[ As the World Trade Center continues its ascent, AN stops by the massive construction site for a weekly update, nevermind the weather! ] This week, through a haze of snow, we got a glimpse of the last bits of the former Deutsche Bank building. Shrouded behind a fence covered in blue nylon, the once 41-story tower is the last remaining physical remnant of 9/11 to be cleared away piece by piece. With visibility low, the sounds of the site take over. From this vantage, the groaning sound of metal being bent and twisted distinguishes itself from sounds of construction, the swirl of cement inside mixers, the hum of truck engines, and the rhythmic clang of metal banging on metal.
Posts tagged with "World Trade Center":
At first glance, it seems that the riot of square white panels suddenly appeared on the base of One World Trade, but photos from the past few weeks show that they were going up all along. Closeup shots taken today reveal metal bolts protruding out from the panels. The curtain wall fasteners for the metallic scrim?
Each week, AN plays tourist at the World Trade Center construction site. Here's the latest. Last night's snowstorm was a dud when compared to the Boxing Day Blizzard. But a half hour walk around the WTC site reveals just how much extra work the weather can add to a day's labor. By noon, workers were still shoveling out of the mess, removing snow laden tarps and generally slogging through the grayish black mess. When returning to the site week after week, certain design elements begin to reveal themselves. Forms become more familiar and building outlines emerge. This week our camera picked out the pair of "trident" columns from the original towers that are a focal point to the Museum Pavilion designed by Snøhetta. The installation of the Pavillion's primary steel construction was completed on December 22nd.
As there are few visible changes on the facade, this week's photos focus on the reinforced concrete at the base of the tower. With much media fanfare, the NYPD opposed initial designs for security reasons. The resulting redesign introduced a fortress-like base and core, which is now visible from the street level. Eventually, the concrete will be shielded behind a metallic scrim, not unlike the one seen next door on Seven World Trade. For now though, pedestrians can glimpse the exposed base to get an idea of the tower's extraordinary strength.
[ As the World Trade Center continues its ascent, The Architect's Newspaper will be checking in each week for signs of progress at one of the country's most exciting construction sites. ] The blizzard did little to deter holiday crowds from flocking to the World Trade Center this week. With few office workers in town, hundreds of tourists crushed onto the slushy sidewalks of Church Street. From behind St. Paul's Chapel, a cacophony of languages could be heard. Construction moved forward with few signs of delay or disruption from this week's snow and by Wednesday afternoon the site was humming as usual. Check out AN's previous weekly photos of the World Trade Center.
[ As the World Trade Center continues its ascent, The Architect's Newspaper will be checking in each week for signs of progress at one of the country's most exciting construction sites. ] The pre-holiday bustle reached a lull today at the World Trade Center site as much of downtown seems to have headed home. Even the cranes were moving at a sluggish pace; but they're still moving. This week, the facets that form elongated triangular corners began to reflect the sunlight a bit more and another row of windows found their way onto the western facade. The holidays are taking hold, too: At dusk, sparkly lights that run the length of the cranes emerge like stars.
The Architect's Newspaper's main office is just two blocks from the Word Trade Center site, so we're keeping a photographic eye on increasingly visible developments at the site. One World Trade will soon break the skyline and all throughout the site there are signs of vigor. Over the last couple of weeks, windows began to appear on some of the structures. It's hard not to be awed, regardless of how unfashionable that may be in an area where locals studiously observe a nonchalant protocol, as though the massive tower were just another visiting celebrity. So don't mind us as we join the out-of-town gawkers and snap away.
Fox News featured Ed Wood and Leszek Stefanski of Radii Inc. last night, giving viewers a behind the scenes glance at a craft little known outside of architectural circles. Wood explained the relevance of architectural models in the face of advances in computer animation. He noted that there is, perhaps, a kind of dishonesty to the flat screen. “The physical model allows freedom,” he said. It was a sound bite that no doubt gelled with Fox producers, who promptly posted the video to their “Rise of Freedom” website under the subtitle “Designing Freedom.”
It'll be at least 4 years before Santiago Calatrava's scaled-back, over-budget World Trade Center PATH station is completed (though as our upcoming feature on Lower Manhattan showcases, everything's been a long time coming, but it seems to have finally arrived). Still, from the start of the interminable process, we've had some of the flashiest renderings around to tuck us in at night. Now comes an illustrated video courtesy the Journal's Metropolis blog that gives us our clearest view yet of just what's planned, as well as what Calatrava meant when he told the New Yorker a while back that he was striving for something akin to Grand Central—a truly great room where the interiors, not the exteriors, would be what truly matters. If this video is any indication, despite all the cutbacks, he's succeeded grandly.
