Monday, May 11, 2009

Rising at Ground Zero, A Symbol of Resilience

Rick Hampson, USA Today, May 11, 2009 -
NEW YORK — Freedom Tower was going to signify America's determination to rebuild quickly and steeply at Ground Zero after 9/11. It would rise a symbolic 1,776 feet, making it the world's tallest building, and feature an asymmetrical spire that evoked the Statue of Liberty's upraised torch. Fascinated, the city and nation waited. And waited. And lost patience. And interest.

Yet now — after years of redesigns, blown deadlines, bureaucratic snafus and political infighting, and in the midst of a recession when almost no new skyscrapers are planned anywhere — Freedom Tower's frame is almost 20 stories high, finally visible above the blue construction fences around the 16-acre site that was once Ground Zero.

But it won't be the world's tallest building. It won't evoke the Statue of Liberty. It won't open by the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks, in 2011. Or the 11th. Or the 12th. And it won't be known, officially, as Freedom Tower. Its tortuous saga shows what can happen when too much is asked of a building, says Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is building the tower.

Freedom Tower had to be a symbol of a political idea, a monument to what stood in its place, and a profitable real estate venture — "as if the Washington Monument had to be rented out," says Michael Mostoller, an architecture professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

And, with its bull's-eye name and site, it had to be safe from terrorism.

"That's a lot of load for any building to carry," Mostoller says. Read full article here.
(Image by Robert Deutsch, USA Today)

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