A decade after the 9/11 attacks, the public will soon be able to visit the site, much of which has been fully transformed into the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. While many were dispirited by the years of revisions to and deviations from the Libeskind master plan (which itself had many detractors), AN's recent visit to the plaza, crowded with workers laboring toward the anniversary opening, revealed a vast, contemplative space that we predict will function well as both a memorial and a public space. Next week AN will take a look at the design and offer a preview of the what the public can expect from the space, but, first, a look at how the highly engineered plaza works. With transit tunnels, mechanical systems, and much of the memorial museum located below the surface, the plaza itself could only be approximately six feet thick. Unlike the original World Trade Center Plaza, which many found to be barren and scorching or windswept, the Memorial Plaza is conceived of as an abstracted forest of Swamp White Oaks surrounding two monumental pools outlining the footprints of the original towers. Designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker Partners, with Aedas, the plaza will include approximately 400 trees, 215 of which will be in place for the opening. About one third of the plaza has yet to be constructed, while the Santiago Calatrava designed PATH station is being completed. Plaza plantings are arranged in bands, alternating between bands of pavers and bands of trees, grass, and ground cover. This creates both a unifying visual language for the large plaza and a highly rational system for organizing the mechanical and irrigation systems on the site. Between the planting bands, accessible utility corridors house electrical and security equipment. Drainage troughs divide the planting bands from the utility corridors. The whole plaza acts as a vast stormwater collection tray. The plaza is very carefully graded to channel stormwater into the drainage troughs. Rainwater is collected in cisterns below and recirculated in the plaza's drip irrigation system as well as funnelled into the memorial fountain. The trees grow in a lightweight mixture of sand, shale, and worm casings. Growing and installing the plaza's oaks has been a long process. Given the pace of slow construction, the trees, which have been cultivated at a nursery in New Jersey, are much larger now, most standing around 25 feet tall. Trees were hauled onto the site with cranes and then placed in the planting beds with a specially designed lift. Tree roots will spread laterally, filling in the planting bands, and designers believe they will eventually reach 60 to 80 feet in height. The roots are anchored with bracing under the stone pavers. While the PATH station is being completed, the remaining unfinished plaza is still an uncovered construction site, inaccessible to the public. According to Matthew Donham, a partner at Peter Walker, the construction of that portion of the plaza will be even thinner in depth. Aside from an expansion joint, there will be no visible difference between the two sides.
Posts tagged with "World Trade Center":
Amidst the flurry of activity surrounding the World Trade Center another monument is nearing completion, though this one is not exactly brand new. By the end of this week restorers of the Montgomery Monument at Trinity’s St. Paul’s Chapel will be securing the last arrow tip and guttae to the nation’s first monument. Major General Richard Montgomery died under British fire in 1775 leading the charge at the Battle of Quebec. Benjamin Franklin championed the monument to him from its design to its installation, in spite of the intervening war and paltry coffers. It was also Franklin who scouted the Versailles sculptor Jean-Jacques Caffieri. By 1776 he convinced the Continental Congress to commission the monument. After Caffieri completed the sculpture in 1777, Franklin had the chutzpa to show it off in Paris while the war still raged. One year from declaring independence and the young nation was already commemorating its own. For the remainder of the war the monument was stowed away in North Carolina. By 1787, it found its way to front of St. Paul’s and Pierre L’Enfant, the so-to-be planner of Washington D.C., oversaw the installation. Today, St. Paul’s has become of shrine of an entirely different sort. In the ten years after the 9/11 attacks the church took on the weight of becoming the de facto gathering place for millions of World Trade pilgrims. Its place at the nation’s birth, well documented as it may be, took a back seat to contemporary history. But colonial New York was never the city’s prime tourism draw. “We have no heritage trail. What are we going to see, where Washington lost Brooklyn? It would be a totally inverse heritage trail,” said Sally Webster, a professor emeritus at Lehman College CUNY, who recently wrote book on the monument. “We were a loyalist city.” The monument brings with it a historic subtext and dichotomy that fascinates Webster: that of a city that went from loyalist stronghold to the nation’s first capital in a span of a decade and a half. The monument is a rather restrained tribute with small baroque elements. There are not any literal representation of Montgomery. Instead, two limestone carvings that cluster at the base of the column depict symbols of a heroic warrior: shields, a helmet, club, arrows, oak branches and a broken sword. Between this confection a staid rose column rises to support an urn in front of flat obelisk carved of St. Anne des Pyreenees, a heavily veined gray marble from France. The years since Washington sat in the chapel have been unkind to the monument. Amanda Trienens, senior conservator at Integrated Conservation Resources, said the stone was originally highly polished and was described as red, white, blue, and black. She added that over time carbonate stones, like the marble used on the monument, dissolves on the surface creating the monochromatic pastel effect. “There was a question of do we bring it back to the high polish, or do we retain some of the aging, so we struck a balance,” said Trienens. “We did a honing to remove some of the rough surfaces that refracts from the light.” But the restorers, along with the client and the Landmarks Preservation Commission decided against retuning it its original luster, allowing the patina of time to win out over gloss.
