The new Freedom Tower unveiled June 29 resembles at first glance the original World Trade Center.
The design by David Childs is the final nail in the coffin of Daniel Libeskind’s master plan for putting his signature style on Ground Zero. Libeskind’s plan had called for the tower to include an off center tower that would resemble the profile of the Statue of Liberty. This was deemed a security concern.
According to the New York Times:
In their place is a structure whose scale, proportions and details - a central antenna, cut-away corners and pinstripe facade - evoke the twin towers that were lost on Sept. 11, 2001. The roof of the Freedom Tower would match 2 World Trade Center in height (1,362 feet) and its rooftop parapet would match No. 1 (1,368 feet). The antenna would bring it to 1,776 feet.
The tower will have a Windows on the World type restaurant and observation deck at the same height as the original WTC — all items that were thrown out in the Libeskind design.
Libeskind was quoting in the media as saying the building is more beautiful than what he designed.
The Freedom Tower is going to have tongues wagging over irony. To begin with the first 20 stories (200 feet) other than the lobby are going to be unoccupied, windowless and shielded against truck bombs (meanwhile glass skyscrapers are going up all over midtown Manhattan).
The original setback from West Street-Route 9A was 25 feet, which the police said was inadequate to protect the building from a large truck bomb. The new tower has been moved 65 feet back from West Street at its Fulton Street side, and 125 feet from the highway at Vesey Street.
As a side note this actually an advantage from a historic perspective since the original configuration would have covered the spot where the famous flag raising photo was taken. This will open it up.
While everybody had a jaw dropping reaction to Libeskind’s design — “how could he get away with that!?”, the reaction to this seems more normal and the building may actually get built now that proper public venting that illuminated problems has been allowed to occur. And the blogs have lit up with basically the same criticisms from people who did not like the original WTC.
Here’s a sampling:
Church of the Freedom Tower - Lockart at Curbed has an amusing photo of David Childs seeming to resemble Billy Graham in presenting the tower.
Childs Reaps Rewards of NYSE Investment - Curbed has amusing photos comparing the tower to an early proposal by David Childs for a new tower for the headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange was considering a move to the Hudson.
New Freedom Tower: The Insta-Reviews - Curbed has reviews of the tower which basically criticize its boxy design — although much better than the original. More reviews.
Freedom Tower, Now With 34% More Freedom! Curbed story on the security issues.