Also from the Regional Plan Association’s newsletter today (scroll to next item) is a review of Paul Goldberger’s Up From Zero: Politics, Architecture and the Rebuilding of New York, which just came out in paperback (note that the paperback version uses the Towers of Light on the cover instead of Libeskind’s original “Freedom Tower”). I couldn’t agree with Alex Marshall more:
…after reading Up From Zero, and knowing the difficulties Libeskind’s design has encountered, I found myself regretting that the design of Rafael Viñoly and Frederic Schwartz was not chosen, which vied with Libeskind’s plan for selection until Gov. Pataki made a choice. The centerpiece of the Viñoly-Schwartz [Think team] plan, at least initially, was two tall, lattice-work towers that would rise from the site and be essentially ornamental and symbolic, and completely public. The private office buildings with their 10 million square feet would be left to another portion the site, and perhaps for another time, when the office sector rebounded. Such a plan would have avoided
the controversies that have plagued Libeskind’s and David Childs’ Freedom Tower, which must double as a symbol AND a giant office tower.
Although meant to symbolize freedom and openness, the base of the tower was recently redesigned to resemble a windowless battle-hardened bunker to withstand a terrorist blast (emphasis added).
Ugh. That’s really depressing.