It's been several weeks since our last visit to the World Trade Center site. On our return today we were taken with the manner in which different architects handle ventilation at the site. The most obvious example are the two large vent structures that protrude from the west side of the Memorial Plaza. The concrete buildings are a necessary solution to a complicated infrastructure problem. Davis Brody Bond (now Aedas) designed a mesh mask for the concrete structures and workers were putting the finishing touches on south building today. Snøhetta's Museum Pavilion also holds more than 13,000 square feet of mechanical functions, and it too must vent. In the last couple of weeks the protective plastic was pealed off building, and it appears that openings for vents merge into the metallic pattern on the south face of the building. But perhaps the most elegant solution we saw today came as a surprise. Tower 4 has been racing skyward for a while now; we noted the glass facing the plaza went up a few weeks ago. But it was a delight to see how Fumihiko Maki's vertical vents play off reflective glass panels on the buildings south face, bringing much needed light to a dark section of Liberty Street.
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An abstract vision of the site's future is also a high-tech marketing display.As work at the World Trade Center site progresses steadily, a matryoshka-like replica of it has taken shape on the 10th floor of 7 World Trade. With a view of the construction below, the Silverstein Properties marketing suite occupies the same floor as the WTC architects’ annex offices, providing a tableau of the working architects as well as the completed site to prospective tenants of towers Two, Three, and Four. Scaled architecture studio Radii Inc. have been designing models of the site since its earliest phases, so Silverstein’s senior VP of marketing and communications approached Radii partners Ed Wood and Leszek Stefanski with his conceptual ideas for the diorama. “He wanted it to be big,” said Wood. “Our first questions was, ‘What are the ceiling heights?’” With 14-foot ceilings and 25 square feet of floor space, the team mapped out a footprint of Lower Manhattan from Chambers to Albany streets on the north and south and from Hudson to just past City Hall from west to east. Radii then began to experiment with varying levels of details and abstraction for the WTC buildings. “When you abstract a building, it can be as challenging as making it photo-real,” said Wood. “How do you distill it down to an iconic replica but still have it read as a whole?” They decided to render the models in ⅜-inch cast acrylic with a P-95 finish, a factory matte that lends a frosted appearance to the crystalline forms. More than 60 sheets of 4-by-8-foot acrylic went into the full model. Fenestration is laser-scored on the exterior, and interiors contain ghosts of interior floor plates and cores. Only details that point to the essence of each design are included: Roger’s structural ladder accentuates its verticality, while Calatrava’s transportation hub is distilled into a bony spine and Snøhetta’s visitors center into a gestural representation of the building’s gradated skin. Towers are lit with interior columns wired with rows of LEDs, a concept developed, along with a backlit transparency of the street grid and subway lines, in collaboration with an exhibit electronics technician. Each LED color identifies separate leasing zones, allowing marketing presentations to control the display via iPad. Even with a two-month design process and thousands of parts to be pre-assembled, labeled, disassembled, wrapped, and transported to the marketing suite, the entire installation took place over a long weekend, in time for a post-Memorial Day opening. Ultimately, though, Wood said the biggest challenge was making sure his team had the latest information about the ever-changing World Trade Center site and building designs. As a result, Radii became a sort of clearinghouse for the latest details, often fielding calls seeking the most privileged information. “We even get calls asking how many trees are on the site,” said Wood. “There are 463. And they will grow to 60 feet when they are mature.”
