The first thing we do, let's kill all the architects

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Are these really the best America can come up with to replace the World Trade Center? Daniel Libeskind's design has nothing going for it except height (which admittedly is not a small concern: That New York didn't have the world's, or even America's, tallest building even before 9/11 is nothing short of a national disgrace). The THINK team's design is kind of cool to look at, but where do the people go? Do we really want two big structures downtown where you can't even do business?

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  1. How about we kill the people who *choose* the architects, after all, the architects are only providing a service that someone is paying for.

    Not that I’m opposed to killing them mind you, but it seems like treating the symptom rather than the disease…

    Oh, it was a reference to shakespeare and lawyers. Oh. Sorry. I’ll get me hat.

  2. The capacity of architects to design buildings which are either oppressive to their human occupants and/or inadequate for their purpose is astonishing.

    So by all means let’s kill a few architects, but I think that another few groups ought to line up behind them outside the figuarative execution chamber. First in line after the architects should certainly be those commissioning the atrocities.

    However, I think after the aforementioned should go those who teach the architects. There must surely be some fundamental failure by professors of architecture to stress that the practical aspects of buildings must come before any architectural theory fashionable at the time of design or any other factor which hinders the practicality and visual appeal of buildings.

  3. This quote from the linked story may explain the THINK design:

    “Representatives of the Think team, led by New York-based architects Rafael Vinoly and Frederic Schwartz, noted that the redesigned space must fulfill expectations worldwide.”

    Perhaps they were so busy being pretentious that they forgot to fulfill the expectations of the people who are actually paying them?

  4. Yes, kill the architects AND the twits who choose them. (Sigh.)

    Tim, THINK’s idea makes a cool model. Trust me, it would suck big time as a built form. THINK’s pathetic, wounded structures boldly glowing light – Oh, to wallow in self pity, to struggle to reach back up – Oh, I can hardly keep my spandrels straight – Oh, the pain standing up again…

    (goes off line to puke.)

    (returns, angry.)

    THINK’s spirit is right out of a NYTimes Editorial.

    Libeskind’s “slash” schtick is hardly art to be proud of either, but at least it doesn’t reek.

    It’s so embarrassing just looking at those “designs”. Neither concept embraces pride, neither captures the spirit of American enterprise. Minoru Yamasaki’s original masterpiece succeeded. I didn’t dig his design much – he left the profile blank – but I did admire the expression of power, and the grace in achieving it. THINK and Libeskind offer farcical, hyperintellectualistic nonsense.

  5. how ’bout a 2,000 ft flagstaff waving an Old Glory the size of USS Cole….and a fitting memorial on the plaza below.

  6. My construction surveying instructor made a list of where everyone in the world ranks in relation to God. Architects ranked somewhere in between car-jackers and trial lawyers.

  7. Where is Howard Roarke when we need him?

  8. You’re right, let’s rebuild the towers exactly as they were…and maybe we can pretend it never happened. While the execution may not appeal to you, it shouldn’t taint the impulse to do something symbolic and extraordinary. We have plenty of practical buildings, but I wouldn’t trade the Eiffel Tower or the Washington Monument for a generic office block–like the WTC towers. The only remarkable thing about them WAS their size, which may explain the proposals obsession with height for heights sake.

  9. The Libeskind design is passable, I’m sure it will be modified before being built, so hopefully it will end up better if it’s chosen. The THINK design is a real piece of junk though. It just seems wrong to build two giant latticework buildings, like they’re the skeletons of the WTC.

    On a more practical note, how cost effective is the THINK design. Those latice buildings look expensive for museums and libraries or whatever they’re putting in them.

  10. Maybe someone should revive the idea of Wright’s mile-high building…if you’re into the whole “height for height’s sake” thing, that is…

  11. jonah goldberg had a really good idea right after the towers were hit: 220 story buildings, with some SERIOUS AAA and SAMs (course you’d likely need to get some pretty serious declination built in to the emplacements, but that could be handled)

    as for architecture in general.. it’s pretty much all bs.. too conceptual, post modern… they’ve forgotten that its supposed to be functional…

    michael graves does nice stuff, it’s new and edgy, but it’s still a building.. liebskind builds monstrosities… gherry is atrocious.. think! should have

  12. They’re both junk of the worst kind-impractical and ugly. The grad student’s idea is actually better than either one, but why can’t we come up with another Empire State Building or two? How about that alleded Gaudi design that was floating around last week? Trust me, no one is going to want to walk into those messes on a daily basis. No one.

  13. Having spent a lot of years working with architects in the 80’s, when I was building digital imaging networks, I can attest to the fact that they may be the single most arrogant profession.

    Has anyone suggested rebuilding the towers the way they were?

  14. Disclaimer, I’m an architect student, Sophomore Spring Studio.

    The Designs aren’t buildings; they are massive sculptures that symbolise some idea.

    They are, essentially, the product of current architectural education. The words “building”, “room”, etc are banned. Instructors want “creativity” and “something different”. They don’t know why (and care even less that) the vast majority of the population likes buildings that are easily identifiable as “house”, “post office”, “school”, and why most people ignore most buildings built after 1900.

    As for the WTC site…the land values there demand that something high-dense be built. Hi-rises are difficult to design without resorting to ultra-simple designs such as the old WTC. One thing is for sure: no one ever asked the workers at the WTC what they thought of the floor plan. You can guess how a room, about an acre big, with narrow windows, went over with the people who worked there.

  15. The only thing missing from all these monstrosities is a big bullseye painted on them.

  16. Both designs are crap, but the Libeskind is only slightly crappy. It is the best we can hope for in a situation where public input is necessary.

  17. The architecture student above is quite correct: when I was briefly an architecture student, it was all about “negative space” and “deconstructivism” nonsense (that is, buildings that appear to “explode” or “fall down”, and that no one wants to enter, or God forbid, live or work in). It hasn’t been about designing a structure that works with its surroundings in many decades. That said, most of the designs for the new WTC at least pay much more attention to their surroundings than the vast majority of stuff that goes up today, because everyone’s paying attention. The “THINK” plans, though (there were three) seem totally abstract to me. Nothing more than gimmickry. No idea how one of them got selected for the final round. Then there is the issue of (Larry?) Silverstein. My understanding is that he bought the lease from the Port Authority — doesn’t that mean he can put up whatever he wants? He said this week that, essentially, he doesn’t like either of the two finalists.

  18. Doesn’t it matter to anyone that there is a man named Larry Silverstein who holds the lease on the WTC? Both of the “finalist” designs seem like bizarre exercizes in macro-sculpture, rather than buildings in which some form of commerce might be carried on, and from which Mr. Silverstein, the lease-holder, might see some revenue.

    If I had a 99 year lease on Manhattan real estate with 90-some years to go, I’d like to get some tenants in my buildings — or, you might say, get some buildings I could have tenants in, which the latticework THINK proposal seems to make impossible.

    Or — what Rhywun said.

    If we [who? how did “the public” come to have a say in this, anyway?] make a huge, useless memorial out of lower Manhattan — instead of using that real estate for something productive — * the terrorists have won!*

  19. Mark S:

    nice reference!!!

    cheers,
    drf

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