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September 18, 2007
by Rick Bell FAIA Executive Director AIA New York
Coutdown

Dara McQuillan of Silverstein Properties counts down until CD sets for the east bathtub are complete.

Rick Bell

Larry Silverstein’s remarks were on target. He spoke of how much is happening at the World Trade Center site, and how the three teams hired by Silverstein Properties to design Towers 2, 3, and 4 have been working side-by-side in the super-sized studio at 7WTC. But the point of the September 6 convocation was the buildings themselves. Among other common features, including their projected LEED ratings, all focused on integrating commercial space on the ground floor thus animating the eastern façades along Church Street and enlivening the streetscape.

For Tower 2, to be known as 200 Greenwich Street and designed by Foster and Partners with Adamson Associates, retail space lines both the north and south sides of the building’s base. The 78-story structure respects the major aspects of the WTC Master Plan by Studio Daniel Libeskind, including integration with the “Wedge of Light” plaza and inflective roof planes. Tower 2 contains 138,000 square feet of retail and some 2.3 million square feet of office space. According to Foster and Partners’ project architect Michael Jelliffe, “the glazed crystalline form and diamond shaped summit of the building will be visible throughout the city and situate the Memorial Park when viewed from any location.”

Tower 3, designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has 2.1 million square feet of office space and 193,000 square feet of retail. Richard Paul, partner at RSHP, noted that the 175 Greenwich Street structure, “stands centrally across Greenwich Street from the main axis formed by the two reflecting pools of the memorial.” Renderings show Dey and Cortlandt Streets as pedestrian streets unencumbered by stairways within the paved area. The verticality of the rectilinear tower is accentuated by antennae that stretch the building height to 1,240 feet above grade.

The fourth tower at 150 Greenwich Street is 64 stories tall. At 975 feet above grade it contains 1.8 million square feet of office space and five floors of retail, four located at or above sidewalk level. Project architect Gary Kamemoto of Maki and Associates said that “the above-grade retail takes the form of a podium that becomes a catalyst in activating and enlivening the immediate urban environment at pedestrian street level,” as does the Transit Hall that connects public space to the Cortlandt Street IRT stop. The angular, trapezoidal and parallelogram-shaped floor plans will create a distinctive profile on the Lower Manhattan skyline.

A countdown clock on the wall in the 7WTC super-studio indicates how many days remain until completion of construction documents for the east bathtub area of the site. Six years after the destruction of the World Trade Center, there was a sense of urgency in the room overlooking the site, and confidence the new towers would be realized regardless of the demolition schedule of Deutsche Bank or related construction schedules of the underground service concourse.

The presentation of the towers was put into perspective, as well, by an update on the National September 11 Memorial & Museum by its president/CEO Joe Daniels. The memorial project, now under construction, integrates the “Reflecting Absence” design by Michael Arad, AIA, and Peter Walker, FASLA, with the underground Memorial Museum by Davis Brody Bond Aedas (including a portion of the Vesey Street “Survivors Stair”) and the “Memorial Pavillion” visitors’ arrival center by Snohetta.

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