Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Battle For Ground Zero, Part 81

The 9/11 memorial is supposed to include a series of waterfalls that were supposed to be integral to the overall memorial, but if you haven't noticed the weather these days, it can get to be bitter cold in NYC. And the tests up in Canada have revealed that the waterfalls will likely need to be turned off in the winter. Gee, isn't that a surprise. In fact, it is a surprise to folks like Debra Burlingame, whose brother was among those murdered on 9/11 by the terrorists:
Debra Burlingame, a member of the memorial's foundation board, said she was "astounded" to learn of the waterfall's shortcomings.

"It seems to me this is something that should have been worked out before they selected the design," she said.

"It doesn't create confidence that we're this far along and only now determining that we picked a design for a memorial that will not function 30 percent of the time," said Burlingame, whose pilot husband was killed on one of the 9/11 planes.
[the Post got Debra's relationship to Charles F. Burlingame wrong - Charles was her brother, not husband.]

And the message of the day not to take things so literally was also picked up by the New York Times, based on this story about the memorial fountains that will reside on each of the tower footprints.
The great pool-filled memorial voids that are meant to mark the absence of the twin towers will be 31 percent smaller than the towers' actual footprints.

Each pool will be a 176-foot square, centered within the original 211-foot-10-inch-square footprint. The tower outlines will not be shown graphically on the plaza, so there will be no indication at ground level precisely where the twin towers stood; only an intimation.

It has been an open secret for almost two years that the pools would not faithfully represent the tower outlines. Official descriptions do not emphasize this fact but are also careful not to equate the pools and footprints exactly. The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation's Web site, for example, speaks of "two voids that reside in the original footprints" - not "two voids that define the original footprints."

Only now, however, is the degree of discrepancy growing clear. On Dec. 5, the foundation and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation issued a request for proposals from construction managers. It indicated that the pools would be 180-foot squares, a measurement that includes a parapet where victims' names will be inscribed.
In other words, don't take everything so literally. You have to use your imagination to overcome the deficiencies in the memorial designs. Meanwhile, the real work is only starting to get underway as a number of companies, including Bovis Lend Lease and Slattery Skansa, are preparing bids for the memorial construction. And Governor Pataki looks like he's going to bypass Mayor Bloomberg by offering Silverstein the Liberty Bonds directly.
Eager to ensure that construction begins on the Freedom Tower next year, Gov. George E. Pataki bypassed the city yesterday and announced that the state would provide the developer Larry A. Silverstein with $1.67 billion in Liberty Bonds for the project, the most visible symbol of both the rebuilding effort at ground zero and the governor's legacy.

Mr. Silverstein has been at odds with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's administration over his application for all of the remaining $3.35 billion in tax-exempt bonds. Though the two sides resolved some issues this week, city officials continued to question Mr. Silverstein's proposal for a 5 percent development fee, which could add $100 million to the cost of the tower.

UPDATE: has an entire section devoted to WTC reconstruction. It's especially harsh on Libeskind and Pataki, but especially Libeskind, who swills in bogus numerology - including in his 9/11 memorial in Padua, Italy. Now, I don't necessarily agree with all of Greg's postings, but on Libeskind and Pataki, he's right. They've botched the rebuilding in a big way.

I've finally got some great news to report about the rebuilding. Sir Norman Foster is being commissioned to build the second tower to be built at Ground Zero, following the Freedom Center (7WTC is actually outside the original WTC complex). It will be a 65-story tower. I was a fan of his Kissing Towers concept for Ground Zero, and think that his Hearst Tower in Midtown is a great, if not iconic, building. You might not know who Foster is, but you know his work.

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