October 21, 2004

Passing Thoughts

I was reading a webpage that was making a strong case linking Saddam with 9-11. The pictures of the World Trade Center set me on a train of thought.

Doesn't... it... just... piss... you... off?

New York is lesser without those big boys in the skylline.

And doesn't Liebskind's design just blow chunks?

I think we should build the same World Trade Center buildings again, just change up the volume. So I've heard, the WTC was over programmed with office space, the drama of vertical thrust exceeding the demmand for office space. This means that there's a lot of play internally, both vertically and horizontally.

In fact, the original design is remarkable. Yamasaki, Robertson and Skilling. A decent explanation of the structural design is here although there must be better elsewhere. They inverted the traditional curtain wall approach (with the exterior walls hung off the structural frame) and made the walls structural.

Of course, the original design will have to be evolved so that internal volumes can be carved out freely. Can it be done?

Should it be done? Hell yea. Knock us down, we get back up again. And we'll be better than before.

I google and find a NOVA show about the structural failure of the WTC:

NOVA: I think some people were surprised when they saw this massive 110-story building collapse into a rubble pile only a few stories tall.

Eagar: Well, like most buildings, the World Trade Center was mostly air. It looked like a huge building if you walked inside, but it was just like this room we're in. The walls are a very small fraction of the total room. The World Trade Center collapse proved that with a 110-story building, if 95 percent of it's air, as was the case here, you're only going to have about five stories of rubble at the bottom after it falls.

Lotta air. So make the interior airy.

You could place volumetric memorial spaces into the exact position of the original crashes.

And capable of dealing with 10,000 gallons of flaming jet plane fuel.

And Phalanx guns out rigging the window washing divits too. (Check out the link, the fotos are intense! When you look at them, imagine a Robot Overloard meets Mies detail.)

Well, what do you know? It seems someone else has had this idea before, albeit a dry one.

This proposal is hamfisted. Many elements (ground plane above and below, the interior volumes) should be recomposed as radical formal and programmatic departures. Here's a fisking of the engineer's "Reasons to Adopt the Plan":

(Skipping past the boring item one)

... 2. The Twin Towers will reclaim over 10,000,000 square feet of column-free office space.

See what I mean? Ten million is alot of room. (...or is it? How can one check this out?)

3. The Twin Towers will restore revenues from tourism; in fact revenues would increase.

Yea, tell them they can make some money.

4. The site plan offers a substantial, powerful. and appropriate memorial covering 6 acres, 17 when the individual floors of the 9/11 Memorial Museum are counted. The proposed memorial complex not only respects the original Tower footprints, but incorporates them into the memorial in substantive way. The proposed complex contains a Hall of Heroes, a space to meditate, and allows for the interment of unidentified remains.

"Hall of Heros"? Yeeeesh. Libeskind likes this mawkish tripe too, probabaly his influence.

5. The shopping complex that was housed one level below grade, along with street-level retail, will create many jobs and stimulate the economy and bring in substantial sales tax revenue.

Flip the dollar bills under our noses again. About as uninflected, neutral and white bread a treament... no vision.

6. A sensible arrangement of tax abatements and incentives could entice businesses to choose Lower Manhattan, and the Twin Towers in particular, as their location to conduct business.

Flip the dollar bills under our noses yet again.

Posted by Dennis at October 21, 2004 1:29 AM

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