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A View of the World Trade Center Site from the Hudson River.
The Plan for Lower Manhattan > World Trade Center Site > Refined Master Site Plan for the World Trade Center SiteRefined Master Site Plan for the World Trade Center Site
On the second anniversary of September 11th, I stood on the roof of the World Financial Center watching the ceremony on the WTC site. I was deeply moved by the emotion of that day and humbled by the task at hand. I reflected on the project’s title “Memory Foundations”, which, after almost a year at work, remains the profound essence of this project. First, we must always remember the lives of those we lost on that day and we must always remember the significance of the attack. Secondly, the memory of that event must be used as the foundation upon which to rebuild the site. The great slurry wall articulates this desire. Originally designed to hold back the Hudson River, the heroic foundations withstood the unimaginable trauma of the destruction on that day. Two years later the foundations remain. They are still standing as eloquently as the Constitution itself asserting the durability of Democracy. These foundations will be revealed in the memorial site and will again become the foundations supporting a dramatic rebuilding that will reassert life and future hope.
Over the past four months we have been working closely with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to refine the master plan for the World Trade Center Site that was selected on February 27, 2003. The original master plan was one which had been done in a period of approx. 12 weeks. Clearly the complexity and size of the site demanded extensive, detailed work to ensure its feasibility.
I am pleased to report that, after much study and evaluation, the plan’s essential elements remain clearly in tact. The site plan’s original composition and building locations all remain the same. The memorial site retains its generous proportions and remains 30’ below grade bounded by cultural buildings along the reconnected Greenwich and Fulton Streets. The public spaces like the Wedge of Light, the Liberty Street Park, and the Park of Heroes are maintained. The configuration of the spiraling towers, culminating in the 1776’ Freedom Tower, complimenting the Statue of Liberty, is refined and upheld.
Much of the work done in the past months has been extensive technical planning. Almost every element of the plan has at one point been challenged and questioned by the details of the work being done. The plan has evolved and has been refined to accommodate the technical requirements, ensuring its ability to be realized. A lot of work was devoted to the coordination between the underground infrastructure and transportation planning and the above grade development. I sincerely feel that the plan’s evolution has been positive. For example, during this technical feasibility study we were able to eliminate bus parking from the space beneath the memorial site. The initial design was robust enough to withstand the changes and, ultimately, after much serious study, the instincts of the plan submitted in February have been validated and developed to a much greater level of detail.
This certainly does not mean that the work is complete. It means that it can begin. I am delighted that Santiago Calatrava and DMJM Harris were selected as the design team for the PATH Station, a decision that confirms the dedication to great architecture on the site. I am personally looking forward to my further collaboration with David Childs of SOM, the project architect of the Freedom Tower. And I think that we all wait with great anticipation the results of the Memorial competition, which inspired an unprecedented 5,200 entries.
Most rewardingly, the experience has been inspired. Despite all of the pressures on the site the last months of work effort have concluded with a master plan which can now be taken forward into the future.