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Virtual Tour Of The Chosen Design By Erica Pearson
MARCH 2003


A new version of the plan for Ground Zero was released in September 2003. To see what's been changed, go to The Revised Design on Rebuilding NYC.


Daniel Libeskind envisions the World Trade Center replaced by five towers of increasing heights, arranged from south to north so that they rise in a spiral. The tallest point is a 1776-foot tall spire, with offices up to the 70th floor. The top floors are filled with botanical gardens, as well as a restaurant and observatory deck on the 110th floor. A television antenna tops the slender tower. Building Libeskind's spire would make it the10th time that New York City has constructed the tallest structure in the world, Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed out at the press conference announcing the winning design.

The tall structure has apparently grown on World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein, who had earlier said he did not like the design. After the February 27th press conference, Silverstein's spokesperson told reporters that the developer is "completely supporting the plan," and will use the insurance proceeds from the attack to pay for the 1776 foot spire.

In his proposal, Libeskind presented two different plans for commercial development in the site's five tower buildings. The buildings can fit a total of either 10 or 10.05 million square feet of office space, depending on the height of the towers and the size of the hotel in the second tallest tower. Silverstein is also likely to build these towers, and their specific design may change based on his desires.

The green, grassy area, with the footprints of the original Twin Towers marked in lighter green, will be used as the space for a memorial competition. The space is sunk 30 feet below street level, exposing a section of the "slurry walls" which keep back the Hudson River and withstood the September 11 attacks. Libeskind's original plan brought the memorial space much further below ground, down to bedrock at 70 feet.

The design was modified to better support the exposed foundations of the original World Trade Center towers and make room for the PATH station and other infrastructure, including a proposed underground bus terminal. Many victims' family members are opposed to a bus terminal in this space, saying that the area where remains were found is sacred, all the way down to bedrock. Mike Kuo, whose father died in the attack, said that changing the depth from 70 feet to 30 feet compromises the design's powerful message. "I would like to see it proven that it needs to be 30 feet," he said. "I'd like to see what goes underneath." Libeskind's revised plan does set aside a small section on the west side of the site that descends the full 70 feet down to bedrock.

NEXT PAGE: The Memorial Space

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