New York Governor George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today joined the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to announce the selection of Memory Foundations as the design concept for the World Trade Center site. The inspirational design by Studio Daniel Libeskind leaves portions of the slurry wall exposed as a symbol of the strength and endurance of American democracy, while reserving a majestic setting for the memorial and museum in the area known as the bathtub. A 1,776 feet tall spire creates a powerful new skyline for Lower Manhattan, while the bustling activity down below reaffirms life in the aftermath of tragedy.
Memory Foundations is one of two designs among a field of nine designs selected last month to undergo further development and analysis. Representatives of the LMDC, Port Authority, State and City reached a consensus on the design on Wednesday, after weighing numerous factors, including setting for the memorial, technical feasibility, cost, and public comment.
"Today's announcement is the culmination of some of the many milestones we've achieved working together to rebuild and revitalize Lower Manhattan, and there is still much work to do," Governor Pataki said. "The consensus among all levels of government, the private sector, and the families of the victims, that brought us to this point, is a fitting tribute to the heroes who lost their lives in those evil attacks. The Libeskind plan promises to add an element of modern vision and magnificence to the already striking New York City skyline. These buildings will stand proudly as living reminders of New Yorkers' -- and Americans' -- strength and resilience for decades to come."
"Today's announcement of the selection of architect Daniel Libeskind as the designer for the re-development for the World Trade Center site plan is an important step in our effort to establish an inspiring and respectful memorial that also restores and enhances critical transportation services to
Lower Manhattan," said Governor McGreevey. "This area provides access to jobs for tens of thousands of New Jersey residents and establishes this site and Lower Manhattan as a center-piece of the region for our continued economic recovery. I understand that there are many complex issues left to resolve and I look forward to working together with the victim's families, the City and State of New York, the Port Authority and LMDC as we continue to honor the memory of those lost on September 11, 2001."
Mayor Bloomberg said, "Memory Foundations is a magnificent plan that will blend seemlessly into our bold vision for all of Lower Manhattan. Daniel Libeskind’s design will help us to return Lower Manhattan to its rightful place as a center of innovation and make it a 'Downtown for the 21st Century'. New York is defined by majestic places that convey the unique thrill of being here. This plan will anchor the residential and commercial neighborhoods, restore the streets, and provide space for the memorial that will put a physical shape to our grief and to our hopes for the future. While there is still much work to be done, this is an important milestone and I am pleased by how well the process worked and that we were all able to come together to make this historic decision."
LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead said, "This has been a most difficult decision for everyone involved, helped immensely by an unprecedented outpouring of opinions from organizations and individuals from around the world. Both of the finalists produced bold and exciting visions to restore Manhattan’s skyline and help revitalize Lower Manhattan, as did the many other creative architects and designers who contributed their best ideas. We are deeply grateful to all of them as we move forward with transportation work and the centerpiece of our efforts, a competition to design a memorial."
LMDC President Louis R. Tomson said, "As I complete my tenure as president of LMDC, I feel confident that the design selected will establish a solid foundation for the renewal of Lower Manhattan. It reconciles the City's need to rebuild and reaffirm life while never forgetting those who were killed on September 11th. I’m confident the selection will unleash a new wave of optimism and convince even more people that Lower Manhattan will emerge from this tragedy even better than it was before."
Empire State Development Corporation Chairman and Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, "This decision marks a turning point in the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan. No longer are we speaking conceptually about what may or may not exist on the hallowed ground of the Twin Towers, but are now faced with the challenge of turning concepts into reality. I look forward to continued participation in this inclusive process, which has taken input from all those who have a stake in the rebuilding effort, as we now begin the daunting task of turning concept into reality."
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, "Although today's announcement is a milestone in the future of Lower Manhattan, in many ways our work is just beginning. In the coming years, we will pay lasting tribute to the heroes of September 11. We will restore and enhance vital transportation links in and around the World Trade Center site. We will rebuild the shattered economy of Lower Manhattan. And we will begin to heal the open wound that remains at Ground Zero -- and that still exists in the hearts of men and women across this city, this region and this nation."
Developer Larry A. Silverstein, the World Trade Center leaseholder, said, "Our company eagerly looks forward to working closely with Studio Daniel Libeskind on developing their site plan. They have produced a site plan that is ambitious and creative, and which demonstrates the excellence that will be the hallmark of all the rebuilding." Mr. Silverstein also expressed his appreciation for the work done by Louis Tomson, who is stepping down as president of the LMDC. "Lou acted with great integrity in carrying out his duties," Mr. Silverstein said. "All of us involved in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan owe him a genuine debt of gratitude."
