At Ground Zero Memorial, Trying to Make Three Plans Work as One
By DAVID W. DUNLAP
Published: January 12, 2004
Contrary to Mr. Arad's earliest concept, the memorial site will be landscaped. The slurry wall around the trade center's foundation will be exposed below ground level. Cultural buildings will be constructed, following the Libeskind plan, but they will not bridge the space over the north tower footprint or cantilever over the south tower footprint, as Mr. Libeskind had proposed.
The site plan will need to be adjusted in order to incorporate an appropriate and fitting memorial," said Kevin M. Rampe, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which ran the memorial competition. "We said from the beginning — and I think the selection by the jury shows that we didn't just say it, we meant it — that the memorial is the centerpiece."
Mr. Arad had to agree that he would not control where the cultural buildings would be placed, state officials said. The memorial site — bounded by Fulton, Greenwich, Liberty and West Streets — is to contain about 300,000 square of feet of space for a museum and an interpretive center.
Originally, Mr. Arad called for no cultural buildings on the memorial site, which he envisioned at street level except for two 30-foot depressions, with pools and water cascades inside, marking the areas once occupied by the twin towers.
This large open field should be punctuated only by the footprints of the two memorial pools," he wrote, "while other buildings that are associated with commemorating the events of Sept. 11, such as a museum or visitor center, can be placed across the street." Mr. Arad said the memorial site would serve both as sacred ground and as a large plaza and public amenity.
By the time of his public presentation in November, he had added a building along West Street. That proposal, it turns out, was not regarded seriously by state officials.
Mr. Libeskind's concept of bridging the tower outlines has also been abandoned. "I myself, when I began to hear the families and other people speaking about footprints being open to the sky, had reservations about whether I should have buildings over the footprints," Mr. Libeskind said.
To win designation, Mr. Arad also ceded control over infrastructure elements like the location of a truck ramp, state officials said.
"The Libeskind plan is not a cafeteria, where you can select this thing but not that thing," said Robert D. Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, a member of the civic alliance. "It's an inspiring concept, and every time we nibble away a piece of it, we undercut the integrity of the whole thing."
The speed of the process is also causing unease. "I'd personally hate to think that the team has less than a week to figure everything out," said Madelyn Wils, chairwoman of the Lower Manhattan community board. "Hopefully, the L.M.D.C. will be clear that this is the design, but the details will evolve."