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Stand Tall Again: Old thinking for the new World Trade Center.
nationalreview ^ | 2-6-03 | Deroy Murdock

Posted on 02/06/2003 5:44:45 AM PST by SJackson

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation yesterday named Studio Daniel Libeskind and THINK Designs as semi-finalists in its quest for a new World Trade Center. With its pointed, sharp angles, Libeskind's project is a high-rise knife attack. Though more sublime, THINK's skeletal latticework filled with cultural structures seems both otherworldly and insufficiently commercial for Manhattan's financial district.

In any case, both plans fail to do what Northwestern University's Justin Berzon has done. He has created something seemingly impossible: A concrete plan that restores the Twin Towers in a way that should satisfy the various constituencies currently feuding over the future of Ground Zero.

For the last few weeks, Berzon practically has suspended his studies at the Medill School of Journalism. He mainly has worked with architectural maps, computer-graphics programs, and satellite photographs of the WTC site. He has produced a solution to the rebuilding challenge that is so elegant and simple as to make one whack his own forehead and wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Berzon's plan, which he calls "Standing Tall," moves the Towers from the west and southwest portions of the WTC's 16-acres to its northeast corner. That simple shift makes way for just about everything that various groups have expected to spring from that gaping hole: untouched footprints of the original Towers, restoration of Greenwich Street, ample space for a memorial and September 11 museum, a transportation super hub below ground and room, Berzon says, for some 90 percent of the office space demolished in al Qaeda's barbaric attack.

Interestingly enough, "Standing Tall" asks something of almost everyone involved in the WTC rehabilitation debate. In this respect, it is a perfect compromise that everyone should embrace with enthusiasm.

·· Purist rebuilders will have to relinquish the position that the World Trade Center be restored exactly as it was, as if the 9/11 hijackers had been arrested the night before they boarded their murderous flights. In exchange for seeing the old footprints vacant, we will revel as the Twin Towers soar to their former glory.

·· Families of those killed on 9/11 will have to accept the return of the Towers. For some, this will be a jarring reminder of the worst day of their lives. Conversely, they will be relieved to see the original footprints preserved as part of a memorial to their loved ones.

·· Grid restorers will see Greenwich Street dog-leg slightly to the west when passing the new Tower One. In turn, they will applaud the reopening of this north-south artery.

·· The Port Authority will get a transit hub, although most likely a subterranean one rather than an above-ground Grand Downtown Terminal.

Developer Larry Silverstein leased the World Trade Center when former Mayor Rudy Giuliani privatized it in summer 2001. He will witness the resurrection of the Towers he bought, although above the 65- to 70-story limit beyond which he has safety worries. On the other hand, he will see nearly all of his private commercial floor space rehabilitated.

Berzon was born in Manhattan and lived last year just two blocks from Ground Zero. He speaks with unflagging passion about the Twin Towers.

"Even though we have photos and footage of the Twin Towers, how will future generations understand the true scale of what was lost on September 11?" he asks. "The only true salve that might heal this hurting city requires 200,000 tons of steel and concrete. We must rebuild the Twins."

Berzon has a tough question for those he acknowledges do not share his love for the World Trade Center. "Whether or not you agree with replacing them in actuality, ask yourself this: 'Would you, right now, give anything to have them back if someone said they could be back tomorrow?' There's your answer."

Americans who want to see the Twin Towers return to Manhattan's skyline should rally around Justin Berzon's "Standing Tall" plan. His serious, practical proposal brings back the Towers in a way that should satisfy the myriad voices concerned with the future of Ground Zero.

If yours is among them, please speak out. Tell the following leaders that you want the Twin Towers back and that Justin Berzon's "Standing Tall" proposal is the best way to make that happen. Come to think of it, why not alert them to this article?

Larry Silverstein Silverstein Properties, Inc. 530 Fifth Avenue 18th Floor New York, New York 10036 212-490-0666 Fax: 212-687-0067

Louis Tomson, President John Whitehead, Chairman Lower Manhattan Development Corporation One Liberty Plaza 20th Floor New York, NY 10006 212-962-2300

Jack Sinagra Chairman, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 225 Park Avenue South 15th Floor New York, NY 10003 Main: 212-435-7000 Direct: 212-435-4173 Fax: 212-435-4172

Justin Berzon can be reached at

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial

1 posted on 02/06/2003 5:44:45 AM PST by SJackson
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To: SJackson


A Proposal for the Redesign of the World Trade Center Site

Go Directly to "Before & After" Photographic Composites

Go Directly to Site Blueprint & Enlarged Area Photoillustration

Imagine trying to tell a small child that millions of years ago, the world was populated by lizards the size of his house. Could he envision such awe-inspiring creatures? Likely not. But imagine if you took him to a museum and showed him a real, fossilized dinosaur. Its teeth the size of his arm would drive the point home.

This analogy springs to mind as New Yorkers debate the future of Ground Zero. For now it appears that the architects and developers involved in the site design process may have focused too much on commemorating the victims of 9-11 and neglected the Twin Towers themselves in the process.

When I briefly moved to Columbus, Ohio in elementary school, I couldn’t convince any of my classmates that my previous home had skyscrapers three times the height of Columbus’ tallest building. My friends had to visit Manhattan before they believed me. Even though we have photos and footage of the Twin Towers, how will future generations understand the true scale of what was lost on September 11? Having lived in Lower Manhattan post-9/11, I believe there’s only one way to go. The only true salve that might heal this hurting city requires 200,000 tons of steel and concrete. We must rebuild the Twins.

