Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Freedom Tower: Just Build the Damn Thing

As symbols go, the Freedom Tower that is to rise from the ashes of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan is about as potent as they come.

Unfortunately, the project also has become symbolic of personal amibition and greed, which is why there still is a big hole in the ground at the building site five and a half years after the WTC's twin towers were brought down by jetliners hijacked by terrorists.

Nicolai Ouroussoff, the latest in a long line of great New York Times architecture writers has had enough.

He writes that:
"Ground zero has gone through its own kind of war fatigue. With every step forward in the reconstruction process, New Yorkers were asked to buy into the rhetoric of renewal, only to be confronted by images that reflect a city still in a state of turmoil and delusion.

"Perhaps if we close our eyes, one might wishfully imagine, it will all just go away.

"But the widely anticipated announcement that Gov. Eliot Spitzer will support the construction of the Freedom Tower may signal an end to any hope that a broad vision — or even a level of sanity — can be restored to a project tainted by personal hubris and political expediency.

"The most recent debate over the tower has centered narrowly on real estate values. With the developer Larry Silverstein set to build six million square feet of office space in three buildings just alongside the Freedom Tower, some have questioned whether it will be possible to lease enough of the $3 billion project at a high enough rate to make it profitable. The tower’s symbolism alone is likely to scare off tenants who will see it as a potential targets for terrorists. The suggestion that we simply pack the building with government offices is almost perversely Strangelove-ian."

More here.

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