Will paralysis save the WTC?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Regular readers here are well aware of my contempt for any instance of the government failing to do its job, which is to protect individual rights. Furthermore, I fully agree with Galileo that government ownership of the site of the 2001 terrorist atrocities in New York City has kept it from being rebuilt in style by now, or at least well on its way. As things stand, we have a pit, and a pitiful plan where two larger towers ought to stand.

But perhaps the government has dawdled usefully for a change! Nicole Gelinas of City Journal reports that a recent "progress" report on the "rebuilding" effort does afford the opportunity to reevaluate, and to take the lessons of Seven World Trade Center to heart.

On 9/11, al-Qaida murdered 2,974 people and destroyed two iconic office towers that dominated New York's skyline, another lone office tower nearby, and some smaller support buildings. We can't recover stolen lives. But what would it take to make New York physically whole again, while paying tribute to 9/11's history and victims? One obvious answer is to build two iconic office towers that dominate New York's skyline once again, surrounded by some smaller buildings. Notice that the one project that has achieved completion after 9/11 -- Silverstein's Seven World Trade Center, the lone office tower near the main site -- did so partly because Silverstein realized that al-Qaida's attack wasn't a mandate to reinvent the obvious. He simply built a more elegant tower to succeed what al-Qaida had destroyed, modernized for the twenty-first century in terms of safety and aesthetics and placed in a superior setting.

New York could take a similar approach with the rest of the site. New twin towers wouldn't be the old ones; nobody can pretend that 9/11 never happened. They'd offer modern, sleek designs, as Seven World Trade Center does, and they'd be built to private-sector specifications. They'd need twenty-first-century, post-9/11 safety upgrades. The site would also need an appropriate memorial and well-designed public spaces.

It may not be too late to take this commonsense approach to rebuilding, which was never the puzzle the world's great architects have made it out to be. For a truly breathtaking example of what New York could achieve at Ground Zero, take a look at what the late Herb Belton, an architect who worked on the original twin towers, and structural engineer Ken Gardner have proposed. [bold added]
From the above link comes the image at right and the following:
[T]his project could be realized in less time than the existing plan. It would be a good deal less costly to both build and maintain, saving hundreds of millions in construction costs and ultimately, in the cost of operation. Most existing contracts could be renegotiated to accommodate the change of course. And there is no doubt that the construction trades would rather rebuild the Twin Towers than any other plan.

The plans and models are available for viewing. Years of dedicated effort have gone into preparing for the day when the political climate would be ready to judge this plan on its merits. We are confident that it will stimulate the interest, and ultimately win the support, of those who hold the future of the World Trade Center in their hands, because it has no downside. This is what people have asked for from the beginning. It would be a colossal gain for all Americans and peace-loving people everywhere. [bold added]
In a nutshell: Build them back even better than they were. Oh, and they'd be taller, too! Good!

It appears that there is a real opportunity -- although it is knocking at the government's door -- for the World Trade Center to finally and really be rebuilt!

I'm not holding my breath, but it would do a lot of good for me and lots of other people I'm sure to see this plan adopted and carried out.

-- CAV


z said...

For those on Facebook and other networking sites, search for WTC 2011 and join the group. Lets see how many fans we can get to join.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for the idea. I don't do social networking, and so was unaware.