The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation today extended an invitation to the most innovative architects and planners around the world to participate in an LMDC design study regarding the future of the World Trade Center site and surrounding areas. New York New Visions, a coalition of 21 architecture, engineering, planning, landscape architecture and design organizations, will advise LMDC in selecting up to five teams to prepare additional concept plans for the next phase of the planning process. The teams selected will receive a stipend from the LMDC and be guided by new, flexible program alternatives developed in conjunction with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Since the six initial plans were released in July, the LMDC and Port Authority have received 5000 suggestions via email through the RenewNYC.com website, comments from over 5000 participants at the Listening To The City town hall forums, comments from thousands of visitors to the exhibit of the plans at Federal Hall and additional input from LMDC's eight Advisory Councils. Public input indicates a strong desire for an inclusive planning process, as well as consensus around key goals for rebuilding.
The following ideas will be incorporated into new program alternatives, which will be finalized upon selection of the five teams in September:
- Distinctive Skyline
New 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
Based 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 and Retail Space
The Port Authority and LMDC will develop various options for a mixture of commercial and retail space on and/or off the site. These options will establish minimum and maximum square footage for mixed-use development to direct the planners. The ranges of space will be developed prior to the selection of the five teams.
- Grand Promenade on West Street
Connect 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.
- New Street Grid
Partially 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 Center
Create 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.
- Residential Housing
There is significant demand for residential housing in Lower Manhattan. Planners will explore the possibility of residential housing on and off the site.
- Cultural Elements
Utilize 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.
- Sequence of Public Open Spaces of Different Sizes
In addition to the main memorial space, plans should include public open spaces, eg. parks and plazas, of different sizes and configurations.
LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead said, "This effort to reach out to the finest architects and planners around the globe significantly expands the search for the best design talent. The goal of everyone working on the rebuilding program is to create a truly beautiful and vibrant new Lower Manhattan while appropriately honoring the victims of September 11th."
LMDC President and Executive Director Louis R. Tomson said, "At Listening to the City and other public forums throughout the last several months, we vowed to incorporate public input into the planning process. The invaluable public input we received is helping to shape the future of downtown. Involving additional design teams and allowing greater flexibility in the program will ensure that a variety of bold options will be introduced during this second phase."
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, "The input from family members of September 11th heroes, from residents and other stakeholders, has been extremely valuable. Based on that input, we are now able to take the next step in refining plans for the World Trade Center site and surrounding areas. These plans have enormous emotional significance for the Port Authority, New York City and for our nation. We have been listening carefully. The time has come to incorporate what we have heard into the planning process."
New York New Visions Executive Committee Co-chairs Mark Ginsberg, AIA and Marcie Kesner, AICP, said, "We are pleased that New York New Visions has been able to assist LMDC in creating a process to obtain a wide range of design talent."
The LMDC will release a Request for Qualifications on Monday, August 19, which will be available on LMDC's website, www.renewnyc.org. The study is open to licensed architects and professional planners and landscape architects. Selection criteria includes quality of work product in past projects; innovative and outstanding work that demonstrates unique qualifications; and additional criteria to be developed in conjunction with New York New Visions. The LMDC will work with New York New Visions to appoint a team of outside advisors who will narrow the field of potentially thousands of respondents to between 10 and 20. An LMDC committee will then make the final selection of teams.
The deadline for responses to the RFQ is September 16. Up to five teams will be selected on September 30. The design study concludes in mid-November and by the end of November, all teams must submit final content and presentation materials, including hard-line drawings, free-hand sketches, renderings, computer generated images, and site models. Concurrent with the intensive RFQ design process, LMDC/Port Authority planning staff and consultants, including Beyer Blinder Belle and Peterson Littenberg, will continue to explore varied approaches to the World Trade Center site based on the new program alternatives. All work will be ready for public review by the end of the calendar year, completing the second phase in the three-phase planning process.
The LMDC has partnered with New York New Visions in recognition of the organization's commitment to excellence, as stated in New York New Visions' Principles for the Rebuilding of Lower Manhattan: "New York City should aspire to the highest possible quality of urban planning, architectural and environmental design in rebuilding Lower Manhattan. An architecture that is compelling, meaningful over the long term and culturally ambitious not only respects the past, but also takes great risks to create the future."
To encourage widespread participation in the design study, the LMDC is placing ads in newspapers worldwide. This press release is also being translated into multiple languages and distributed to media outlets throughout the world.
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