A Little Help from Friends. You can generate beautiful images in Revit. Marc Teer of Black Spectacles says that with a little patience and help from other programs, pretty pictures are possible. Teer advises that certain elements, such as line weight, take a little legwork, but other elements, such as the level of detail, can be managed within the program. Finally, take it over to Illustrator and InDesign to clean up overlaps and polish your drawing off with a wider array of fancy font choices. Public Transit. Who says Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey doesn't endorse alternative transportation? The Star Ledger reports that the governor rode a spanking new State Police helicopter to his son's baseball game yesterday. Branding Transit. If all of us had a state funded helicopter at our disposal, we wouldn't have to be convinced to take public transportation, but, alas... A new report from EMBARQ says that if public transport wants to compete with General Motors, then it had better go toe to toe with GM's $21 billion advertising budget. The World Resources Institute gives an overview of the report. (Via Planetizen.) Fill 'er up. The World Trade Center is doing just swell, thank you very much. With Anna Wintour and Graydon Carter planning to pull up in their big black Town Cars, Crain's reports that now UBS may pluck their staff from their Stamford, CT locale and put them up in one of the downtown towers.
In lower Manhattan, especially today when President Obama was in town to lay a wreath, the world's media was fast talking about Ground Zero. Very few call it the World Trade Center. The GZ term is so widely used that few think twice about it. And yet, just yesterday, a contingent of men and women responsible for rebuilding the World Trade Center braved the cold rain for a conference hosted by the Building Trade Employers Association (BTEA) and found themselves struck on the semantics of just those words. The event brought together the builders and suppliers of the 16 acre site for an update on building progress. Very little was said about the momentous events of the past week or the impending presidential visit, which, like the rain, was going to slow down work. This was a group with a singular focus: rebuilding. BTEA President and CEO Louis Coletti introduced speakers who in turn discussed a particular aspect of the project. But when one speaker referred to One World Trade as "the Freedom Tower," Chris Ward, the executive director of the Port Authority grimaced, held up his index finger to signify the number one and said, "It's One World Trade." With the event over, the room cleared. In the elevator down, a deputy informed Ward that the Daily News had twice reported that the president would be visiting "The Pit" on Thursday. Ward rolled his eyes, clearly exacerbated. So what's in a name? Well, if you had attended as many community meetings as Ward, you'd know. At one community meeting he attended in February, the residents of downtown Manhattan reiterated that they were tired of the 9/11 terminology used to describe their neighborhood. The memorial fountains have been in place for almost a year now. "The Pit" has been filled and trees are taking root. It's a memorial, not a pit. It's One World Trade, not the politically charged "Freedom Tower." And it's the World Trade Center, not Ground Zero.
It's been a couple of weeks since we stopped by the WTC site. The most striking aspect from the street remains the speed with which glass surfaces begin to rise. It seems like only yesterday that three stories of glass wrapped around Tower One. Now with ten stories completed, the quartz-like surfaces start to take shape. At the Memorial Museum, Snohetta's glass has flown up in what seems a matter of days. The facade already reflects the grove, whose trees continue their own march toward West Street.
Glass wear. Alistair Gordon visits the entrancingly translucent Maison de Verre in Paris, Pierre Chareau's 1928 house of glass blocks, and speaks with current owner Robert M. Rubin about his ongoing restoration of the early modernist icon. Here's a preview of Gordon's feature that will appear in the next WSJ Magazine. Steely resolve. The Calatrava-designed PATH hub for the World Trade Center is now over budget to the tune of $180 million, reports DNA. The stratospheric overrun is due in large part to the decision to use extra steel to "harden" the building for security reasons. The Port Authority Board passed the revised budget on Thursday morning, promising to bankroll the extra costs with a contingency fund. Featuring...foamcore! San Francisco's Museum of Craft commandeers a space near the Moscone Center for a pop-up installation that presents architectural model-making as a form of craft. The show offers a glimpse into the process of 20 notable SF-area architecture firms, writes the San Francisco Chronicle. Awards go immaterial. Producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer talk to the Hollywood Reporter about the set design for this year's Oscars (airing this Sunday), revealing that they'll rely on projections to create a constantly changing, animated environment within the Kodak Theater. Architect David Rockwell, who designed the sets in 2009 and 2010 (and snagged an Emmy in the process), this year passed the torch to production designer Steve Bass.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer pulled together a stellar panel of World Trade movers and shakers to update the community Wednesday night, but the crowd wasn't impressed. Chris Ward, executive director of the the Port Authority, was joined at the podium by LMDC Chair Avi Schick, DOT Lower Manhattan Commissioner Louis Sanchez, Downtown Alliance President Elizabeth Berger, president and CEO of the memorial Joe Daniels, State Senator Dan Squadron and Congressman Jerry Nadler. Silverstein Properties' Malcolm Williams breezed through a PowerPoint update detailing progress of the four towers at the site. Ward's presentation showed the robust ribs of the Calatrava structure from underneath the plaza. But Sanchez's presentation outlining plans for the accommodating tour buses took on the most scrutiny. Sanchez's presentation differed little from the one he presented last week before CB1's World Trade Redevelopment Committee. The difference here was the crowd: restless and peeved. This year alone the site saw 1.3 million visitors and the memorial is not even open yet. Once opened, at least 4 million are expected. Many in the crowd said the that the DOT lacked specifics for the curbside drop off locations intended to accommodate an onslaught of tourists that will arrive in less than 200 days. Sanchez argued that visitor limitations to the memorial would cap tourist buses at about six to eight an hour. The crowd was not convinced. When pressed, he said the DOT would provide exact locations soon, but Stringer wrestled an agreement to meet with the community in six weeks time. In other news, One World Trade is half way up, at 58 stories. Tower Four has reached the 17th floor. Tower Three is now at street level and Tower Two's foundation is complete. But Towers Two and Three will have to wait for market thresholds to be reached before continuing skyward. Elswhere, LMDC has allocated $1 million to pedestrian safety at West Street. Also, the LMDC has received a plethora of requests totaling $200 million for the $17 million they have allocated toward arts organizations.
While most of the World Trade Center site whirls in mid-construction, the National September 11 Memorial is a mere 208 days from completion. That thought brings both relief and consternation to local residents who have seen their neighborhood become a national flash point for mourning, controversy, and debate. It is also about to become one of the most heavily trafficked tourist destinations in the country. Accommodating the tourists and their means of transportation is key to the success of the master plan, but traffic components of the plan are still two to three years away from realization. Currently the area sees 1.3 million visitors annually, when the memorial is completed in September, approximately four to five million will descend on a site about the size of one city block. Last night, Luis Sanchez, Lower Manhattan commissioner from the Department of Transportation appeared before the World Trade Redevelopment Committee of Manhattan Community Board 1 to update the committee on plans for the huge tourist influx. He was joined by Joe Daniels, president and CEO of the memorial and museum. Daniels said that the memorial will operate for ten hours each day, with access controlled, as it is at the Statue of Liberty and Washington Memorial, through a time reservation system (TRS) for ticketing. Visitors will not be able to simply show up; they will have to reserve a time slot in advance, primarily by going online. Though first responders and members of the community will be given preferential ticketing, they too must go through TRS until the entire construction site is completed. While this may control the pedestrian traffic to and from the memorial, it is also intended to mitigate bus traffic and “flatten peaks.” Tour buses would have curbside access within walking distance from the site and a layover time of two to three hours. Sanchez said that DOT is also pushing remote transfer plans, such as water taxis from Liberty Island and parts of New Jersey. He noted that visitors would stay longer and spend tourist dollars in neighborhood businesses if they didn’t have to rush back to a bus in three hours time. Sanchez said that the DOT will actively reach out to the tourist industry to let them know that remote transfer tour groups will get priority ticketing and non-compliant companies would have passes withheld. "John Doe bus company isn't going to be able to just show up," he said. Several board members argued the DOT’s presentation lacked enough details on enforcement for bus traffic that is already heavy enough to makes the area one of the most congested in the city. “How many buses are there going to be and where are they going to park?” asked one board member. “We already made one suggestion—for example, New Jersey.”
[ As the World Trade Center continues its ascent, AN stops by the massive construction site for a weekly update. ] From behind a blue tarp shielding the remains of the Deutsche Bank building, the sound of groaning metal being bent into submission has stopped. Debris sits separated in two neat piles, one for crushed cement and the other for metal. A polished Peterbilt mack truck with an empty container made its way through gate to take away yet another load. There were no formalities, but by this time next week the last of the World Trade Center ruins will be gone.
[ As the World Trade Center continues its ascent, AN stops by the massive construction site for a weekly update. ] Lunchtime at the World Trade Center site is a colorful sight even on an overcast and foggy day. Hundreds of construction workers in bright yellow and orange safety vests pour into neighborhood delis and pizza joints, but most crowd into the tiny local gourmet food store, the Amish Market. There, burly gents in hard hats hum to the Nat King Cole soundtrack while choosing prosciutto over pastrami. Make no mistake, these guys know food. Back at the site, just two bays of the Deutsche Bank remain to tear down, a row of windows appeared on the northwest corner of One World Trade, and the steel mullions for a glass curtain wall began to wrap their way around Snøhetta's Museum Pavilion.