NEW YORK CITY-More than 15 months after the destruction of the World Trade Center, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. released the proposals created by its chosen seven teams of architects and designers tasked with redesigning the now barren 16-acre site. Featuring environmentally friendly facilities, inter-connected towers, and buildings soaring even higher than its predecessors, the new batch of site plans offers nine unique, modern designs. The final plan for the new WTC, which could ultimately include components pulled from each of the proposals, is expected to be chosen by the end of January. ( began its coverage from the site yesterday morning.)

John Whitehead, chairman of the LMDC, kicked off yesterday morning’s presentation at the Winter Garden by noting that the design teams were each tasked with answering a single question: What does Sept. 11 represent?

“The responses varied, just as our reactions to Sept. 11 were personal and different,” Whitehead said, noting some of the plans “call for buildings to rise high in the sky” in a Phoenix-like symbol of rebirth, while other chose plants, shapes, and water to convey that same feeling.

Agreeing that the new proposals were unique, Louis R. Tomson, president of the LMDC, was also quick to point out that they each “share one important trait: each embodies the program’s requirements,” he stated, noting much of those guidelines were based on public feedback from the failed six proposals that were presented back in July. “It’s no accident that each concept recreates a powerful skyline,” he said. And it’s no accident that each respects the footprints of the former towers as sacred land not to be developed. “These ideas are a response to public opinion,” he added.

In fact, four out of the nine proposals (the THINK team presented three separate designs) call for the city to build the highest building in the world. All preserve the footprints as memorial space, in addition to carving out additional space to be developed as a memorial and museum to Sept. 11. Each also outlines a plan for creating a transportation hub at the site, along with various cultural facilities.

In addition, nearly half of the designs include interconnected buildings, offering access from one tower to another as an added safety feature. Many chose to outline environmentally friendly ways to conserve energy at these new skyscrapers, and all include plenty of green space for parks, gardens, trees, and reflective pools.

Prior to coming to its final decision for the new WTC plan, the LMDC will again hold a series of public meetings in New York and New Jersey, and will be soliciting feedback from the public through its website and the through than an exhibit of the proposals within the World Financial Center, which begins Friday and ends Feb. 2.

Studio Daniel Libeskind

The first presenter was architect Daniel Libeskind of the Studio Daniel Libeskind team. The group calls for building a 1,776-ft glass tower coined the Gardens of the World. Taller than the original WTC buildings, the new skyscraper will feature trees and gardens on its upper level “because gardens are a constant affirmation of life,” said Libeskind. The group also recommends allowing the public to journey 70 ft into the foundation of the former towers with a tribute museum serving as the entrance into those former footprints.

Two large public spaces are also part of the design: The Park of Heroes and the Wedge of Light. This “wedge” between buildings was designed to display uninterrupted sunlight, without shadows, during the exact time of day as the Sept. 11 attacks (between 8:45 am, when the first tower was hit, and 10:28 am, when the second tower fell). The team also suggests constructing a Memorial Promenade encircling the site.

Foster and Partners

Also recommending that the former footprints serve as the memorial space was architect Norman Foster of the Foster and Partners. From this underground formation “only sky will be visible—no buildings or trees,” Foster said, adding that the public should not be allowed to walk on the footprints and recommending that two separate memorial areas be set up: one for the victims’ families and one for the general population.

Unique to Foster’s design was the recreation of “twinned towers.” These two twisting structures will be close enough together to appear almost as one from a distance, while still offering enough space btween them to provide light to Lower Manhattan. Also suggesting the building be “the tallest in the world,” Foster was quick to add they should the “greenest and safest” too.

This team commissioned experts to conduct a safety study on tall buildings and incorporated those findings into their plans, which includes connecting the two towers at three points. The areas will serve as observation decks, retail space, and potential escape routes from one tower to the next in case of an emergency. The concept also suggests creating a multi-layered façade on the building with an integrated heating and cooling system to avoid energy waste.

Fulton and Greenwich Street will both be extended through the site and Liberty Street will be recreated as an open market. Public parks will be built over West Street.

Richard Meier & Partners

Introduced as the “New York Dream Team” this local collaboration of architects unveiled a truly futuristic plan. While the team’s proposed buildings will not be the world’s tallest, they will each rise more than 1,100 ft. Featuring a hybrid of two buildings with five vertical sections connected by horizontal floors in a tic-tac-toe formation, this glass design would surely recreate Manhattan’s skyline. “This represents a new typology of horizontal and vertical space,” said Meier, noting the design will offer a multitude of floor plans both large and small.

The entwined buildings will only occupy 27% of the site, leaving the remaining 12 acres for public space.

The structures would open onto Memorial Square, featuring two glass-bottom reflecting pools on the WTC footprints that overlook two groves of trees planted to represent the shadows cast by the towers before they collapsed. A memorial museum and cultural facilities will line the site.


This international group came up with three unique concepts. The first, Sky Park, would offer a ten-block, 16-acre rooftop park that floats above the streets below and connects to West Street via a promenade. The park will incline up to 10 stories with a 3-acre public lawn at its highest point. All transportation, retail and cultural space will be located on typical city blocks below the park. Three office towers, including the world’s tallest, will line the park.

The Great Room concept creates a public plaza with cultural, retail and office space within a free-span glass ceiling. Encompassing 13 acres, the room would serve as a transportation gateway to the city. The roof of the structure would collect rainwater to reduce consumption and produce solar energy.

Two glass cylinders would also be built to protect the footprints of the WTC, and mixed-use buildings would define the perimeter and support the roof. The design again calls for the world’s tallest building, which would consist of office and hotel space.

The third presentation, called the World Cultural Center, consists of two glass cylinders that would be built above the footprints in a glass-lattice design. The cylinders would house a number of institutions, including a school, library, a memorial museum, performance arts center, amphitheater and concert hall. Eight independent mid-rise buildings and a hotel will surround the perimeter of the site.

United Architects

Also taking a futuristic approach was United Architects, which created five twisting, modern buildings—-one the world’s tallest—-all connected on the 60th floor by five stories of shared cultural and public space spanning 200,000 sf.

Utilizing the idea of entwining buildings for added safety, the team went so far as to create 29 exiting cores connected with 43 areas of refuge. In all, the building would have 10.5 million sf of contiguous space.

In addition, the group suggests a memorial below ground at the WTC footprints, as well as a Sky Memorial atop a skyscraper, offering an aerial view of the site.

Peterson/Littenberg Architecture and Urban Design

This husband-and-wife duo was quick to note they developed an “urban plan,” not just a site design. Their ideas call for two skyscrapers neatly placed in the gaps of surrounding buildings to create clean-looking skyline.

Gardens and street-level designs took center stage with the team. The duo calls for numerous green spaces and memorial sites with a garden that’s to be constructed first and used as a guideline for development of additional buildings. This walled garden will be sunken below the streets and located behind the adjacent blocks.


This team of architects proposes the creation of a “vertical city,” consisting of numerous tall buildings filling up most of the site, while ensuring they’ll still offer light and views from between each structure. The group also suggests building a horizontal plateau elevated above the skyline hosting a garden and other public facilities. This dense grid doubles the acreage on the site with 16 acres of sky garden and 16 acres of cultural space.

Like many others, this plan will offer the added safety feature of linked buildings and environmentally friendly energy sources.

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