The most recent deal to get the final pieces of the World Trade Center site off the ground was supposed to be, or so the players involved made it seem, the final one. No more handouts, no more delays. But as our colleague Eliot Brown over at the Observer points out, this is far from the first deal that has been brokered between the Port Authority and Silverstein Properties. It is in fact the fourth, and it quite possibly has brought the public's total investment in the private portion of the site—to say nothing of such public expenditures as the $3.2 billion (formerly $2 billion) PATH station—to possibly $2 billion. "While the ultimate public tab may never come to be that high, what is clear is that the amount of public assistance for what is now to be two private World Trade Center towers with 4 million square feet is exceptional, and far more than ever advertised or anticipated when the rebuilding plan was sold to the public," Brown writes.This quickly turns into a lose-lose situation:
One development plan is sold to the public with promises of a certain subsidy level and an expected long-term gain from rent. But conditions change, costs increase, the market worsens, and once it seems too late to turn around and scrap a deal, a developer needs more aid, and the public sector is in a tough place to refuse.[...]The site, of course, is laden with emotion and politics, and the desire to rebuild after a terrorist attack sets the site in a different category than the traditional public-private partnership. But in layering on the assistance at various different points over the past nine years, what is clear from the latest deal is that the total amount of public assistance is extraordinary and tremendous, and one wonders if the current plan would ever have gone forward had the public known its full contribution from the start.It's a pretty sad reality for what was supposed to be a grand gesture in the face of tragedy. But pulling back from all that good will and high hopes, with the comfort of hindsight, it becomes clear this was just another development deal in New York City, possibly the granddaddy of them all. Look no further than Atlantic Yards or Columbia or, hell, the original World Trade Center itself to be reminded that this is just the way business gets done in this town. Which only begs the question, "How long until the next bailout?" Say, maybe, once the now indefinitely delayed Foster tower gets going again?
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.
At the opening of the exhibition on his World Trade Center Transportation Hub, on view now at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute though August 31, Santiago Calatrava’s presentation was impeccably well mannered. He juggled questions with ease, balancing the answers on the tip of his nose, before finally pulling the “child releasing a dove” formal metaphor out of his sleeve. Like his work or not, he is a magician, charming the public with form, feats of engineering, impossibly white compositions, and notions of public service. The Great White Spiny station marks a watershed moment for New York City. Even without the site's recent history, the project's overriding formalism and object-like nature represents an important point for architecture in the city. Given Manhattan's density there is an overriding need to fit in snuggly with one's neighbors. But this time we are getting an object in a field. Before you smugly think Calatrava and his team have created a sculptural memorial to themselves, he freely admits the building will outlast its designer. Perhaps, this is his media savvy working in overdrive, but even with my overly jaded feelings about the profession of architecture, I found his take refreshing. Without being bombastic or self-serving he noted although he loves Grand Central Terminal he has no idea who designed the soaring space. Should Reed & Stem and Warren & Wetmore feel insulted by their forgotten contributions? No, according to Calatrava. He understands when White Spiny opens for use, his role, his name, and his fame will eventually be lost, but the building will remain. With true graciousness he understands the public will see the building and not recall the designers. When asked if he thought the recent whirling drop in the economy had changed architecture and/or the architect's roll Calatrava took the chance to clarify the meaning of economy. The etymology, he pointed out, means “the order of the house” and by reseting the definition was able to speak to the shift away from glamor projects towards more public work and the lowering role of the starchitect and rise of newer, younger designers. Of course much of Calatrava's career has been built on large scale public projects (even as his office has designed its share of ultra towers in Chicago and Copenhagen) and his discussion of the new glory of public work could be thought of as a celebrating his own work. No matter. The Transportation Hub will require a Metrocard to ride the rails, but otherwise is open to public at no charge. This a real public project. The hub represents the return of “A”rchitecture to the public project in New York. For far too long the United States has selected its public projects based on merits of low cost and speed of construction. But design is now seen to carry value, even in the public realm. Many factors have led to this moment, including Ed Feiner's reinvigoration of the General Services Administration and New York City's emulation of these efforts, the slip/trip/ fall of the idea as market as king, and a new administration recommitting the country to the concept of engaged citizenship. These things are stirring and bring hope. In the end, however, hope can fade and results count most. Whether you like the building or the man or not, is not the issue. What is important is that something of great design and real effort is being built, and that we as a nation again care about the public realm and we as architects are able to play a roll in this process. Santiago Calatrava: World Trade Center Transportation Hub is on view Queen Sofia Spanish Institute at 684 Park Avenue, New York City, through August, 31.