Nine designs for the World Trade Center’s replacement have been selected, with a final plan to be announced by next month. Each design varies in height and structure, but there is a concurrent theme that the new WTC will have to be distinct, with a dramatic statement that fills the void in the New York skyline.
Five of the nine designs will certainly be unique, with proposed structures taller than any other building on earth, including Malaysia’s 1,483-foot Petronas Twin Towers. But the question is, if you build it, will they come?
According to a New York Times/CBS poll conducted last August, 53 percent of New Yorkers would not want to work in an upper floor of any new building at the trade center site. Fifty-nine percent of those polled said the new structure should not be as tall as its 1,350-foot predecessor. Public opinion, however, could change in the years it will take to build the structure.
Beverly Willis, director of the Architecture Research Institute and founder of a community group called Rebuild Downtown Our Town, told The Associated Press designers need to think about the neighborhood surrounding the building as well.
“Creating the world’s tallest building without regard to the neighborhood just seems to be not only impractical, but ostentatious and generally in bad taste,” Willis said.
Other plans submitted propose symbolic architecture that reflects the first towers, without duplicating them. One design, by Daniel Libeskind, has a spire that reaches a height of 1,776 feet, the exact height of the original WTC towers, but only has 70 stories of office space.
Another design, by Greg Lynn, takes safety as a top priority. His plan constitutes five buildings in one structure with a system of stairways where people can move both horizontally and vertically within the buildings.
“From any point in the building you have literally thousands of ways to get down to the ground, so it’s a very safe complex,” Lynn told The Associated Press.
It is not certain as to whether the design selected will be built exactly as proposed, or whether the new construction will be based on the inspiration of the chosen design.