Frog’s Eye View


I have been staying away from posting about the World Trade Center site because it just got too depressing. So here’s a nice little diversion from disaster that is ground zero. David Dunlap at the Times forgoes the bird’s eye view of the site today in favor of a close-up.

Plans for the new trade center are typically rendered from a far-off perspective. But the experience of the place will succeed or fail on a much more down-to-earth and pedestrian level: in its streets, sidewalks, plazas and parks.

Last week the Port Authority issued a request for proposals to “recreate Fulton Street and Greenwich Street through the trade center super-block, to reconfigure Liberty Street, to design sidewalks along Vesey and Church Streets and the new Liberty Park opposite the memorial. In short, to shape the public environment.”

In some ways, what happens at this level will be more important than what the buildings look like, which is more for aerial photographers than for people who will actually experience the site on a regular basis. The above rendering is Peter Walker’s interpretation for the area immediately around the Freedom Tower. Maybe, just maybe, if the planners get it right at the granular level, the disaster that is the Freedom Tower might just be mitigated. (Note the translucent wind screens on the bottom left of the rending, a gesture that hearkens back to the windswept plaza that was the old WTC plaza.)

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