edit a daily blog aimed at real estate professionals and aficionados. I see my job as explaining how the city works. And as much as I like covering the big new buildings, it’s really the nitty-gritty of how and why projects drag out that is the most interesting to me.

How much interest in, and knowledge of, architecture do you assume there is among your readers?

RP: Since Bilbao and the so-called starchitect phenomenon, there has really been a heightened interest in architecture. That changed coverage in that the general audience now knows names like Rem Koolhaas. Lately, I have found with the downturn that as major projects have fallen off there has definitely been diminished coverage from my standpoint. When I first took the beat, I could go anywhere, cover anything and that was my mandate. Given the finances of the Times, now it only makes sense that the critic go to some places. There also seem to be fewer grand projects to write about now and so the question becomes, what else rises to the level of really needing to be covered?

I get pitched in 100 to 200 emails a day; and I feel terrible about what might be falling through the cracks. I know the bar has become somewhat higher in terms of what we write about. Why should we write about this one? That is a hard question to answer. Ideally, it is a story that has larger implications beyond just the project itself: something about it represents a trend; or there’s a controversy about it (for better or worse); or a window into architecture through another route, say, the controversy about naming of Miami Art Museum.

At what point do you write about a project, and how many times can you return to it?

MC: Since we run a daily blog, it’s as much as I want, and then there’s the weekly paper, too. The upside of the blog is that those stories can be either long or short, whatever the story needs. It’s a judgment call. But the basic line is that the more you write about something, the more you start hearing about it. So for me I cover things as often as I can: right now I write as often as possible on New York University because I think it’s a serious development.

RP: Traditionally we might write about something when a design came out. Increasingly, it became clear that some of these projects were pie in the sky and might never be realized. Writing about fantasies seemed a kind of disservice to the reader. It made more sense to wait for the actual bricks and mortar to happen: then the critic can review it and we can talk to the experience of the building. So now, we’ve been doing more at the tale end than at the beginning.

SC: The important issue is what and when does a project rise to the importance for a broader audience. Frankly, I don’t understand the way the architectural critical establishment works. Theater critics, film critics, book critics review everything; I don’t understand why architecture is placed on such an exulted plane of discourse and appreciation that does not obtain in any of the other art forms. To illustrate, the 9/11 memorial opened in September, it’s now May and unless I missed it, the New York Times architecture critic has yet to weigh in. Never mind that the museum is incomplete, we all know that; the fact is the Times wrote for ten years about the importance of the 9/11 museum and the urgency of the memorial and all the design issues. Now that it has finally opened to the world, they seem to have gone silent. I don’t get it.

RP: At the Times, critics are in a separate world from the reporters. In this case, Steve, I happen to agree and I have raised the question. I thought maybe it happened while we were in the process of changing critics and it had fallen through the cracks. I think Michael Kimmelman has a very different approach to criticism than we have ever had. He’s not, so far, reviewing individual projects as we have in the past. He doesn’t really have an architectural background. We may see some frustration: Not only are we not up to reviewing every thing, we may not review what might be expected of individual projects.

Are you pressured to cover subjects, or projects?

MC: I have been told to be less wonky. I have been told to stop invoking Robert Moses. We write almost not at all about architecture except in terms of development; we do a lot of residential real estate and industry types fighting each other. I have been asked to profile architects—for example Tod Williams and Billie Tsien because of the Barnes Museum opening—but that goes in the culture section. It’s not considered hard news.

SC: I have numerous editors breathing down my neck about  many things but never about architecture and design. I have this truly strange role at the paper that I wish I could share with architecture enthusiasts who are more learned than I am. I can just tell my editors at business or the editorial section that I really have to write this piece, and I have extraordinary freedom to do that. There’s a lot more pressure when it’s about breaking news concerning commercial real estate and that has become an extremely competitive environment only in the last four years.

RP: Opinions are really not my turf. The conventional wisdom now is that there is no such thing as subjectivity if there ever was. And there is certainly more attitude and voice in what you see online, but at the Times, it is the critic’s job to weigh in with opinions, not mine.

What’s your take on starchitecture? Does it make reporting easier?

RP: I have started to want to move away from the usual suspects. We will always write about these guys with the names but it’s nice to expand the circle. That said, it’s not as easy to get at those other stories.

Rob Lippincott: I think we can chock up some of the interest in starchitects to Charlie Rose; he had them all on his show and he really help demystify what current architecture is all about.

SC: On balance, the starchitect phenomenon was a good thing. It drew attention to a subject that too many people did not think about on a regular basis, in the same way that star chefs brought attention to food or the way the American Ballet theater and dancers like Baryshnikov in the 1970s made classical dance popular in a way that had never been done before.

On the other hand, you have something like the Gehry building on Spruce Street that is dammed marvelous. I wonder about all the people who look at it everyday and think, That’s terrific, and if they really even know it’s by Frank Gehry or if they know anything at all about Bilbao. I really don’t know.

What needs to be written about right now?

SC: There’s a lot of residential building going on and I could be missing the boat here, but there really isn’t that much going on in terms of design issues to be discussed and debated. Yes, there are these huge projects like Hudson Yards and Hudson West and Ratner’s site behind the arena where there may, or may not, be some new buildings. But I am not aware that any of these projects are even remotely close to happening in terms of actual development. There are holes in the ground everywhere, but there’s nothing to engage the public’s attention the way the Trade Center did or even Columbus Circle did when it went through its many permutations before it finally got built after ten years. There’s nothing like that right now.

RP: One of the things interesting me right now is the degree to which developers have decided whether name architects were worth the investment in bringing added value. We haven’t checked back, post-recession, to see whether developers feel like those architects were worth the extra cost and the headache.

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WTC Update: One World Trade to Pass Empire State, Plus a Shuttle Flyover!
It wasn't a usual trip to the World Trade Center site today as AN segued over to the river to get a glimpse of the Space Shuttle Enterprise's flyover.  We caught the shuttle on its second loop at 10:55 on the dot. The pristine prototype shuttle skimmed south over New Jersey on its way round the Statue of Liberty. In all, a very uplifting day when combined with news that the One World Trade will likely surpass the Empire State Building as the city's tallest building by this Monday. Come summer the shuttle will make a barge trip up the river to its new home at the Intrepid Museum. No news yet on speculation that new building across the street from the museum might house the shuttle. Back at the WTC site, construction is humming, with the exception of the 9/11 Museum which stopped after legal wrangling ensued between the museum and the Port Authority over money. Last week, capitalnewyork.com reported subcontractors were slated to be paid by the Port, hinting that an agreement over the disputed $150 million might soon be reached. Since AN last report in February, several developments have appeared. Fumihiko Maki's Tower 4 continues to climb, and the triangular volume at the top has asserted itself above its rhombus base. The pedestal for Richard Rogers Tower 3 now looms over Church Street, though an anchor tenant has yet to be announced. The WTC overlook of the site at Brookfield's World Financial Center is shuttered as work begins  on a $250 million retail renovation. The oculus at the Fulton Street Transit Center is now fully formed. Next to Seven World Trade, CUNY's Fitterman Hall by Pei Cobb Freed slapped its brick paneled curtain wall together in what seemed like weeks. The panelized red-brick face provides a disjointed contrast to WTC's valley of glass and steel at its doorstep.
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Blast of Personal Truth from Port Authority’s Chris Ward
Far from the expected pablum that these events usually generate, Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, gave a speech opening the New York Building Congress yesterday loaded to bear with fight, a lot of Good Fight, demanding continued federal funding for infrastructure. Along the way, he recalls his own version of the tortured path from Ground Zero grind to the Memorial Moment of meditation to come. It's quite a version and well worth a close read as he "recalls" Libeskind's master plan as "gardens in the sky" and how that was "replaced with another vision, as realities of the site, the market" set in. Then he talks about "Breaking Away from Monumentalism" and "The Assessment" thanks to the Port Authority, which may or may not be the stinking months of pissing match between PA and Silverstein as they wrangled about responsibility for building the first then the other towers. Sit back—but fasten your seat belt—You'll be amazed to read what you went through: Welcome I want to start by thanking Dick Anderson and the New York Building Congress for the invitation to speak here today. For over 90 years, the New York Building Congress has championed infrastructure investments and supported the Port Authority in its mission. Their most recent report “Building Infrastructure Pays Dividends” quantifies just how important this type of investment is. Introduction In twelve days, the world will gather Downtown to remember and commemorate the nearly 3,000 people who were lost on September 11th, 2001. It will be ten years. When the family members gather alongside President Obama, Governor Cuomo, Governor Christie and Mayor Bloomberg on that day, they will place their hands on the bronze parapets etched with the names of those we lost. They will see the fountains flowing into the voids of the original World Trade Center. They will walk among the hundreds of Swamp Oak trees planted on the plaza. This, frankly, is a remarkable achievement. It is a testament to the discipline and hard work of Port Authority engineers, our partners and the construction workers toiling on site. For many who lost their loved ones, this event may not bring closure. The attacks of September 11th were so devastating that closure may never be the appropriate word to describe how we come to terms with that terrible day. But I believe that the tenth anniversary does represent a significant inflection point. Dates are important. And on this anniversary, I believe the opening of the Memorial Plaza represents the end of the World Trade Center site’s past and the beginning of its future. For the first time, the public will be able to walk among the trees and fountains and in so doing, begin the important process of weaving this Memorial at the heart of the site into the fabric of New York City. Today, I want to talk about how the Port Authority stepped back from a difficult conversation about what the World Trade Center should be, stripped the site of what I call monumentalism, and focused on construction, of what it could be. I will then talk about how the challenges that we have faced at the site are unfortunately part of what I would call the deterioration of the social contract. And I will argue that in order to build the next generation of critical infrastructure projects, we need to restore a critical constituency – the pragmatic center. If we are again to become a nation, a City, of builders, current politics cannot endure; we will not only lose the public works that made us great, we will lose our democratic center that has bound us as a nation. A New Downtown On the 10th anniversary, the public will get its first real look at the New Downtown. They will see the Memorial Plaza, a place of profound tranquility for those who lost a loved one and wish to honor their memory. To read a name. But the Memorial Plaza, with 8 acres of unique green space, four times the size of Bryant Park, will also be the heart of a New Downtown. It will be a shaded park for office workers to grab a sandwich; a place for a couple to meet in the early evening before a date; or, a shortcut on a rainy day. It will be New York. The Port Authority’s investments will yield the magnificent Calatrava Transportation Hub, which will redefine the commuter experience, connecting 13 subway lines, 33 bus routes, the PATH system and our Ferry Terminal – the most mass transit connections anywhere in New York City. With our new partners from Westfield, this new site will house world-class retail and restaurants throughout nearly 500,000 square feet in total. With more retail space than the Time Warner Center, this – together with a collection of new public parks – will make Downtown the 24/7 community that Mayor Bloomberg, Shelly Silver and the community have long envisioned. And finally, with One World Trade Center, New York will have a new exclamation point in the sky. One World Trade Center will be Downtown’s counterpoint to the Empire State Building in Midtown, restoring that balance to the skyline. New Yorkers take pride in their skyscrapers, and as the building reaches its towering apex, it will become a vital part of daily life in this City. The site will be open, it will be democratic, it will be a clear demonstration of the City’s energy and vitality. It will be the New Downtown. Monumentalism at the World Trade Center But this reality was not always a foregone conclusion. For many years after the attacks, the World Trade Center site was bogged down by what I call “monumentalism.” The tension between the visions of monumentalism and the recurring reality of failure, of visions and plans unrealized, is not unique to the World Trade Center. It has been present throughout the City’s history. Think of the colossal vision for a huge East Side development for the United Nations – what was then dubbed “X-City” – a plan to build six skyscrapers, three housing complexes, one hotel, an opera hall, a yacht landing and a heliport. That monumental vision was ultimately reduced to the more practical size we see today. Even the original plan for the World Trade Center was not the 16-acre site on the west side, but a huge low-slung complex taking up most of the East Side highway. But think also of those visions that were realized. That today define New York. I think it is fair to say that Olmstead’s monumental vision for Central Park defines New York perhaps more than any other project. But what would New York City’s urbanism be without Rockefeller Center? Think about the transformation still underway at Battery Park City. So we have seen monumentalism succeed triumphantly and we have seen it fail spectacularly. Through the early years, the World Trade Center straddled this divide between success and failure. Think of the early days after the attack, the City itself launched into a collective exercise to fill the void. Seeking the visions of world-class architects, eight plans were put forth. Some so out of context, in terms of shape or form, they went well beyond reimagining the City. Think about how Downtown was described at the time, the very language that was used to describe the vision. There was the rhetoric of patriotism, of national pride, of sending a message – that New York must be number one again. Leaders and elected officials spoke time and again of the monumental need to build a new downtown. And so, in 2003, the Libeskind Master Plan was adopted. Soaring glass towers, glinting sunlight, gardens in the sky, sunken highways, and a vast memorial space. But soon that plan was replaced with another vision, as the realities of the site, the market, and what it might actually look like began to set in. I would argue that what filled out that Master Plan became even more monumental, as the City poured its whole civic heart into the site. And so came the tallest skyscraper in America, 10 million square feet of office space, a museum and memorial of such breadth and power, a new street grid, the third-largest transportation hub in the city, and a performing arts center. It was all to be there, on sixteen acres, linked together in one monumental project. And it was all to rise at once. Breaking Away From Monumentalism [PS! You know who you are!] By time I became Executive Director, the monumentalism of the World Trade Center Site Plan – the tension between its soaring vision and the realities of construction – had reached a breaking point. At that point, what we had was a beautiful set of renderings, but very few blueprints. So the Port Authority undertook a comprehensive assessment of the World Trade Center project. [PS! Some might say The Assessment was May 2006 when Guv Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg brought in Frank Sciame to figure out how to keep Memorial in line with promised $500 million budget.] As we undertook the Assessment, there was a desire in some corners to reverse the trajectory of the seven years since 9/11, to wipe the slate clean and start again. But, as we quickly realized, there was no rewind button to undo the billions of dollars already committed. What we could do, however, was level with the public about the circumstances on the ground and be forthright about cost, schedule and risks. We were candid about the difficult challenges facing the site. Then we went out began attacking each one. Before the Assessment, the 9/11 Memorial was not scheduled to open until 2013. This was simply unacceptable. But by setting a clear priority – to actually open on the ten year anniversary – the Port Authority engineers did what engineers do best. They solved the problem, seeing a whole new way to approach the job. Instead of building the Transportation Hub from the bottom up, we switched the design to build it from the top down. This way, the Hub’s roof, which doubles as the Memorial Plaza’s floor, would be finished in time for the ten-year anniversary. From there, we re-engineered the Transportation Hub itself, simplifying the beautiful, yet extraordinarily complex Calatrava design [P.S.! Still costs over $3.2 billion dollars]. And we completely restructured our procurement process – the way we buy and implement the billions of dollars of construction contracts – going from a huge single package of work with no real milestones and little accountability to multiple smaller packages that we competitively bid to a hungry market. It is amazing what a little competition can do. I often compare the site to an enormous game of pickup sticks, where you can’t change anything without affecting the entire site. Over the past years, the Port Authority and our partners – the 9/11 Memorial Foundation, Silverstein Properties and the hundreds of contractors on site – have gotten very good at playing pickup sticks. I want to personally thank Joe Daniels and Larry Silverstein for their partnership in getting us to this point. It has truly been a team effort. Aside from the creative engineering solutions we implemented, we also made other, more symbolic decisions to reposition the site. Perhaps no other action speaks to this more than our renaming the Freedom Tower to One World Trade Center. The name Freedom Tower loomed over the site, carrying all the symbolism and monumentalism of those early years after the attack. From a real estate perspective, it loaded the site with a difficult image that experts said would make it hard to lease. So we replaced the name “Freedom Tower” and the building’s address, “One World Trade Center.” We were free before 9/11, and we are free today. Just like we had to start treating the World Trade Center site like a construction project, we had to start treating this building like a commercial office building. Making Progress at the World Trade Center Site On the heels of these important decisions, the Port Authority began to make striking progress at the World Trade Center. In 2008, the site was still defined by the family ramp down to the pit. Today, progress at the World Trade Center is advancing on every inch of the site, and you can see and feel the difference. At the Memorial, workers are putting the final touches on the plaza. 225 trees are planted. Grass has gone in and we are getting ready to welcome the world on September 11th. When we published the Assessment in October 2008, our schedule anticipated the completion of the Memorial’s Visitors Center by the second quarter of 2013. As you can see, we are well ahead of schedule. The Visitors Center, which will serve as the entrance to the 9/11 Museum, is nearly complete. At One World Trade Center, we are now at the 80th floor. One World Trade Center is now the tallest building in Lower Manhattan at more than 960 feet above street level, surpassing 40 Wall Street. Floor slabs for One World Trade Center are at the 71st floor and the glass curtain wall is up to the 52nd floor. We are accelerating work on the World Trade Center Transportation Hub's concourse area in the East Bathtub and have made tremendous progress in the Main Hall. Larry Silverstein’s Tower 4 is rising rapidly in the southeast corner of the site, and the curtain wall provides a beautiful reflection of the Memorial’s South Fountain. And all this work is being performed by 3,500 construction workers. At a time when unemployment in this country is at unacceptable levels, the World Trade Center is truly a job creation engine in the region. So we are finally seeing tangible progress. This progress is happening in part because we learned the lessons from the difficulties of the early years – that it is better to focus less on the monumentalism of a project and more on hard and fast decisions like pragmatic design, construction milestones and budgets. The Evolution and Deterioration of the Social Contract But having spoken of this bright future for Downtown, I must share that I do not have the same optimism for both the City and the Country going forward. Like the World Trade Center, we can reverse course, but it will require a major correction in how we talk about infrastructure and how people come to understand their role in shaping this new agenda. Change we must. At times, I worry that America’s dewy eyed nostalgia can blur our real history, but think back to that incredible time of building in America – the Progressive Era. Emerging out of the good government movement – which swept out corruption and the power of political machines – we launched a revolution in infrastructure. It is no coincidence that the New York Subway System, Water Tunnel Number One and Grand Central, the hallmarks of a modern New York, were all opened at that time. It was the Progressive Era because we wanted change; the Nation and City understood its future lay ahead, not in some fixed idealized political past. And, out of this Era, a social contract was formed, establishing an American pragmatism – a center – that said we will endorse a government that, in fact, builds that better world. For the decades that followed, this country continued to build great works of public infrastructure. But that center is quickly vanishing. Across the country and in this region, we have seen both leaders and voters reject that vision. For all his vaunted optimism after the Carter years, Reagan also launched a darker strain in American politics, that somehow government itself is the problem, and that you can always do more with less. No doubt, that strain ran through Gingrich’s Contract With America, Grover Norquist’s No Tax Pledge, and to the Tea Party of today. But the left is not without its responsibility; too often, we have seen rigid opposition to social and private sector market innovation. Today, we are truly seeing the consequences of that slow deterioration of that social contract. The recent debt ceiling debate in Washington is the most depressing reminder. Without action, 90 years of infrastructure investment will be left without a future. But I believe, in a small way, The World Trade Center Project provides somewhat of a model for how we might restore that pragmatic center. In turning the site from a monument into a construction project, setting realistic budgets and deadlines, we were candid and transparent about how much it would cost and when it would be completed. For the public’s support and endorsement, that must be the foundation of all large-scale projects moving forward. Whether it was the early years of the Trade Center, or more dramatically, the Big Dig in Boston, the public has grown increasingly cynical of what we do. But shaped by a different narrative, not one simply characterized by boondoggles for what was obvious cost underestimating, the Big Dig was a huge success for Boston. Think of it: Two Major Tunnels, a brand new bridge, a beautiful park built over the highway, all of it linking Boston back to its historic waterfront. I would say they got their monies worth; what they did not get was realistic schedules and budgets. That is government’s responsibility. Restoring the Pragmatic Center But the public and each one of you have a responsibility as well. We all need to be a part of restoring that pragmatic center and changing the political conversation. The Port Authority recently sought to significantly raise its tolls and fares, and inserted itself into that conversation. In an instant, we became subsumed in the political environment I have been describing – one with little capacity to support the investment our region’s economic backbone so desperately needs. By the end of it, we emerged with a ten-year capital plan that in some ways is all too modest – one that keeps our transportation network in a state of good repair to be sure, but not one that expands it in any transformative way. That agenda was unthinkable in this environment. But what have we lost when the standard is not whether you can get to your job efficiently, fly around the world, ship billions of tons of cargo, or even build a brand new City downtown? No, it has become the price of a pair of blue jeans, the cost of a new TV. Surely, this cannot be the standard by which we judge or govern a great City. Unfortunately, you cannot always do more with less. Sometimes you must simply do more. And until that reality becomes part of our political conversation, we will be playing catch up with the rest of the world. Change we can. But change has to come from both government and its people. I have known many of you for years. I know what you stand for. What is important to you. You are the pragmatic center. I believe we can build the next generation of critical infrastructure projects, and I believe we can restore that social contract. But we need your help to get there. Conclusion At the World Trade Center today, we have proven that by restoring the public’s confidence, we can build big. By focusing on the decisions that really count, by putting aside monumentalism, we are ready to open the Memorial in 12 days, a goal that seemed unthinkable three years ago. But we are not just building a Memorial, we are delivering a vibrant city within a city – a sprawling Transportation Hub, the tallest skyscraper in North America, and the critical infrastructure to support it all. And while it is the Port Authority’s job to translate the site’s monumental vision into concrete, steel and glass, the World Trade Center will not be what a politician or a cultural leader tells you it should be. It will be what you make it. It will be your Downtown. Thank you.
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A Memorial Emerges
Main stairs into the museum beside the Survivor's Stairway (covered in wood planks).
Tom Stoelker / The Architect's Newspaper

Descending a monumental staircase, visitors will reach the bedrock level that houses permanent, rotating, and age-appropriate exhibits. This space, originally the twin towers’ six-story parking garage, is “a room about the size of Grand Central,” said Steven Davis, a partner at Davis Brody Bond Aedas (DBBA)—bigger than the Whitney or the Guggenheim. It took a single morning for the World Trade Center towers and superblock to become Ground Zero. A decade after the attack, the site has morphed from a projection screen for national dreads, factional controversies, and civic aspirations into a real, tangible place. When completed, it will be part public park, part private sanctuary, part cultural touchstone, part archaeological site, part tourist magnet, and part reinvented commercial center on a restored street grid. Still recognizable, through all its evolutionary stages, is Daniel Libeskind’s original master plan, or at least an iteration of it.

It is not a single vision, but “what survives, through a rather excoriating process,” said Memorial designer Michael Arad of Handel Architects. In interactions with Libeskind, Peter Walker, DBBA, Snøhetta, and others involved on or near the plaza, Arad reports, “the ball bounces back and forth from one to the other, and you pass it, and it changes...in the process it gets enriched with meaning and complexity.”

The first component emerges this fall, when the National September 11 Memorial opens on 9/11/11 for bereaved families, then on 9/12 for the general public. It will be followed a year later by the 9/11 Museum, occupying a seven-story, 98,000-square-foot underground space beneath the waterfalls flowing into the twin towers’ footprints. While the below-grade museum is designed by DBBA, its entry pavilion is by Snøhetta on the plaza. SOM’s Tower One is reaching its 60th floor at this writing, with completion estimated for 2013, followed by Fumihiko Maki’s Tower Four (2013), and the transportation hub (2014); Towers Two by Norman Foster and Three by Richard Rogers are on an indeterminate, market-dependent timetable.

World Trade Center   World Trade Center Memorial
Rendering of the underground Slurry Wall and the final column removed from the site, now wrapped and installed in the museum (left). Rendering showing aerial view of void pool, Snøhetta's museum building, and two vent structures (right).
Courtesy Squared Design Lab [+]
 

The original twin towers went from groundbreaking to completion in seven years (1966–1973). The Burj Khalifa arose in six years; the Empire State Building, in 410 days. According to data from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, over the past ten years (including partial data for 2011), China has completed 133 buildings over 200 meters tall.

Do apples-and-oranges comparisons put Lower Manhattan’s pace in context or muddy the waters further? Disputes delaying construction recur in local debates and headlines, but complaints about the timetable have it backward, says Snøhetta principal Craig Dykers. “I always feel that it went too quickly,” he said. “Very few people you’ll find saying that, but I strongly believe this. I think there was too much emphasis on speed,” Dykers said adding, “You cannot compare [the World Trade Center site to] the Empire State Building”—a single-owner project on clearly defined property. To Dykers and others who have come to understand the site’s complexity, the gravity of its demands, and the quality of the work done to date, what’s striking about the Museum/Memorial component is not that it’s taken so long, but that it is achieving so much so fast.

Having worked on Cairo’s Alexandria Library, another emotionally and culturally laden project (lasting 13 years), Dykers finds that Ground Zero’s difficult collaborations have harmonized aspects of the mission that might easily have been discordant. As a memorial, he says, the site looks back toward the Earth, history, the traumas of September 11, and the dead, as it reconnects with the living city. Its “skyscrapers are incised into the sky...pointing upward to the place that we often associate with the future,” he said, and embodying the inherent optimism of commerce. Snøhetta’s three-story Museum Pavilion, the only building on the 8-acre memorial block, draws light deep into the connected Museum atrium by DBBA and creates a transition zone between the city’s energy and the Museum’s solemnity. The low-slung pavilion, whose angled steel panels and mullions introduce a Libeskindian theme of purposeful dissonance, contrasting with what project manager Anne Lewison calls the “corporate signature” of the four towers, includes a private area reserved for the families and a public auditorium. Snøhetta’s original commission—the cultural building housing the Drawing Center and the politically sensitive Freedom Center—fell out of the planning in 2005, but Dykers insists that “there is still a cultural center on the Memorial... an edifice that responds both to the lives of those lost and to the future through culture.”

World Trade Center   World Trade Center Memorial
World Trade Center Memorial
Clockwise from left: Construction of the interior wall of the south void pool; a rendering of the "ribbon ramp" and its observation platforms; the ramp under construction.
Rendering courtesy Davis Brody Bond Aedas
 

On its upper floors and roof, Snøhetta’s building also includes 13,559 square feet of mechanical space, cores, and shafts, out of a total of 59,136 gross interior square feet. Throughout a site that is tightly interwoven in three dimensions—Dykers and Lewison comment that it typifies New York’s tendency to delineate spaces both in plan and in section—such multi-functionality is to be expected. Lewison points out that bearing beams and steel webs both within and beneath the Pavilion strike non-orthogonal angles that are as functional amid the site’s tricky alignments and transfers as its panels and mullion grid are expressive. The Port Authority’s October 2008 report to Governor David Patterson identified a deck-over construction strategy—building the roof of the PATH mezzanine (which doubles as the floor of the Memorial Plaza) before the remainder of the hub—as an operational solution allowing completion of the Plaza in time for the first-decade anniversary. Structural engineer WSP Cantor Seinuk has provided a system of four-foot-thick concrete shear walls, blast walls, and steel-supported concrete slabs below this plaza roof, providing lateral seismic resistance and allowing construction vehicles to serve multiple projects while maintaining uninterrupted PATH service. “The structural gymnastics that went into making this situation work were beyond daunting,” said Davis pointing out a mere wall separating his firm’s space from the PATH mezzanine during a site tour.

The subterranean museum, Davis reports, developed in part through changes in Arad’s initial design, which called for an underground memorial gallery, four ramps per pool, and views through the waterfalls. He is succinct about this change, the subject of a much-publicized clash with Arad: “Because of security concerns, that became untenable.” Another factor, says museum director Alice Greenwald, was Libeskind’s recognition of the metaphoric power of the slurry wall holding back the Hudson, leading to its designation as an historic asset. “We are obligated by federal landmark preservation law to make the slurry wall available to the public to see, which is actually the reason the museum is located below ground,” Greenwald said. The 2006 decision to bring all memorial functions to grade, she says, was a critical milestone, not only halting cost escalation but also consolidating the components and articulating the Memorial/ Museum complex as “its own precinct.”

World Trade Center Memorial   World Trade Center Memorial   World Trade Center Memorial
Left to right: Photographs of the victims will line this room in the memorial, where the floor of the original structure will be exposed; Rendering of the space beneath the pool with the stairway and "ribbon ramp" in the background; and a rendering of the memorial showing an original column in front of an observation platform (right).
Rendering Courtesy Squared Design Lab [+]
 

Visitors will follow a coherent path, a Dantesque sequence of descent, contemplation, and ascent (Greenwald calls it “a light-touch experience, not a forced march”). Descending from the Pavilion by stairs or escalator past an iconic pair of the original towers’ 70-foot trident columns, one follows the gently sloping “ribbon” ramp, which doubles back twice to offer broad views of the vast space at west and east overlook points before a break point at the Vesey Street Survivors’ Stairway (relocated and preserved under glass). “We made a very conscious decision for people to arrive at bedrock between the two towers, with no bias for one or another,” says Davis.

Descending the monumental staircase, they reach the bedrock level and the space as large as GrandCentral and bigger than the Whitney and Gugg, Davis said. The exhibition level, where the void pools hover above the original towers’ sheared-off box columns—precisely above them, Davis notes, not a few feet off as in early plans—are aligned with the illuminated square patterns of column stubs to create columns of light in airborne dust. “Everything about this experience,” he notes, “is scale and authenticity.”

The undersides of the pools, Davis adds, will be clad with a unique material, Cymat Alusion foamed aluminum, formed under high pressure with superheated gas and used for strong, light structural bracing in airplane wings. With a surface of myriad reflective facets, the aluminum will resemble a fog when under-lit, becoming “essentially buoyant,” Davis said. “It will dematerialize. It ceases being a solid material...and takes on an eerie, almost apparition-like glow.” Large artifacts already delivered to the Museum include the final column removed at the end of the nine-month recovery period, now preserved against construction-phase dust, debris, and other atmospheric conditions inside an air-conditioned chamber near the west overlook.

The ascent back to plaza level returns the visitor not immediately into urban clamor but to a meditative space defined by Arad’s now-familiar fountains and a grove of some 400 swamp white oak trees in an “abacus bead” alignment: orderly rows when viewed along an east-west axis but naturally randomized when seen from north to south. “There are some unbelievably advanced things going on in this landscape,” Davis says, saluting Walker for the system of pavers, cobblestones, precast concrete tables, soil troughs, and rainwater-capture irrigation. Like so many of the memorial’s abstract elements, the fountain technology is more complex than it looks: fluted weirs by Dan Euser Waterarchitecture guide water flow, and the voids’ massive scale (nearly an acre each, 192 feet on each side, with 176-foot-long waterfalls) makes precise leveling imperative. “If that weir were up an inch anywhere,” says Walker, “the water would run around that inch, and you wouldn’t have the continuous [flow].” Tested last November, it worked on the first try, Davis reports, and it will continue working thanks to a threaded adjustment system to allow for differential settlement over time.

World Trade Center Memorial
Clockwise from left: View underneath the north void pool whose surfaces will be covered in aluminum foam; exposed detail from the original World Trade Center; a row of shaved bases of columns that supported one of the towers; the slurry wall which was designated an historic asset; a detail of one of the original column bases in the subterranean museum and memorial.
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  World Trade Center Memorial Detail
World Trade Center Memorial
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World Trade Center Memorial Detail
 

Walker credits forester Paul Cowie and transplant/transport specialist Tom Cox for helping resolve the “huge technical issues of trying to grow trees on top of a seven-story building of this size.” New York street trees are stressed enough by particulates, noise, radiation, and disease to live an average of only seven years, he says, but these oaks are expected to live for 80 to 100. After a year of forestry research, the species quercus bicolor was chosen, one of only six or seven deemed hardy enough for these conditions. The trees represent the five states where most 9/11 victims resided and have spent the past several years in a New Jersey nursery with a climate similar to Manhattan’s, fed and tended with a precision that makes them, in Walker’s words, “virtually identical, all straight leaders, all virtually the same tree.” He adds, “I’ve never had a chance to do this over time” in the U.S. This is his first American project as sophisticated as those of Swiss and German nurseries.

One component that may surprise visitors is a pair of concrete monoliths along the site’s West Street border, where original plans called for a one- or two-story museum entrance pavilion (removed in 2006 when public functions were brought up to grade and the museum and plaza entrances were consolidated on the east). Currently, the two structures are an unavoidable utilitarian eruption into the plan: vents. Among feasible airflow options for the site’s subgrade spaces—the museum, train stations, chiller plants, extensions of commercial spaces, and others—the West Street structures are far less intrusive, Walker explains, than what engineers initially saw as necessary: numerous smaller vents scattered around the memorial plaza. “I think there were 17 or 18 of them... frankly, I couldn’t see how you could build a memorial with all these vents. Because of the security, these vents had to be pretty tall, as much as 20 feet off the ground. So they were formidable. Our task in the Memorial was to produce this flat plane from which the voids fall down 30 feet....You just can’t do that with all this other stuff around. You have to produce a plane with which you can cut these voids if they’re going to be powerful. So we did a model, which we later called the Awful Model, where we had all the vents and colored them bright orange, and we took them to the Governor.” The reaction by Pataki’s chief of staff John Cahill was, “That looks awful.” He ordered the engineers to remove them all. The two West Street volumes and a few flat grates “essentially have collected all the vents that absolutely have to come up,” Walker notes. “It solved the security problems and also grouped all the vents together, which took a lot of engineering.”

World Trade Center Memorial

World Trade Center Memorial   World Trade Center Memorial
Clockwise from top: Two vent buildings flank the grove of oak trees above the underground museum; the southern pool under construction; the granite-paved plaza with museum entrance in the background.
[+ Click to enlarge.]
 

Few preliminary renderings emphasize the vents, and tree growth will make them less conspicuous over time, but they suggest how the site has evolved to keep its aesthetics and its emotional weight in counterpoise with its practicalities. It is developing within an atmosphere of relentless scrutiny, likely to re-intensify as each component opens, no matter how “Ground Zeroed out” some New Yorkers have grown over the long decade. “Part of the obligation of memory as human beings,” said Greenwald, “is that this is not somebody else’s tragedy; this is our tragedy. It belongs to all of us”—even someday to those who will have no personal memory of Sept. 11, those who may visit once in a lifetime in search of a history lesson, and those who drop by daily from a nearby office seeking a shady place to eat lunch.

If the site’s mission inspires awe, its execution evokes humility. “The awe wears off,” admitted Arad, and control is impossible on any level, from building placement on the site to the fine details of translating the two-dimensional Optima Nova font into the three-dimensional lettering of names on the fountain parapets. “It’s all about letting the site speak for itself,” he said, “not trying to come in here and impose a clear and reductive narrative,” his own included. “I don’t think you can force understanding or an epiphany on anyone, but you can create that space that allows people to have their own epiphanies.” After a decade of contention among parties trying to impose their stories on the Memorial, what the public will ultimately perceive and use is not time, political process, or even values, but the dialogues of expertise that generate a spatial performance.

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Tear Down for What?

Selby Library by SOM’s Walter Netsch may be demolished in Sarasota bayfront project
A Walter Netschdesigned library is under threat as plans move forward for a much-anticipated, community-backed bayfront development in Sarasota, Florida. On Thursday, September 6, the city’s planning board voted 3-2 to approve phase 1 of The Bay project, a 53-acre recreational and cultural complex which indirectly calls for the demolition of the old Selby Public Library building. According to Sarasota Vice-Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, zero consideration was given to the fate of the 30,000-square-foot structure despite other historic buildings being saved on site. “My biggest issue with this is that the proper process isn’t being taken to determine the library’s future,” she said. “Why is the first step of creating this legacy project destroying a former legacy project?” The Selby Public Library, designed under Netsch's lead at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1976, sits on an underutilized waterfront plot that’s been eyed for large-scale development for over a decade. The building, now known as the G.Wiz Science Museum, has been empty for six years and costs the city $40,000 annually to maintain. Ahearn-Koch and other G.Wiz advocates claimed that leading up to an early September special planning meeting, neither the city nor the public had been officially notified of the decision to take the building down. She also said the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO), which is spearheading the effort, did not provide sufficient evidence for the $10.5-million cost the group estimated that it would take to rehabilitate the 42-year-old structure. The SBPO only provided a presentation with pictures of the proposal, which did not include the G.Wiz building. “Before you talk about why you can’t save a building and repurpose it, you have to discuss the historical and cultural value of it and then figure out how much it will cost,” Ahearn-Koch said. Following the SBPO’s presentation, locals took over the two-hour comment period citing concerns over G.Wiz. According to Ahearn-Koch, the city received countless emails calling for its preservation, but the SBPO team claimed they never received any pleas to save it prior to the meeting. Now the group says it will welcome ideas on how to reuse the building as part of The Bay.  Sarasota boasts a rich architectural legacy and a burgeoning development scene that often gets overshadowed by mega-projects nearby in Miami. The Sarasota School of Architecture includes an incredible roster of modernist buildings by architects such as Paul Rudolph, William Rupp, Mark Hampton, and Ralph Twitchell. According to Vassar College Professor of Art Nick Adams, Netsch’s Selby Public Library, while not widely known compared to Netch's other projects, is a pure demonstration of "field theory," the late architect’s approach to designing architecture around unique geometries suited to the program and environment. “It’s not a building that’s very well-covered in Netsch literature,” said Adams. “But it’s quite ingenious how the shapes of the building have a residence within the location that’s very attractive. There aren’t very many field theory buildings that are still active in their original function. I do hope before they swing the wrecking ball that the city does a proper recording of what was there and what changes were done.” Local architect Dale Parks completed an award-winning retrofit of the library in 2000, transforming it into G.Wiz and adding a soaring glass atrium to Netsch’s design. Parks believes his work didn’t inherently warp the SOM building’s original character. As an expert on the structure, he outright denies any claims that it did.  “We tried to respect SOM’s construction as much as possible, and I know it would be quite easy to restore it,” Parks said. “Whatever repurpose it may have in the future, it’s definitely not going to be a library because the layout doesn’t pertain to future use. But the outside of the building is still there.” The top arguments for taking down the building are that it doesn’t stand up to current FEMA standards and would need to be significantly elevated, and that the city is spending too much money on its upkeep as tenants have shied away from staking claim to it over the past several years. Commissioner Hagen Brody, who voted yes to approve phase 1 of The Bay in favor of demolishing G.Wiz, recognizes its importance but believes removing it from the site will serve a greater good. “The community overwhelmingly wanted green space, not buildings or redevelopment on that site,” he said. "With all of that, the choice was pretty clear. A vote against moving forward with phase 1 would have sent the whole project back to the drawing board after years of public input and would have seriously jeopardized the entire effort as well as fundraising. I believe these are tough decisions, but it’s a positive change for Sarasota and that’s the definition of progress.” The initial build out of The Bay, led by a nearly all-female team from Boston-based planning firm Sasaki, would turn 10 acres of the site’s southern portion into a new public park by 2020. After being selected for the project last October, the team has worked with the SBPO and held an exhaustive community engagement process to shape the final master plan, first revealed in May and updated Friday. Susannah Ross, Gina Ford, and Christine Dunn conceived a grand park and cultural community less than a mile away from Sarasota’s beloved Boulevard of the Arts. One of the structures on the site, the lavender-colored Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall designed by Taliesin Associated Architects in 1969, is included in Sasaki’s latest renderings, only after a major public outcry occurred over its absence in the initial images. Christopher Wilson, president of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, said the specific reuse of Van Wezel isn’t clear, but it’s more or less saved.  “Saving Van Wezel and not G.Wiz makes no sense,” Wilson said. “From the beginning, this building has not gotten the proper attention that it should. The excuse that it’s in the floodplain and not up to FEMA standards is not a reason to demolish it. The city is throwing around the $10 million number prematurely with incomplete evidence.”   Wilson also noted there are five other aging structures on site that have been deemed part of Sarasota’s cultural zone: the Municipal Auditorium (1938), Chidsey Library (1941), Arts Center Sarasota (1949), the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce (1956), and the Garden Club of Sarasota (1959). These buildings will remain during the construction of The Bay. In a letter sent to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune last weekend, Eric Keune, design director at SOM Chicago, provided a list of five ways G.Wiz could be adapted for reuse, including making it an open-air pavilion, a co-working space, or a satellite studio for the University of Florida architecture program. The Architect’s Newspaper was sent a copy of the text, though it has yet to be published. In his argument, Keune wrote that though the structure today is undoubtedly not the Selby Public Library, he believes the building, along with Netsch’s original vision, is still inside it and “only needs to be (re) discovered.” Vice-Mayor Ahearn-Koch feels the same way. For her, this fight is personal and she thinks people need to act fast, as Keune did, if they have ideas. "All too often in this city we do demolition by neglect and this is a perfect example of that," she said. "This is such a stunning building. I remember going to the big stack as a student, checking out a book and going off into one of the side nooks to read. I still feel this can be a very useful building for the future of Sarasota. Our arts community, including our architecture, is who we are, and I just don't see the logic in destroying it." Sarasota's Historic Preservation Board voted unanimously to recommend the SBPO and city commission find a new tenant for G.Wiz, pursue alternative renovation plans, as well as host more community workshops as phase 1 plans move forward. This is the third time in two years the advisory group has advocated for the building. 
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Holy Rollers

Milton Resnick’s former studio reopens with retrospective of his work
Free and open to the public, the Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation on Lower Manhattan’s Eldridge Street will open to the public on September 15 and 16. The art space is housed in a former synagogue where Resnick (1917-2004) lived and worked, while his wife Passlof (1928-2011) had her own converted synagogue one block over on Forsyth Street. Resnick was one of the original Abstract Expressionist painters and was close friends with Willem de Kooning, through whom he met his wife. Although the foundation is focused on their work, it will also present exhibitions of other artists, readings, performances, and lectures, and welcome scholars. The renovation by Ryall Sheridan Architects attempted to keep the spirit and openness of Resnick’s studio while bringing it up-to-date with such improvements as an elevator and modern-day climate-control. Whereas the original studio was dark and enveloping—it included a double-height space with bare brick walls, kept wide open for large-scale painting without furniture or lighting—the new Foundation is light and open. With blonde-and-gray slat wood floors, white walls, LED track lighting, slate-gray metal staircases, riveted Corten steel plates, exposed brick walls, white scrim blinds, wood joists, silver-handled door pulls, and Duravit sinks in the bathrooms, it has the animus of a Chelsea art gallery. The only traces of its ecclesiastical past are the tall windows in the double-height exhibition space on floors two and three (formerly the painting studio and before that the temple assembly), which are capped with round windows and three carved rosettes on the exterior’s top floor facade along with the inscription of the synagogue’s name and date. The building, originally a tenement, was purchased in 1888 and converted into Bnai Tifereth Yerushalayim (Sons of the Glory of Jerusalem) and the Mesivta Tifereth Yerushalayim. The congregation removed the third floor to create the tall sanctuary, and Resnick later removed the women’s balconies. In the 1960s, a Syrian Orthodox church bought the building, flipped it to the Lincoln African Methodist Episcopal Church, who then sold it to a developer, who converted it into a warehouse and later sold to Resnick in 1977. Passlof’s 1874 synagogue, which the couple purchased in 1963 for $20,000 when it was condemned, was home to Kol Israel Anshe Poland, which installed Gothic windows and fire escapes sporting Stars of David. Passlof’s Forsyth Street building was sold in 2012 for $6.4 million to fund the renovation of the Eldridge Street building. It can be viewed from the back windows of the Foundation, along with new skyscrapers ranging from One World Trade Center, the Herzog & de Meuron tower on Leonard Street, the Gehry Tower on Spruce Street, and a new hotel in Chinatown peeking above the skyline. In fact, the entire Lower East Side neighborhood is still filled with relatively small houses of worship on side streets: the Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum at 280 Broome Street for the Romaniote Jews of Greece, the Angel Orensanz Center at 172 Norfolk Street, Bialystoker Synagogue at 7 Willett Street, Congregation Sons of Moses at 135 Henry Street, Stanton Street Shul at 180 Stanton Street, Congregation Chasam Sopher at 10 Clinton Street, and the granddaddy of them all, the Eldridge Street Synagogue with Kiki Smith and Deborah Gans Rose Window at 12 Eldridge Street. Resnick was born in Ukraine, then part of Russia, the year of the Russian Revolution in 1917. His Jewish family emigrated to the U.S. in 1922, and he studied at the Hebrew Technical Institute in New York City with the intention of becoming an architect. Because the Depression stifled construction, he switched to Pratt for commercial art, then to the American Artists School for fine art. After working for the WPA Federal Art Project, he was drafted into the Army during World War II and studied in Paris afterward. There he met Giacometti, Brancusi, Tristan Tzara, and other art-world luminaries. On his return, he moved into a studio on East 8th Street, where de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Jackson Pollock worked. During the summer of 1948, he first met Passlof, a student of de Kooning’s, who told her Resnick was the individual he “respects more than any other.” The work in the inaugural display, Milton Resnick: Paintings 1937–1987, shows his paintings and drawings, ranging from colorful figurative works to large-scale monochromatic pieces. As he became infirm, Resnick confined himself to the third floor where he worked in a converted closet. This small studio has been preserved with paint splatters, images of Rasputin tacked to the walls, family photos, bas-reliefs of faces and animals, a Polaroid of a tree, Chinese sculpture, his own doodling, jars of paint, cans of brushes, bottles of ink, and a pair of rubber slippers.
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Architecture in the Aftermath

2001–2018: Looking at the architectural history of the World Trade Center
In the early aftermath of September 11, 2001, New York City showed incredible resilience as people banded together to support those who were affected by the tragedy. The fateful day's horrific events took thousands of lives with the collapse of the two tallest towers in the United States, leaving rubble and wreckage at Ground Zero. In an effort to reclaim the site as a powerful and beautiful place to work, gather, and reflect, an unprecedented wave of downtown development began 17 years ago. We've all watched the city build—from scratch—a new complex that doesn’t replace history, but strengthens it. The new World Trade Center stands today as a place of remembrance and as an architectural marvel of the early 21st century—one that was built at an extraordinarily aggressive schedule and isn’t done yet. With a master plan designed by Studio Libeskind, the 16-acre site includes a handful of office towers, cultural facilities, commercial spaces, and parkland all conceived by world-class architects working within the confines of a nationally significant property. One of the most-anticipated upcoming projects, a performing arts center by Brooklyn-based studio REX, is now under construction with an estimated completion date between 2020 and 2022. In honor of the anniversary of 9/11 and what’s to come for the booming site, here’s a look back at the history of the structures that now populate the grounds and the few that remain to be built. 7 World Trade Center Designed by SOM’s David Childs, this 52-story tower was the first completed building to open on the site in 2006. The award-winning structure was also the first office building in New York to be LEED Gold–certified. Its reflective skin features floor-to-ceiling glass panels that reflect the tone of the sky, allowing its westward-facing facade to seemingly disappear from sight. At night, LED installations line the base of the tower with text art from artist Jenny Holzer. 4 World Trade Center Finished in 2013, this Fumihiko Makidesigned office tower stands 72 stories tall with 140,000 square feet of retail on its first five floors. Home to Eataly, H&M, and Banana Republic, it’s part of the Westfield World Trade Center shopping mall, which extends into the adjacent transit hub designed by Santiago Calatrava. Maki and Associates’ minimalist design includes a glazed exterior with colored silver glass that achieves a metallic quality as the light changes throughout the day. The southwest and northeast corners are also drastically indented to provide views for the office space inside.   National September 11 Memorial and Museum The 9/11 Memorial is the heart of the area's redevelopment. Conceived by Michael Arad and Peter Walker in 2003, the memorial design features two recessed pools set within the footprints of the original Twin Towers. These large black voids receive continuous streams of water, with the names of victims etched in the black stone’s edge. The National September 11 Memorial Museum, created by Davis Brody Bond in collaboration with Arad and Walker, houses the physical building blocks of the former WTC campus as well as found artifacts, written articles, and gathered anecdotes from the day of the attacks. Completed in 2014, the 110,000-square-foot museum features an above-ground glass pavilion designed by Snøhetta that welcomes visitors into a light-filled space before descending 70 feet below into the cavernous Foundation Hall, built around one of the original towers' retaining walls. One World Trade Center Designed by SOM’s David Childs, One WTC rises 1,776 feet to the top of the New York City skyline. The 104-story structure opened in spring 2014 with its first tenant, Condé Nast, moving in later that year. The iconic building's form is shaped by eight isosceles triangles that interlock in such a way that the floorplans, square at both top and bottom, are octagonal in the middle. The base of the structure features 2,000 pieces of prismatic glass that refract the changing light throughout the day. Oculus The $4-billion architectural object housing the revamped World Trade Center Transportation Hub features the winged design of Santiago Calatrava. Designed to resemble a bird in flight, the striking structure opened in May 2016 after years of construction delays and budget overruns. Now, it’s the site of the aforementioned Westfield Mall, situated inside a pristinely-white, soaring interior with a ribbed roof. Each year on September 11, the overhead window panels fully retract to reveal an open skylight that stretches the length of the building. The “Way of Light” annually shines through at 10:28 a.m. when the second tower fell. Liberty Park Designed by AECOM’s landscape studio, the 64,000-square-foot Liberty Park is set atop the World Trade Center’s vehicle screening center, providing unmatched views of the memorial and surrounding office complex. It opened in 2016 to rave reviews as the only public part of the site that’s easily walkable, providing a simple pedestrian pathway from east to west. The one-acre open space features ample seating, 19 planters, and a 300-foot-long green wall. Also situated within the park is the Calatrava-designed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, currently under construction but stalled due to fundraising issues. 3 World Trade Center Richard Rogers’s design for 3 WTC was completed earlier this summer as the 1,079-foot tower welcomed its first tenants in June. Designed with a stepped profile, the tower’s corners are accentuated by stainless steel load-sharing trusses that allow for column-free interiors and unobstructed panoramic views of the city. The building also features a 5-story podium and three large-scale terraces. 2 World Trade Center Originally planned with a design by Norman Foster, 2 WTC is the last remaining tower to be built on the campus, now featuring a proposal by Bjarke Ingels Group. The 90-story tower will be made up of seven cuboid volumes stacked atop one another, allowing for green terraces within each setback. Currently, colorful murals wrap around the construction site of 2 WTC as well as the bottom of 3 WTC, showcasing the breadth of new creative talent that’s moved to the Financial District since the new campus opened. Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center Having broken ground just months ago on the northeast side of the WTC campus, the new REX-designed performing arts center will be housed within a translucent, marble-clad box. Through its thin exterior walls, daylight will seamlessly filter into the 90,000-square-foot structure while at night, the white-veined cuboid will serve as a beacon for the site. The building will be divided into three levels with performances spaces and back-of-house support areas. REX unveiled their design for the center in 2016 and construction is expected to be finished within the next two to four years.
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AIA 2018

15 great events to attend during the AIA Conference in New York City
The AIA Conference on Architecture is just around the corner, from June 21 to 23 at the Javits Center in New York City. To add to the excitement, the city will be bustling with architecture events and exhibits, including at MoMA PS1, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and the Van Alen Institute. Here are our editors' highlights for the week. 1) MoMA PS1 
Young Architects Program Museum of Modern Art 11 West 53rd St. (Midtown) June 18 6:00–8:00 pm. Free. RSVPs required* www.momaps1.org Exhibition reception for 2018 Young Architects Program, featuring finalists LeCAVALIER R+D, FreelandBuck, BairBalliet, and OFICINAA. The winning scheme Hide & Seek by Dream The Combine (Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers), opens to the public June 26. Opening reception, limited space. 2) Night at the Museums Various locations June 19 4:00–8:00 pm. Free. NightattheMuseums.org Fourteen Lower Manhattan museums open their
 doors, free of charge, as part of this annual event. Visit the Skyscraper Museum, African Burial Ground, Museum of Jewish Heritage, South Street Seaport Museum, National 9/11 Memorial, and others. 3) Architecture Books Opening Reception Storefront for Art and Architecture 97 Kenmare St. (SoHo) June 19 7:00–9:00 pm. Free. Storefrontnews.org Now on display at the legendary Steven Holl and Vito Acconci–designed gallery, selection of 100 fundamental books, selected by a jury, based on Storefront’s Global Survey of Architecture Books. On June 26, Storefront will host a conference at the New York Public Library Main Branch (6:30–8:30 pm, free), featuring prominent architects. 4) Solstice: 24x24x24 Storefront for Art and Architecture 97 Kenmare St. (SoHo) June 20–June 21 Storefrontnews.org Making the most of the longest day of the year, 24x24x24 brings together 24 designers to shape a day of programming and contribute a seat for a collective gathering during the summer solstice. From dawn until dusk, 24x24x24 is an experiment in collective production in design, action, and thinking. 24x24x24 is collectively organized and curated by a group of architects who will be taking over Storefront for Art and Architecture from 7pm on June 20 to 7pm on June 21. 5) Mind the Gap: Improving Urban Mobility Through Science and Design Van Alen Institute 30 West 22nd St. (Flatiron) June 20 6:30–8:30 pm. Free. VanAlen.org An examination of how populations move through cities, using tools and methods from neuroscience and behavioral psychology. Organized by the Van Alen Institute. AN’s very own Assistant Editor Jonathan Hilburg will moderate the discussion. 6) Summer Solstice Aperitivo
 Vitra 100 Gansevoort St. (Meatpacking District) June 21 4:00-8:00 pm. Free with RSVP* aiany.org Toast the summer solstice with Vitra and Skyline Design. Aperitivi, live DJ, and special exhibitions. 7) Architecture League Prize 2018: Night 1 Sheila C. Johnson
 Design Center Parsons School of Design 66 Fifth Ave. (Greenwich Village) June 21 7:00–9:00 pm. $10 for non-members. RSVP required* ArchLeague.org Lectures by the winners of the Architectural League’s prestigious annual prize, recognizing the nation’s top young architects: Gabriel Cueller & Athar Mufreh, Coryn Kempster, and Bryony Roberts. Followed by reception 8) Modulightor Building Open House 246 East 58th St. (Midtown) June 22 6:00–9:00 pm. $15. RSVP required* modulightor.com Tour Paul Rudolph’s stunning four-story glass townhouse.
9) Infrastructure: The Architecture Lobby National Think-In Javits Center 655 W 34th St, New York June 22 7:00 am–7:00 pm Prime Produce 424 W 54th St (between 9th and 10th aves) June 23 10:00 am – 7:00pm This Think-In is divided into two parts over two days: active engagement with relevant sessions at the AIA National convention to ensure substantive dialogues on professional issues on Friday, June 22; and Think-In panel discussions on Saturday, June 23 at Prime Produce that examine the theme of Infrastructure. Infrastructure is the network of systems necessary for an organization to function. When those systems are degraded enough, the defining functions of the organization fail. The Architecture Lobby has selected this theme for its first National Think-In to generate a way forward and rebuild our discipline’s infrastructure. 10) Architecture League Prize 2018: Night 2 Sheila C. Johnson
 Design Center Parsons School of Design 66 Fifth Ave. (Greenwich Village) June 22 7:00–9:00 pm. $10 for non-members. RSVP required* ArchLeague.org Lectures by winners of the Architectural League’s prize: Anya Sirota, Alison Von Glinow & Lap Chi Kwong, and Dan Spiegel. 11) A’18 Community Service Day Various locations Check-in: Center for Architecture 536 LaGuardia Place 7:30 am–6:00 pm; reception 6:00–8:00 pm aiany.org/a18 Looking for a meaningful way to spend the last day of conference? AIANY encourages you to volunteer for a half or full day of work that will benefit local nonprofits. Roll
 up your sleeps and pitch in on projects that range from upgrading a church kitchen, fixing a shelter’s community room, working a mobile farmer’s market in an underserved community, and installing infrastructure at a school’s educational outdoor garden. Volunteers will have the chance to make a real difference for these organizations and the people they serve, and
 see parts of New York City that they might not otherwise visit. Collaborating firms include: Cannon Design and Stalco Construction, James Wagman Architect, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects, FXCollaborative, Perkins Eastman, and 1100 Architect. Participants must sign up in advance. 12) Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers
 Arnold and Sheila
 Aronson Galleries Parsons School of Design 66 Fifth Ave.
(Greenwich Village) June 22–23 12:00–6:00 pm. Free. ArchLeague.org Exhibition featuring the 2018 winners of this prestigious prize program. This year’s theme, Objective, asked entrants to consider objectivity and criteria by which architecture might be judged today. 13) Panorama of the City of New York
 Queens Museum Flushing Meadows Corona Park Ongoing QueensMuseum.org Conceived by urban mastermind and World’s Fair President Robert Moses for the 1964 Fair, the Panorama is a 1:1200 scale model of New York City, covering 469 acres and including hundreds of thousands individually crafted buildings. In 1992, the original modelmaker updated the Panorama while the museum underwent its expansion, designed by Rafael Viñoly. 14) New York at Its Core: 400 Years of NYC History Museum of the City
 of New York 1220 Fifth Ave.
(Upper East Side) Ongoing MCNY.org What made New York New York? Follow the story of the city’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World.” Framed around themes of money, density, diversity, and creativity, the city delves into its past and invites visitors to propose visions for its future. 15) Designing Waste: Strategies for a Zero Waste City Center for Architecture 536 La Guardia Place (Greenwich village) Through September 1 CenterforArchitecture.org Waste is a design problem. This show presents strategies for architects, designers, and building professionals to help divert waste from landfills. Curator Andrew Blum will lead tours of the exhibition on Friday, June 22, 10:00–11:00 am, and Saturday, June 23, 11:00 am–12:00 pm. This exhibition is based on the Zero Waste Design Guidelines and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Text by AIA City Guide, Storefront for Art and Architecture and AN.
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Outrageous!

The 12 best architecture controversies of 2017
As 2017 fades away, we look back at some of the controversies and debates that stirred up the waters. Here are our most memorable, outrageous topics of the year. We love it when our readers respond and add to the conversation! (See the rest of our Year in Review 2017 articles here.) Pier 55 It was dragged through the courts. It lived. It was taken back in, only to be killed again. Less than two months later, Pier 55 was resurrected for good, ending one of the most entertaining public spectacles of 2017, an epic troll-fest that had two of the city's richest men running to almost every New York paper to leak informationdrop disses, and escalate their mutual antipathy with a vigor rivaled only by Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio’s pettiness. An October deal between stakeholders and opponents assures that key parts of Hudson River Park will be rebuilt, and the governor has promised state money for these projects. Zillow's legal crusade against McMansion Hell Back in June, real estate site Zillow told Kate Wagner, creator of popular architecture blog McMansion Hell, that she had violated Zillow's terms of use on her blog and warned she had just days to delete all offending images from McMansion Hell. When Wagner posted the shocking letter online, architecture Twitter brought the roof of wrath crashing down on Zillow. Just two days and one threat later,  Zillow backed off its legal claims, allowing us to resume laughing at and learning from the nubs and weird turrets of suburban America's mega-homes. The fake architect This year, Paul J. Newman, 49, president and sole employee of architecture firm Cohesion Studios, pled guilty to posing as a licensed New York state architect for work on multiple projects, including an Albany, New York senior center and townhouse developments in the Capital Region. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office dubbed its two-year investigation “Operation Vandelay Industries,” a nod to the fake company George Costanza invented on Seinfeld to collect unemployment benefits. In September, Newman was sentenced to a maximum of seven years in prison in Saratoga County, New York, with more arraignments to follow. Building Trump's border wall In late February, the Department of Homeland Security announced it was accepting bids for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, and the first prototypes for this highly controversial project were revealed in October. Beyond its dubious efficacy and shaky moral foundation, the wall's construction will also destroy wildlife preserves and homes in Texas and possibly other states. Trump tax plan guts Historic Tax Credit The House’s tax plan eliminates the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), an important revitalization tool for municipalities across the country. The Senate’s rules are only slightly better: Its bill would spread out the current 20 percent credit for recognized historic structures over five years, and eliminate the ten percent credit for buildings erected before 1936. When the bill (officially known as Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) went into conference early this month, the AIA said it would lobby hard against the proposed HTC cuts. The sinking Millennium Tower The 58-story Millennium Tower, designed by Handel Architects, has sunk nearly 17 inches since its opening in 2009. Recently, engineers with Arup—employed to work on the currently under-construction Salesforce Tower designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects next door—inspected the Millennium Tower’s rooftop height and found that the tower had sunk an additional 2 ½ inches beyond the initial 14 ½–inch drop recorded last year. Troublingly, the tower is not only sinking, but it is sinking unevenly, resulting in a measurable slant to the 645-foot-tall complex. As the muddy and sandy soils beneath it give way, it continues to tilt precariously toward the Salesforce Tower. Whoops. The Oculus leaks Last year, we asked architects what they thought of Santiago Calatrava's Oculus, the train station in a mall near the World Trade Center. Besides its grand spindly dino bone shape and horrific interior detailing, leaks in the ceiling deposit puddles on the marble floors, and these slippery surfaces have sent multiple people to the hospital. Not only that, a malfunctioning escalator injured two passengers in April. It may prove to be an iconic transit hub, but watch your step for now. The Raiders hoof it to Las Vegas This year, National Football League (NFL) owners approved the Oakland Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas, heralding what could be the final play in the nearly two-year-long drama that has unfolded as several West Coast teams reshuffle hometowns. Las Vegas city officials courted the Raiders for months, offering $750 million in public financing for the team’s Manica Architecture–designed $1.9 billion (yes) stadium proposal. The 65,000 seat stadium—a recycled scheme left over from the team’s attempt to move to Carson, California last year—features a large-scale, retractable side wall that would allow the stadium to become partially open-air. In May, the team purchased a 62-acre site for their future stadium, but it can't move into its new digs until 2020, an awkward situation given the emotionally fraught pre-move negotiations. Zumthor's LACMA scheme The Los Angeles County Museum of Art's (LACMA) $600 million expansion by Atelier Zumthor's will demolish the entirety of the existing William Pereira–designed campus, including a 1986 addition by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer done in the postmodern style. The proposed changes would leave in place the 2008 Renzo Piano-designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum addition as well as the Japanese Pavilion by Bruce Goff from 1988. Despite the 390,000-square-foot expansion's hefty price tag and the sacrifice of several key works of late modern and postmodern architecture, Zumthor’s proposal will generate a net loss in gallery space for LACMA. Instead, the new museum will be designed as a singular mega-gallery carved up into differently-sized rooms. Plans call for the proposal to undergo further review over the next several months, and construction is expected to begin sometime in late 2018. Monument removal After white nationalists provoked violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and amid a national climate of heightened bigotry, cities and towns across the county are re-evaluating their public monuments. With little fanfare, under the cover of night, the City of Baltimore took down four Confederate monuments in August. After protests, New York City established an independent commission this fall to review the city’s public monuments for "symbols of hate." Other monuments are being tried in the court of public opinion: Is Christopher Columbus an Italian hero, or an imperialist monster? What about Teddy Roosevelt? The weight of history bears heavily on these questions. Zaha's sidelined Manhattan supertall The major redevelopment of the Kushner Companies' 666 Fifth Avenue building by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is stalled for good. Kushner’s partner on the project, Vornado Realty Trust, has decided to simply renovate the site’s existing structure. Kushner’s original plan with ZHA called for stripping the current building down to its steel core and extending it up into a 1,400-foot-tall slender cigarette of a tower. 'Hands off my Johnson' Architects took to the streets to protest changes to the AT&T Building, Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s iconic postmodern tower. Among other changes, the Snøhetta-led redo would glass in the building's signature 110-foot-tall arched stone entryway. Denise Scott Brown, Sean Griffiths, Adam Nathaniel Furman, Paul Goldberger, and others took to AN's pages to weigh in on the design (TL;DR glassing in the base is clearly a bad idea). Thanks to activists' efforts, the pomo marvel on Madison Avenue is now up for landmarking.
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Breaking News

U.S. Pavilion announces design teams for 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale
Seven design teams have been selected to represent the United States in the U.S. Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.  The pavilion's curators, Niall Atkinson, from the University of Chicago; Ann Lui of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Los Angeles–based critic and curator Mimi Zeiger, selected Dimensions of Citizenship as the theme of this year's exhibition, to engage architecture in the timely question of what it means to be a citizen. According to the curators, the selected teams represent a range of design practices, from the technical to the speculative, but "are united by researched-based methodologies and the drive to use that research to push boundaries—formal, disciplinary, and political.” Each team will examine a different dimension of design and citizenship. Their projects will be placed in dialogue with existing projects by architects and other practitioners, who will be announced later. The selected exhibitors are: Amanda Williams + Andres L. Hernandez (Chicago, IL) This duo brings an artistic and political bent to the Pavilion: both Williams and Hernandez have training in architecture and explore themes related to race, vacancy, and blight in urban landscapes. Williams is most widely known for her work Color(ed) Theoryshown in the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennale; Hernandez is co-founder of the Revival Arts Collective as well as the founder and director of the Urban Vacancy Research Initiative. DESIGN EARTH (Cambridge, MA) Headed by MIT's Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy, this design research practice works on the geographies of technological systems from speculation into the problems posed by waste management to the fate of oil-rich landscapes. They're currently at work on an exhibition titled Geostoriesa "manifesto [...] on the environmental imagination presented in architectural projects that engage the planetary scale with a commitment to the drawing as a medium." Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Cambridge, MA) This heavy-hitting firm will already be familiar to many. Best known for their work on the High Line in New York City, The Broad in Los Angeles, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Chicago, DS+R brings a seasoned, interdisciplinary team to the task. Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman (San Diego, CA) This research-based political and architectural practice is comprised of two professors from the University of California, San Diego (USCD): Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman. Over the years, the two have examined issues of informal urbanization, civic infrastructure, and public culture, mostly focused on Latin American cities. They also co-head USCD's Cross-Border initiative, whose mission is "to promote interdisciplinary poverty research and practice in the San Diego-Tijuana border region." Keller Easterling (New Haven, CT) Easterling is a professor at Yale University's School of Architecture and a prolific author of eight books and countless articles. Her most recent publication through Verso, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Spaceslooks at global infrastructure with the angle that "emerging governmental and corporate forces [are] buried within the concrete and fiber-optics of our modern habitat." SCAPE (New York, NY) Founded and directed by Columbia GSAPP professor Kate Orff, SCAPE is a landscape architecture firm with an eye on large-scale ecological resilience. In its winning entry to the 2014 Rebuild by Design competition, Living BreakwatersSCAPE employed multiple lines of storm surge defense including artificial reefs promoting biodiversity in New York City's heavily polluted harbor. Orff has also published an examination of the chemical corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in partnership with photographer Richard Misrach – Petrochemical America – and more recently, Toward an Urban Ecology. Studio Gang (Chicago, IL) Architect and MacArthur fellow Jeanne Gang is also well-known for her designs, from her undulating Aqua Tower to her Women's March-inspired exhibit Hive at the National Building Museum. Studio Gang's international work centers on a design principle of "actionable idealism" – the capacity for design to push public awareness of different issues (whether climate change, inequity, or urban decay) and encourage change – which will lend itself well to this year's theme.

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Additionally, Iker Gil – a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Director of MAS Studio, and founder of its design journal MAS Context – has been selected as associate curator of the exhibition to join the curatorial team of Atkinson, Lui and Zeiger.
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Historic Loss

A Vermont landmark by R. H. Robertson, the Old Dairy Barn at Shelburne Farms, destroyed by fire
Vermont lost one of its agrarian and architectural landmarks this weekend when the historic Old Dairy Barn at Shelburne Farms was destroyed by fire. The 1891 landmark at 989 South Gate Road in Shelburne was a key part of the Shelburne Farms complex designed by the noted architect R. H. Robertson. According to a message posted on the Shelburne Farms website by president Alec Webb, the cause of fire most likely was lightning from an early morning storm on Sunday. The building burned to the ground. “This is an incredibly sad loss to the historic fabric of this place,” Webb wrote. Shelburne Farms is a non-profit educational organization located on a tract formerly owned by the Webb family. Its campus is a 1,400-acre working farm, forest, and National Historic Landmark. Shelburne Farms acquired the Old Dairy Barn, the nearby Breeding Barn, and surrounding land in 1994 from the adjacent Shelburne Museum, according to its website. “The Barn has been structurally stabilized with a new roof, foundation, and beams,” the site states. Robert Henderson Robertson (1849-1919) was born in Philadelphia and designed numerous houses, institutional buildings, and churches, many in partnership with William Appleton Potter. His work included summer cottages in Newport, Rhode Island, campus buildings at Brown and Princeton, and tall buildings in New York City. His 1899 Park Row Building at 15 Park Row, for August Belmont, briefly held the title of being the world’s tallest building. Other Robertson commissions include: the Brown University Library; Witherspoon Hall at Princeton University; Alpha Kappa Lodge at Williams College, the Commodore Charles H. Baldwin House in Newport; the American Tract Society Building at 150 Nassau Street in New York; Engine Company 55 firehouse at 363 Broome Street in New York, and the main lodge at Camp Santanoni, a national landmark near Newcomb, New York. Shelburne Farms, his most comprehensive farm complex, includes Shelburne House, the Breeding Barn, the Farm Barn, and the Coach Barn. He also designed the Shelburne Railroad Station. Megan Camp, vice president and program director of Shelburne Farms, told the Burlington Free Press that the Old Dairy Barn was being used to store lumber and Shelburne Farms planned to renovate it to house educational programs. “Losing one of these buildings is like losing a family member,” Camp was quoted as saying. “You don’t replace a building like this.” Webb said in his message that all activities and programs at Shelburne Farms will continue as usual except for a historic barns tour on Monday, which was canceled. “We are very fortunate and grateful that no animals or people were harmed in the fire,” he wrote.  “It will take a while to assess the full impacts of the loss of this amazing building.” For more on the blaze, as well as images of the fire itself, see this Burlington Free Press article (page may have advertisements with noise).
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The Perelman Center

REX to impress with just-released design of the WTC Performing Arts Center
Today, REX’s design for the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center was revealed before an eager audience of architects, press, developers, and New York City patrons of the arts. “Downtown is back as a premier place for business," said Larry Silverstein, co-founder of Silverstein Properties, a major stakeholder in the World Trade Center site. "There is 10 million square feet of office space replacing what was destroyed on 9/11, and there are 25,000 workers in that space. The neighborhood has become a model of what is best and most exciting about New York. Daniel Liebskind's master plan for the area balanced commemorative function with the need to create a vibrant neighborhood. The performing arts center is an integral part of that and will bring a new dynamic to downtown." Maggie Boepple, president and director of the Perelman Center, noted that the group met with over 200 people—artists, neighbors, and critics—to determine what type of performing space the city most wanted. The resulting program translates the need for flexibility into mutable performance spaces that can be endlessly configured, explained Joshua Prince-Ramus, founding principal of REX. His team created a translucent marble box with a creamy amber pattern straight from a grandmother’s snakeskin purse but with all the requisite gravitas for a building on hallowed ground. “The light comes out like a beacon,” the eponymous Perelman gushed. "[The center] is a simple, pure form that creates a mystery box, defying [visitors'] expectations," Prince-Ramus said. At the intersection of Greenwich and Fulton, and perpendicular to Calatrava's PATH station, the three-story building is "an exciting pop" that dialogues with the entry to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, he noted. The facade is made of the same Vermont marble used for the Jefferson Memorial and the recently-refurbished Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, but the Perelman Center's stone will be sliced thinly and laminated between two layers of glass to improve the structure's performance. Like a magic show, architects from REX's team lined up to pull the model apart, layer by layer, as Prince-Ramus detailed its functions. Visitors enter the coffered main lobby (level one) through a staircase that spills from a steep cut at the top of a 21-foot plinth. The top floor, the Play Level, is comprised of four main auditoria—with 499, 250, and 99-person capacities, plus a smaller flex space—whose acoustic guillotine walls have “an endless number of permutations [for the artistic director to create] that we can’t even predict, and that’s incredibly exciting.” The renderings and diagrams in the gallery above depict some possible arrangements and circulations. The Performer Level, level two, is the building's support area, with practice spaces, dressing rooms, costume shop, and green rooms for performers. In most theaters, these spaces receive scant light; in REX's design, the translucent marble facade allows natural light in. AN spoke with Sebastian Hofmeister and Vaidas Vaiciulis, two REX architects on the project. The layered model took three or four weeks to make, "and at the end, even Joshua was gluing a few pieces on," they said. This video by David Langford (link here) takes viewers through the site, and inside the model, while the section GIF below shows visitor flow through the building: Brooklyn-based REX is collaborating with Threshold Acoustics consultants from Chicago and theater designer Andy Hales of Charcoalblue (the same firm that collaborated with Marvel Architects on the recently opened St. Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO).  The 90,000-square-foot building's design changed “remarkably little” between concept and execution, Boepple said, except to allow for additional security measures. Due in large part to a $75 million donation from its namesake board member, the Perelman Center has raised $175 million of its $250 million projected cost, with $99 million of the funds coming from HUD regeneration money dispensed through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC). The center is expected to open in 2020. For more images and information, visit theperelman.org.