Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Memory Foundations

The plan includes:

»  A 1,776 foot tower
»  Memorial space below street level (in "The Pit")
»  Park of Heroes
»  Wedge of Light

Transcript of our online chat with Daniel Libeskind.

The design by architect Daniel Libeskind featuring a 1,776-foot spire and an open pit where the twin towers once stood was chosen Wednesday night as the final plan for the World Trade Center site. The plan also features a museum at the site and structures that will create memorial spaces free of shadows each September 11. The single spire will be the tallest structure in the world.

Rebuilding officials selected the Libeskind design over the twin latticework towers by the THINK architect team. The choice was made by a committee with representatives of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the governor and the mayor. Both Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg favored the Libeskind design. Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Chairman John Whitehead reportedly telephoned Libeskind with the news, telling the architect that his "vision has brought hope and inspiration to a city still recovering from a terrible tragedy."

The plan still faces challenges from government officials, developers, and victims families and will likely be modified.

Libeskind said his plan was the "bargain basement" in cost and estimated his design could be built for $330 million. However, it is still unclear how the memorial will be paid for, when the buildings will be built, and whether the final towers will look like those in the design. Developer Larry Silverstein, who holds the lease on the World Trade Center site, has said he does not like the plan.

Libeskind has spent the last month making changes to his design based on recommendations from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and other officials. His original design called for a memorial at the trade center foundation 70 feet below ground. That has been changed to 30 feet, allowing for infrastructure and transportation underneath.

The final plan was selected from nine proposals for redeveloping the trade center site, where nearly 2,800 people died September 11, 2001. The design competition was launched after an initial set of plans, released in July, was rejected by the public and officials.