This isn’t a new idea. In fact, WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein offered it immediately after the attacks. It was rejected almost as quickly. And because it was so swiftly considered taboo to advocate defiant replacement during such a tragic time, the concept largely vanished.

This brings us to today. Considering that top architects and city planners developed these myriad proposals, why has the public responded so frigidly? Because, despite all brain power behind them, they’re bad. And now we’re told the final design must be chosen from among them.

The problem is, putting a newly designed structure on Ground Zero would have the same effect as building nothing at all. It would produce the psychological pain of looking up and knowing that something that should be there remains missing. Generations from now, people might not know what’s missing, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of building a memorial?

We don’t need monstrosities like the proposed 100 stories of glass origami or spindly lattice work suspending sky gardens, built ridiculously high just to be tall. These ideas are creative, original and sometimes even beautiful. And maybe they’d look great in Hong Kong or Shanghai (where city planners work feverishly to trump America’s tall-building accolades). But they’re just not right for the World Trade Center. This hallowed soil is no place for abstract art. Lower Manhattan’s personality was set in stone by two structures for which there is no alternative replacement. They became our friends – almost living representations of our limitless, skyward aspirations.

Whether or not you agree with replacing them in actuality, ask yourself this: "Would you, right now, give anything to have them back if someone said they could be back tomorrow?" There’s your answer.

Opponents of rebuilding have argued on the grounds of modesty, practicality and fear. We’ve heard that restoring 220 stories of steel and concrete would be ostentatious. We’ve been told that buildings that size are no longer economical. And we’ve been warned until we’ve gone cross-eyed about the dangers of erecting another "target."

These arguments hold little water. Replacing the Towers would sew up a gash in the physical skyline and the wounded pride of New Yorkers. Building more futuristic and glitzy structures would be ostentatious. I doubt that the 2,792 dead would want the Twins to remain in rubble because rebuilding would be too flashy.

In terms of practicality, more record-breaking skyscrapers are rising in Asia every year, filling the roster of the world’s tallest buildings (America now holds only two of the top 10 places on that list).

As far as targets go, if you believe that, perhaps we should dismantle the Empire State Building and our professional sports arenas while we still have the chance. Halting the construction of grandiose structures because terrorists might hate them is exactly the kind of submission Osama Bin Laden wants.

So I offer a new proposal to hopefully challenge today’s inadequate finalists. It would put the Twins back on the east side of the site, preserve the original footprints for a memorial and satisfy the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s criteria for a functional new site. The longer you stare at the Twins, the nicer the proposal becomes. It just looks right.

New Yorkers have always done things larger than life, twice if necessary, to show our unfaltering strength and character. Now, we should embrace a plan that will turn New York back into New York again.

– Justin Berzon

2 posted on 02/06/2003 5:50:49 AM PST by SJackson
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To: SJackson
Have you seen these designs? I heard about the website this morning, and I was just taking my first look at them.

3 posted on 02/06/2003 5:52:26 AM PST by EllaMinnow
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To: SJackson
4 posted on 02/06/2003 5:53:35 AM PST by Vigilantcitizen (Take a kid shooting and to play paintball.)
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To: SJackson
I wish it would work, but the buildings are too close to the street. Security is going to be paramount since these freaks believe that anything "Allah knocks down" should stay down.
5 posted on 02/06/2003 6:03:25 AM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: SJackson
I completely agree with this Justin Berzon and his design as the best one to date - in fact, brilliant. I loved and miss the Towers and all they represented (especially the people who lived their lives there) - The 2 final designs that were shoved down our throats are hideous and insane. The Towers represented all that is America - the 50,000 people who made their lives there and the 1,000,000 tons of steel and concrete that were put there. Put them back !!!
6 posted on 02/06/2003 6:13:38 AM PST by Luker
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To: Luker
I like it. Want those towers rebuilt, as close to the originals as possible, as a message to the Barbarians. Leave room for the Victory Monument we erect when the Islamo faciscts are on histories ashheap.
7 posted on 02/06/2003 6:42:03 AM PST by Kozak
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To: Luker
We all miss what the towers represented, and the sentimental action would be to rebuild it just as tall as it was... Having worked there for 2 years- back in the early 90s... I would never work there again, no matter how much they'd pay... It's been bombed twice, thousands of lives were lost... The difficulty is not building it... the difficulty is occupying it. How will you get 50,000 (much less 500) people to work in it, knowing that each and every day you go to work could very well be the last, as it's always going to have a bulls-eye on it.
8 posted on 02/06/2003 6:46:43 AM PST by NYC Republican
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To: Kozak
Personally, I agree with you... I've always treasured the WTC myself (hubby proposed to me in a helicopter right above it in 1990). BUT, it will always just be a dream, my friend... there is no way the city can rebuild it.

A friend of mine is one of the architects involved in choosing the judges that will decide on the final design. Prior to narrowing down designs, the city had numerous meetings with previous tenants... NO ONE is willing to put employees back in, no matter how much inducement is offered. Companies aren't willing to move back in, employees aren't willing to work in such a situation... I don't even think tourists would be willing to go to the top in the same levels as prior to 9/11.

It's very sad, but the WTC as it was will have to be remembered in images and our memories.

9 posted on 02/06/2003 7:02:51 AM PST by Tamzee (There are 10 types of people... those who read binary, and those who don't.)
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