World Trade Center Innovative Design Study
Today’s announcement at the Winter Garden marked the culmination of a design study that began last August, when the LMDC launched a worldwide search for architects, planners and artists to propose new ideas for the World Trade Center site. In September 2002, seven teams were selected from among 406 submissions from around the world. The teams were charged with incorporating elements in their designs that were derived from public comment, including a respectful memorial setting preserving the footprints; a bold new skyline; and a range of commercial space. The seven teams produced nine designs, which were released to the public on December 18th, 2002.
Immediately after the release of the plans, the LMDC launched a comprehensive outreach campaign, Plans in Progress, featuring an exhibit of the plans; the hosting of the plans online; two public meetings simulcast citywide and in Long Island; a separate hearing in New Jersey; and a video presentation of each team describing their design in their own words. By the conclusion of the campaign, the LMDC had received 12,000 comments. All of the public comments received were read, categorized and analyzed [see accompanying document, Summary Report of Plans in Progress Outreach Campaign].
LMDC and Port Authority planning staff and consultants also evaluated the eight designs based on 12 quantitative and qualitative factors, including memorial setting, program, phasing and the effectiveness of the public realm. Although all of the designs had many positive elements, a design by a team of architects called THINK and the Libeskind design best satisfied the criteria. The design concepts were further developed to address issues raised by the analysis [a more detailed explanation is provided in an accompanying document, Summary Report on the Selected Design Concept for the World Trade Center Site.]
Description of Memory Foundations Design
The Memory Foundations design reconciles the conflicting impulses to preserve the site of the World Trade Center and to rebuild a new skyline. The Libeskind design is imaginative and inspiring, honoring those who were lost while affirming the victory of life, and signaling the rebirth of Lower Manhattan and its iconic skyline. Memory Foundations preserves and reveals the slurry walls of the bathtub of the World Trade Center site as a symbol and physical embodiment of the resilience of American democracy and freedom in withstanding the attacks of September 11, 2001. A Memorial Garden is created 30 feet below grade as a protected courtyard within the city. While the bathtub contains multiple levels to provide needed long-term structural stability for the slurry walls, it is possible on the west side of the site to descend some 70 feet to bedrock to observe the massive slurry walls in its entirety. The preserved slurry walls, together with the footprints of the twin towers, create a large, flexible 4.7-acre site for the memorial competition. North of the bathtub, a freestanding building with an antenna on top soars 1,776 feet in the air—a symbolic height for what will be the tallest building in the world. It creates a soaring new skyline that reaffirms the majesty of Lower Manhattan as the heart of New York and the world’s second home.
An Interpretative Museum sits at the center of the site, which is also one of the entrances to the bathtub Memorial Garden. New cultural facilities and a performing arts center are sited around the bathtub Memorial Garden. At street level, Memory Foundations creates a lively public realm by restoring Greenwich and Fulton streets with a continuous street wall and at-grade retail shops and restaurants—the essence of great Manhattan streets.
Two grand spaces form entrances to the site. On the east, the Wedge of Light creates a piazza along Fulton Street from the St. Paul’s churchyard to the entrance to the Interpretative Museum, a space within which no shadow will fall each year from 8:46 a.m., the time when the first tower was struck, to 10:28 a.m., the time when the second tower fell. The Fulton corridor reopens west of the Museum as the Park of Heroes, another major new open space.
A phasing plan, remarkable for its flexibility, ensures that surrounding development can be built over time and as the market and financing demand. New housing is proposed south of Liberty Street to help grow this nascent residential neighborhood.
With the setting and context for the memorial clearly defined, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation will proceed with plans for an international memorial competition to be launched in spring 2003. The stakeholders understand that guidelines will be developed to ensure future construction on the World Trade Center site proceeds in a manner consistent with the design concept and the high standards established in this process. The design concept will be subject to further public comment as part of the environmental review process to be developed over the next several weeks. Transportation and infrastructure work on the site will proceed.
The LMDC and the Port Authority thank all of the teams who participated in the Innovative Design Study. Collectively, the concepts represent an extraordinary civic contribution made on behalf of numerous design disciplines. New York City, and the nation, is forever indebted to the men and women who offered the designs, each born of hope and forged in democracy.