NEW YORK – Renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, currently the architectural chair at the University of Toronto, won the competition to rebuild the World Trade Center site.
The Berlin-based architect, who was also chosen to update and expand the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, proposes to create a glassy geometric building complex – with one building topped by a spire reaching 541 metres (or 1,776 feet – the year of American independence).
Libeskind, who was born in Poland but grew up in New York, called his selection “a tremendously proud and moving moment.”
The plan also includes a meditation space, 70 storeys of office space, a hanging garden and a 21-metre deep memorial, exposing the concrete foundation walls that survived the towers collapse.
Libeskind said his calculations of the arc of the sun have been incorporated in the design of the buildings. He will construct the buildings so no shadows will be cast every Sept 11 between 8:48 a.m. – the time the first tower was hit by a plane – and 10:28 a.m., the collapse of the second tower.
The 541-metre tower will be the tallest in the world, surpassing Malaysia’s 452-metre Petronas Twin Towers.
The choice was made by a committee with representatives of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, and the offices of the governor and the mayor.
It is estimated the buildings will take 10 to 12 years to construct and could cost $330 million (U.S.)
The losing finalist, the international team THINK, envisioned two 507-metre towers of ethereal latticework. Included in that design was a library, museum and other cultural attractions that would be suspended inside the latticework towers. Mid-rise office buildings would be concentrated at the site’s perimeter.
Nine proposals for redeveloping Ground Zero were unveiled late last year.
Libeskind was selected as the first holder of the Frank Gehry International Visiting Chair in Architectural Design from January through April 2003.
The Gehry Chair is held by a visiting architect of international prominence for an academic term of four months. Libeskind was a University of Toronto architecture professor in the late 1970’s.
His designs include the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester.