It's architecture as national healing. It's also architecture in a rush -- the owner is still coughing up annual rent of $124 million, even with two gaping holes in the ground -- which pretty much kills any hope of a memorial park being developed, rather than twin tower knock-offs. Only one of the proposed plans features a substantial swath of undeveloped land, but what are the chances Richard Meier's open spaces will get a go from them that pay the bills?
Thursday, December 19
Everyone's applauding -- a bit too eagerly, I think -- the new designs for the World Trade Center. I like the idea of citizens' input, although it seems like a strange concession even under these circumstances. How many city structures are shaped by design advice from Joe Blog in Minnesota? (Check out these helpful hints from America's armchair architects.) But I guess that's the trouble here. The WTC is no longer just an office block or a civic space. It has to serve as a memorial, too -- in the words of one of the development officials, "The architects have responded with great depth to the question, 'What does Sept. 11 represent?'"