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Dream Teams No Longer Just a Dream for Ground Zero

Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announces shortlist of international architects and planners who will help shape the future of Lower Manhattan.

by ArchNewsNow
September 27, 2002

Yesterday afternoon, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) announced the six teams selected from among 407 submissions, representing 34 nations, who will come together this fall to participate in a design study of the World Trade Center site and adjacent areas. Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of the list of finalists is a rather unexpected (and in some cases, quite surprising) mix of “Who’s Who” on many of the teams. The six teams include a total of 27 different firms, individual architects, and artists.


Each team will receive a $40,000 stipend to work on creating plans for the site and surrounding areas based on new, more flexible program requirements being developed by the LMDC and Port Authority (PA) that include a range of commercial space, a preference for honoring the WTC twin towers’ footprints as part of the memorial space, a powerful skyline element, the creation of a grand promenade on West Street, and the exploration of residential housing on or off the site.


By the end of the year, the LMDC and PA will present at least three new site plan proposals for public review. A final land use plan is expected to be released in Spring 2003. Hopefully, the proposals – and the final plan – will meet the required and desired results.




● Firm: Studio Daniel Libeskind, Berlin, Germany


Previous Work: Jewish Museum, Berlin; Imperial War Museum, Manchester, UK; Extension to the Denver Art Museum and Co-Development, Denver


Quote from Submission: "The act of building is an entirely optimistic one and New York deserves, despite and because of the tragedy of September 11th, to have an architecture which is exciting, thought provoking and innovative." 


● Firm: Foster and Partners, London, UK


Previous Work: New German Parliament, Reichstag, Berlin; Commerzbank Headquarters, Frankfurt, Germany; Swiss Re Headquarters, London; Metro System, Bilbao, Spain


Quote from Submission: "New York deserves something great.  Something which looks to the future with an enduring and classic quality, which will become a symbol once again for the city itself and the optimism and cohesiveness of the inhabitants of New York City and the American people."


● Firm/Team: Richard Meier, Peter Eisenman, Charles Gwathmey, and Steven Holl


Previous Work: The Getty Center, Los Angeles, Federal Building and United State Courthouse, Islip, NY (Richard Meier); Greater Columbus Convention Center, Ohio, Paramatta Rail Link, Sydney, Australia (Peter Eisenman); Morgan Stanley and Co. World Headquarters, and Guggenheim Museum Renovation and Addition, NYC (Charles Gwathmey); Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland, New Residential Community, Schipol, The Netherlands (Steven Holl)


Quote from Submission: "We view design as a discovery process that begins with a rigorous inquiry into the particulars of location and program that results in an evolution, transforming problem-solving into art."



Reiser Umemoto (NYC); Foreign Office Architects (London, UK); Greg Lynn FORM (Los Angeles); Imaginary Forces (NYC and Los Angeles); Kevin Kenon Architect (NYC); UN Studio (Amsterdam, Netherlands)


Previous Work: Lehman Brothers Headquarters, NYC (Imaginary Forces); Yokohama International Port Terminal, Yokohama, Japan (Foreign Office Architects); Transformation of Kleiburg Housing, Biklmermeet, The Netherlands (Gregg Lynn FORM)


Quote from Submission: "The terrible destruction of the World Trade Center site created both an imperative for commemoration and the need for development. Ground Zero is the last place any of us want to think about as a 'project', the last place any of us want to see 'developed', in that cynical, shortsighted manner that the word has come to mean.  And now it has to be the first question."


● Firm: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM/NY) with

Field Operations (Philadelphia and NYC);

Tom Leader (Berkeley, CA);

Michael Maltzan (Los Angeles);

Neutelings Riedijk (Rotterdam, Netherlands);

and SANAA (Tokyo)

Together with artists Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, Rita McBride, Jessica Stockholder and Elyn Zimmerman.


Previous Work: New Pennsylvania Station, NYC (SOM - 1998-2005, unbuilt); MoMA QNS, Long Island City, NY (Michael Maltzan); Gifu Kitakata Housing Stage 1, Stage 2, Motosu, Japan (Sanaa)


Quote from Submission: "Like New York, our design team is at once global and local, visionary and practical, mindful of history and willing to question it."


● Firm/Team: THINK

Shigeru Ban (Tokyo, Japan);

Frederic Schwartz (NYC);

Ken Smith (NYC);

Rafael Vinoly (NYC) with Arup;

Buro Happold Engineers (Bath, UK);

Jorg Schlaich (Stuttgart, Germany);

William Moorish (Charlottesville, VA);

David Rockwell (NYC);

Jane Marie Smith (Baltimore, MD)


Previous Work: Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan (Rafael Vinoly); Curtain Wall House, Itabashi-Ku, Tokyo, Japan (Shigeru Ban); Whitehall Ferry Terminal and Peter Minuit Plaza, NYC (Frederic Schwartz)


Quote from Submission: "The role of memory in the construction of our City is as crucial as the proof of its constant renewal. The central problem of this project is not simply how best to remember those that perished in this tragedy but how to make their memory the inspiration for a better future."




-- Ken Greenberg, ArchitectsAlliance; Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner; ARUP/NY and Mueser Rutledge


-- Ian Simpson Architects, Ian Simpson and Rachel Haugh, Principals


-- Eric Owen Moss Architects, Eric Owen Moss, Principal: Lead firm; Coop Himmelb(l)au: Associate firm; Peter Sellars, Artistic Director: Associate firm


-- Bernard Tschumi Architects; Leslie Robertson Associates; Structural Engineering; ARUP, Transportation; Michel Devigne, Landscape Architecture


-- Santiago Calatrava


-- Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects; Julie Bargmann, Landscape Architect of D.I.R.T. Studio; Ralph Lerner Urban Design and Sam Schwartz Company, traffic and transportation design.




New York New Visions, a coalition of 21 architecture, engineering, planning, landscape architecture and design organizations recommended a distinguished group of six panelists to winnow down the 407 submissions to a group of finalists. The panelists included Toshiko Mori, Chair of the Department of Architecture, Harvard Design School; Eugenie L. Birch, Professor and Chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania; Richard N. Swett, former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark and the only licensed architect to serve in the US Congress in the 20th Century; Kinshasha Holman Conwill, an arts and management consultant and Director Emeritus of the Studio Museum of Harlem; Terence Riley, Chief Curator of the Department of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art; Michael Van Valkenburgh, landscape architect and principal of Van Valkenburgh Associates.


A full report (including quotes from appropriate dignitaries) is available at

© 2002