Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Game, Set, Match, David Childs -- Banality Prevails

Finally, they managed to exorcise the artist Daniel Libeskind from his involvement with the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site and got exactly what they knew they'd get pursuant to that action: an unimaginative obelisk that's out of sync with the site's overall design and all about height. More office space. Smaller footprint. Nothing special. Let me say that again: Nothing special.

David Childs, however, is happy:

"I feel better about this than the original," said the building's chief architect, David M. Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. "The building is simpler, architecturally. It is unique, yet it subtly recalls, in the sky, the tragedy that has happened here."

But then he would. He's been trying to hijack this project from Libeskind from day 1, and Pataki's choice to force Libeskind to collaborate with Childs was one of the worst decisions he could have made. It's like asking Picasso and Matisse to paint a single composition. No, I'm sorry, it's like asking Picasso and some fingerpainting kindergartener to collaborate.

And to add insult to insult to insult, Childs is still claiming that the design echoes the Statue of Liberty. You tell me, what recalls the Statue of Liberty more -- Child's design or Libeskind's original design?

For shame, Gov. Pataki. I can't be the only native of the metro area, the only transplant, the only lover of great architecture and yearner for the worthy restoration of one of the crucial locations in the greatest city on the planet, who finds himself near tears this morning that something so wholly ordinary is going to dominate such hallowed ground.

And so it is that tragedy is heaped upon tragedy. Pardon what must seem like melodrama for those less familiar with NYC, but for me this is a sad, sad day.

VANITY UPDATE: In private correspondence with Armand, I sort of blurted out this line, which I thought I'd add to this post: "[the new freedom tower] literally sticks out from the other, more beautiful structures planned for the site like a sore thumb, as though manhattan were trying to hitch a ride to canada."


Blogger lawhawk said...

That's an interesting comment. It does stick out like a sore thumb. I don't find the design of the tower nearly as distasteful as you do, but I have other problems with the site plan. One of the complaints is that the planners are trying to shoehorn too much office space into too much space at the site. Easy solution - rebuild Twin Towers - you get the office space without the footprint being much larger than the originals.

Of course, the original Twin Towers were critically unloved until they were no more. While it would have been nice to see a design with flair and whimsy (Norman Foster's for one) take shape, Libeskind's design was never workable (he had never designed a skyscraper ever and had no clue other than what looked pretty to him). Even the symbolism is forced on his part (original and revised designs). Hundreds of feet of space within the tower is empty in order to get to the 1,776' height. This is a better and more practical design than the original, but it is in no way, shape or form a great design.

9:22 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker