Posts tagged with "Ground Zero":

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Fortress Ground Zero? Security Tactics Debated for WTC Towers

On Wednesday, architects and developers gathered to hear colleagues hold forth on the topic of “Innovation by Necessity” at New York’s Center for Architecture, a panel that seemed to promise a semi-sleepy discussion of building information modeling (BIM) at the World Trade Center site. But after several speakers outlined the logistics of the vast construction project, the panel veered into another topic entirely: an eye-opening primer on security strategies at Ground Zero. Moderated by The New York Times’ Charles Bagli, the event brought three speakers together representing the site’s major stakeholders: government, architects, and contractors. First up, Robert Harvey, executive director of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, delivered a sweeping presentation of development around the site (with some details sanitized for security purposes), along with the 50-odd projects below Canal Street that his office coordinates using a high-tech 4-D mapping system. Next, Frank Sciame took the podium. His company, F.J. Sciame Construction, is perhaps best known for working with name architects on complicated designs, and was tapped by Governor George Pataki in 2006 to control soaring costs at the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum. It’s not a surprise then that Sciame homed in on BIM as a tool to analyze and streamline the memorial’s daunting complexity. But when Carl Galioto, senior principal at HOK and an acknowledged expert on BIM, began to discuss security and design issues related to 1 World Trade Center, the crowd was riveted. Galioto, who also worked on Larry Silverstein’s 7 World Trade Center, noted that though Silverstein may not like to hear it, 7 was a prototype for the newer tower. And far more divulging than Harvey’s presentation, Galioto delved into the particulars of floor plans and the design of the tower’s core. In the wake of September 11, Galioto noted, many observers called for escape routes in tall buildings to be located on the exterior, as opposed to the core, as was the case at the Trade Center’s original towers. Galioto compared this to lifeboats set loose within the dangerous environs of the ocean. Buildings anchor on land, he said, and therefore designers must return to the core for both safety and security. To strengthen the core, the structure first needs to be fortified from the outside in. To that end, Galioto described a system of multiple lines of defense inspired by star-shaped forts of the 16th century. In the case of the World Trade Center, the buffer zones are both practical and at times aesthetically disguised. For example, the first zone includes a large park to the south and a smaller one to the north. The second protective zone centers on the base. Here, to the east and west, next to public highways and streets, Con Ed’s utilities hulk next to the concrete shell. The lobby opens onto the larger buffer park to the south. The entire process repeats itself once again in the core, with stand-alone zones of protection—cores within cores. Extensive studies were conducted on how people descend stairs (they sway from side to side) to design the structure. In the fire escapes, doors open away from the direction of traffic, and provide enough distance for people to merge into the descending flow from floors above, just as cars merge on a highway. Perhaps because Galioto was the last to speak, or maybe because he was discussing life or death issues, when the conversation opened to the floor, BIM was left behind and the focus remained on security. At one point, a member of the audience who has worked in Israel asked if New Yorkers weren’t overreacting a bit. Bagli fielded the question first. “In Israel, you have a lot of soldiers on the street,” he said, before adding that machine gun–toting Carabiniere in Rome’s airport didn’t make him feel safe, either. Harvey replied that, in the end, protecting Lower Manhattan was a balancing act. “Downtown is unique,” he said. “It’s the nerve center of the economy. You have to balance risks and mitigation.”
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Ground Zip, Zero, Zilch

That's how much the Port Authority owes developer Larry Silverstein, after an arbitration panel's ruling yesterday, which Silverstein Properties announced in a press release today. The developer had been seeking monetary damages and reduced rents because, Silverstein argued, the PA had delayed in turning over the sites of Tower 2 and Tower 3, also known as 200 and 175 Greenwich, designed, respectively, by Norman Foster and Richard Rogers. The arbitrators, who Silverstein tapped in July, found this not to be the case, though it is not entirely clear why as their decision has not been publicly released. The fate of those towers, and the financing Silverstein has been all but demanding from the PA, remains an open question, but the one victory the developer did win was a reprieve from a 2014 deadline to finish all three buildings, lest control of them revert to the PA. Now, the two have 45 days to work out a new deadline, which could also take pressure off Silverstein to demand financing for buildings some analysts say there will be no demand for for decades. Given the panel's unfavorable decision for him, the fiery Silverstein was surprisingly conciliatory in his statement. “I greatly appreciate the hard work and professionalism of the members of the arbitration panel. They did a huge amount of work in a very compressed timeframe," he said. In its own release, the PA thanked the arbitrators for "issuing a responsible decision that protects public resources while creating a positive environment in which the visible, daily progress on the site can continue moving forward." UPDATE: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in his own statement, hits the nail on the head: “As expected, the arbitration has not resulted in a resolution. But one thing is clear from the ruling: there is a deal to be made. This is a critical moment to move forward with the long-term development of the site. The parties cannot let it pass without progress.” And the Times reports that Silverstein was requesting $2.75 billion—yes, that's billion—in damages, an amount that likely would have gone a long way toward drumming up financing for the other towers.
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Spielberg Wades Into The Pit

Steven Spielberg has captured some dicey events on film: World War II, Alien Invasions, and Dinosaurs gone wild. But none of that can prepare him for the mess that he's about to cover: the World Trade Center. Spielberg is producing a documentary for the Science Channel called Rebuilding Ground Zero, a six-part series set to run next year. The show is the brainchild of architect Danny Forster, who hosts and produces the Science Channel's Build It Bigger, and it will be directed by Jonathan Hock, who  shot Through the Fire, a documentary about Coney Island basketball star and NBA dud Sebastian Telfair. Each episode of Rebuilding will chronicle one aspect of the ultra-slow redevelopment, including the Freedom Tower, the memorials, the park, the museum, and the transportation hub. Perhaps Spielberg will conjure up some CGI magic to make the site look like more than a hole in the ground? We'll have to wait and see.

File Under: Trick

Yesterday, the Observer alerted us to the LMDC's monthly progress report, which abashedly admits that Deutsche Bank deconstruction won't be complete until January of next year. And to think, we'd been promised just this January it would be gone by Halloween. To wit:
That job is nearly finished, city and construction officials said Friday during a city council hearing on progress at the site. Facade removal, in addition to the remediation, should be complete by April, at which point the building’s structure can resume its disappearing act. Barring unforeseen setbacks, the building, long a bitter reminder of the area’s tragic past, will be gone by October. “Halloween ’09, that’s the treat, right?” asked council member Alan Gerson, chair of the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Committee, which held the hearing. “It’s not a trick?” “That’s the goal,” responded Lower Manhattan Development Corporation president Richard Emil, one of a dozen people Gerson grilled about the project over the course of six hours.
And so it goes at Ground Zero.