The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation met today with some of the world’s most talented architects and planners to begin a design study of the World Trade Center site. Six teams taking part in the design study were given a new flexible program for the site and surrounding areas. Elements include memorial-related space, cultural uses, retail amenities and a range of commercial space on the site - up to 40 percent less than what existed prior to September 11th.
The teams now have up to eight weeks to submit initial concepts to the LMDC and Port Authority, after which some or all of the teams may be asked to develop the concepts into plans. Three new plans will be released to the public around the end of the year, followed by another round of public comment.
LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead quote said, “The LMDC has spent a great deal of time and effort reaching out and listening to suggestions from a broad range of constituencies concerned with the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. This new program reflects their mandate to expand the initial concepts and explore a bolder and more comprehensive vision for the site and adjoining areas.”
LMDC President Louis R. Tomson said, “The remarkable talent assembled here today now embarks on an historic study of the World Trade Center site and the downtown area. They have been briefed on the planning developments leading up to this moment, and they have been presented with a vision for the future of Lower Manhattan. I commend these fine architects and planners from around the world for offering their invaluable assistance on this momentous project. Working together, we will achieve a vision of Lower Manhattan which exceeds all expectations."
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “These new guidelines will provide the greatest possible flexibility to determine the future of the World Trade Center site and Lower Manhattan. We will work together with many of the most creative minds in the world to create a soaring and respectful memorial, and to lay the foundation for the economic renaissance of Lower Manhattan.”
The new program was developed based largely on comments received by the LMDC and Port Authority during a comprehensive public outreach campaign, which included public hearings in every borough and New Jersey; a modern town hall forum called Listening to the City, attended by over 4,500 people; an exhibit at Federal Hall; numerous Advisory Councils meetings; and thousands of emails.
The program was also developed based on a study of historical and projected demand in Lower Manhattan for the office, retail, hotel and residential sectors. The LMDC-commissioned study concluded that Lower Manhattan will need as much as 18 million square feet of new office space to accommodate an estimated 90,000 new office-based jobs over the next twenty years. Lower Manhattan is also estimated to require up to two million square feet of retail space, 1.5 million square feet of hotel space, and 10,000 residential units over the next two decades.
The full text of the program given to the six design teams is outlined in a document available on LMDC’s website, www.renewnyc.org, entitled A Vision for Lower Manhattan: Context and Program for the Innovative Design Study. Elements of the program include:
· Distinctive SkylineNew York City lost a critical part of its identity when the World Trade Center towers were destroyed. A tall symbol or structure that would be recognized around the world is crucial to restoring the spirit of the city.
· Preference for Recognition of the Tower Footprints for Memorial SpaceBased on public input, there is a preference for preserving the footprints of the Twin Towers for memorial space and precluding commercial development on those locations.
· Commercial, Retail and Hotel SpaceLower Manhattan needs commercial and retail space to create a mixed used community, attract jobs and meet projected demand over the next twenty years. The program includes a range of 6.5 million to 10 million square feet of commercial space on the site. If less than 10 million square feet is planned on the site, up to 3.5 million square feet of commercial space will be accommodated off the site. The program provides for 600,000 to 1 million square feet of retail space and the same amount for hotel space. Prior to September 11th, the World Trade Center site had 11.25 million square feet of commercial space, 600,000 retail and 600,000 hotel.
· Grand Promenade on West StreetConnect the future World Trade Center memorial with the ferries in Battery Park to Liberty and Ellis Islands. This grand promenade could reinvent West Street as a wide public boulevard and living memorial and might include depressing some or all of West Street south of Vesey Street. The teams are being asked to plan only for the section of West Street adjacent to the site, from Liberty to Vesey Streets.
· New Street GridPartially restore the street grid within the former World Trade Center site, which integrates walking and/or driving routes on and to the site.
· Central Transit CenterCreate an integrated transit center serving Lower Manhattan for PATH and subway passengers. A grand and visible station is needed to orient travelers and provide a spectacular point of arrival for commuters, tourists, and residents.
· Cultural ElementsUtilize the unique opportunity for building major cultural institutions or a complex. Sites for a museum, performing arts center, or other spaces should be part of the plan.
· Residential DevelopmentExplore residential development south of the site, to be integrated with existing residential housing.
· Sequence of Public Open Spaces of Different SizesIn addition to the main memorial space, plans should include public open spaces, eg. parks and plazas, of different sizes and configurations.
The six teams were chosen from among 407 submissions, representing 34 nations. New York New Visions, a coalition of 21 architecture, engineering, planning, landscape architecture and design organizations, recommended a distinguished group of six panelists to winnow down the 407 submissions to a group of finalists. The six teams include a total of 27 different firms, individual architects and artists:
Firm: Studio Daniel Libeskind, Berlin, Germany
Previous Work: - Jewish Museum, Berlin, Germany- Imperial War Museum, Manchester, England- Extension to the Denver Art Museum and Co-Development, Denver, Colorado
*****Firm: Foster and Partners, London, England
Previous Work:- New German Parliament, Reichstag, Berlin, Germany- Commerzbank Headquarters, Frankfurt, Germany- Swiss Re Headquarters, London, England- Metro System, Bilbao, Spain****
Firm/Team: Richard Meier, Peter Eisenman, Charles Gwathmey, and Steven Holl
Richard Meier· The Getty Center, Los Angeles, California· Federal Building and United State Courthouse, Islip, New York
Peter Eisenman · Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio· Paramatta Rail Link, Sydney, Australia
Charles Gwathmey· Morgan Stanley and Co., World Headquarters, New York, New York· Guggenheim Museum, Renovation and Addition, New York, New York
Steven Holl· Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland· New Residential Community, Schipol, The Netherlands
Firm/Team: UNITED ARCHITECTS
Reiser Umemoto (New York, NY); Foreign Office Architects (London, England); Greg Lynn FORM (Los Angeles, CA); Imaginary Forces (New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA); Kev