Hurricane Irene was no match for tenth anniversary preparations at the World Trade Center site. In fact, some are claiming that the storm could have been a good thing for the soon-to-be-open memorial site. Joseph Daniels, president and CEO of the Memorial Foundation, told The Observer that all the trees on the site, including the Survivor Tree, made it out of the storm unscathed. And at a depth of only six feet, the eight-acre plaza “lid” did seem quite vulnerable just a few days ago. While there was some minor flooding and dripping underneath the plaza, Daniels said, there was no major damage. If anything, Daniels was saw Irene’s drips in a glass half full, pushing the project slightly ahead of schedule: “All the preparations we did in preparing for the storm actually helped prepare us for the opening, like removing excess equipment and temporary fencing that had been surrounding the pools.”
Amidst the flurry of activity surrounding the World Trade Center another monument is nearing completion, though this one is not exactly brand new. By the end of this week restorers of the Montgomery Monument at Trinity’s St. Paul’s Chapel will be securing the last arrow tip and guttae to the nation’s first monument.
It’s been several weeks since our last visit to the World Trade Center site. On our return today we were taken with the manner in which different architects handle ventilation at the site. The most obvious example are the two large vent structures that protrude from the west side of the Memorial Plaza. The concrete buildings are a necessary solution to a complicated infrastructure problem. Davis Brody Bond (now Aedas) designed a mesh mask for the concrete structures and workers were putting the finishing touches on south building today.
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An abstract vision of the site’s future is also a high-tech marketing display.
As work at the World Trade Center site progresses steadily, a matryoshka-like replica of it has taken shape on the 10th floor of 7 World Trade. With a view of the construction below, the Silverstein Properties marketing suite occupies the same floor as the WTC architects’ annex offices, providing a tableau of the working architects as well as the completed site to prospective tenants of towers Two, Three, and Four. Scaled architecture studio Radii Inc. have been designing models of the site since its earliest phases, so Silverstein’s senior VP of marketing and communications approached Radii partners Ed Wood and Leszek Stefanski with his conceptual ideas for the diorama. “He wanted it to be big,” said Wood. “Our first questions was, ‘What are the ceiling heights?’”
A Little Help from Friends. You can generate beautiful images in Revit. Marc Teer of Black Spectacles says that with a little patience and help from other programs, pretty pictures are possible. Teer advises that certain elements, such as line weight, take a little legwork, but other elements, such as the level of detail, can be managed within the program. Finally, take it over to Illustrator and InDesign to clean up overlaps and polish your drawing off with a wider array of fancy font choices.
Public Transit. Who says Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey doesn’t endorse alternative transportation? The Star Ledger reports that the governor rode a spanking new State Police helicopter to his son’s baseball game yesterday.
Branding Transit. If all of us had a state funded helicopter at our disposal, we wouldn’t have to be convinced to take public transportation, but, alas… A new report from EMBARQ says that if public transport wants to compete with General Motors, then it had better go toe to toe with GM’s $21 billion advertising budget. The World Resources Institute gives an overview of the report. (Via Planetizen.)
Fill ‘er up. The World Trade Center is doing just swell, thank you very much. With Anna Wintour and Graydon Carter planning to pull up in their big black Town Cars, Crain’s reports that now UBS may pluck their staff from their Stamford, CT locale and put them up in one of the downtown towers.
In lower Manhattan, especially today when President Obama was in town to lay a wreath, the world’s media was fast talking about Ground Zero. Very few call it the World Trade Center. The GZ term is so widely used that few think twice about it.
And yet, just yesterday, a contingent of men and women responsible for rebuilding the World Trade Center braved the cold rain for a conference hosted by the Building Trade Employers Association (BTEA) and found themselves struck on the semantics of just those words. The event brought together the builders and suppliers of the 16 acre site for an update on building progress. Very little was said about the momentous events of the past week or the impending presidential visit, which, like the rain, was going to slow down work. This was a group with a singular focus: rebuilding.
BTEA President and CEO Louis Coletti introduced speakers who in turn discussed a particular aspect of the project. But when one speaker referred to One World Trade as “the Freedom Tower,” Chris Ward, the executive director of the Port Authority grimaced, held up his index finger to signify the number one and said, “It’s One World Trade.”
It’s been a couple of weeks since we stopped by the WTC site. The most striking aspect from the street remains the speed with which glass surfaces begin to rise. It seems like only yesterday that three stories of glass wrapped around Tower One. Now with ten stories completed, the quartz-like surfaces start to take shape. At the Memorial Museum, Snohetta’s glass has flown up in what seems a matter of days. The facade already reflects the grove, whose trees continue their own march toward West Street.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer pulled together a stellar panel of World Trade movers and shakers to update the community Wednesday night, but the crowd wasn’t impressed. Chris Ward, executive director of the the Port Authority, was joined at the podium by LMDC Chair Avi Schick, DOT Lower Manhattan Commissioner Louis Sanchez, Downtown Alliance President Elizabeth Berger, president and CEO of the memorial Joe Daniels, State Senator Dan Squadron and Congressman Jerry Nadler. Silverstein Properties’ Malcolm Williams breezed through a PowerPoint update detailing progress of the four towers at the site. Ward’s presentation showed the robust ribs of the Calatrava structure from underneath the plaza. But Sanchez’s presentation outlining plans for the accommodating tour buses took on the most scrutiny.
While most of the World Trade Center site whirls in mid-construction, the National September 11 Memorial is a mere 208 days from completion. That thought brings both relief and consternation to local residents who have seen their neighborhood become a national flash point for mourning, controversy, and debate. It is also about to become one of the most heavily trafficked tourist destinations in the country.
[ As the World Trade Center continues its ascent, AN stops by the massive construction site for a weekly update. ]
From behind a blue tarp shielding the remains of the Deutsche Bank building, the sound of groaning metal being bent into submission has stopped. Debris sits separated in two neat piles, one for crushed cement and the other for metal. A polished Peterbilt mack truck with an empty container made its way through gate to take away yet another load. There were no formalities, but by this time next week the last of the World Trade Center ruins will be gone.