January 31, 2003
The Twenty Two Towers
So the finalists for the new World Trade Center plan get picked some time next week. Time to pitch my 50 cents.
Gawker sums up the popular opinion the best:
"The Leftists love Libeskind; the Artists want THINK. From SUVs to bank accounts, bigger is better for the Wall Streeters, so they're going with the Foster Plan. The structural engineers like United because it works mathematically and confuses the hell out of everyone else, and we're not sure anyone likes Peterson/Littenberg."
Libeskind has emerged as the favorite horse. Its not much of a surprise. His ideas translate to paper and web the best. His design is indeed striking, and bold. And he wrote up his thoughts the best. Perfect for a newspaper pitch. He was my first favorite, but seeing the models and plans up close changed that. There is a gloominess to his work. His sunken memorial looks like a pit of dispair, hidden from the street, surrounded by concrete. Correct me if I'm wrong but he's from Berlin, no? And I'm not so sure NY needs some Berlin style concrete oppresiveness. Not that I've ever been to Berlin...
THINK, are true to there name. Their design works best as a concept. Its fun to play with in the mind. Its open, its flexible, its creative. A perfect thought experiment. Two towers as an open framework in which various structures can be built. An architects wet dream.
But how good is open in architecture? On a work place level its great, as Stewart Brand has argued well. But on a building level. Already the THINK plan suffers by letting team members other then Shiguru Ban design structures in the towers. Whose CAD program took a dump up on the 80th floor? Sure computers make it easy to make turd shapes, but do we really need to build them? Guess its better then the potential reality of the THINK plan, an open framework filled with structures designed by the Board of Ed, cheap real estate developers and the city government. It won't be too artistic then...
Foster's design suffers from the opposite, its too well thought out. Too rational, too well designed, makes to much sense. In other words its so boring you'd think he was Dutch. You know the people who made sex and drugs a bland part of the urban fabric. It gets a royal yawn, although it probably get the least complaints from the future tenents...
My suggestion, skip all this WTC crap and spend the money on Gehry's Guggenhiem Downtown. A brilliant surrealist example of what happens when a CAD program gives birth to a love child with an alien graffiti writer. In other words a whole world better then the shit Gehry's imitators pump out. And a true masterwork for Manhattan's downtown.Posted by Abe at January 31, 2003 04:05 PM