Commemorating 9/11 USA

The Freedom Tower still stands—just under another name

World Trade Center masterplan is "essentially my design", says Daniel Libeskind

Libeskind: the new World Trade Center buildings "are still essentially my designs"

The master plan of the new World Trade Center, like its architecture, is not by a single hand, but I believe that both are still essentially my designs. The architectural centrepiece of the project, the "Freedom Tower", will be as I designed it, 1,776ft in height (the date of the founding of the United States), and the plan of the site still features five towers arrayed in a spiral grid. My notion of this grid replicates the shape of the torch of the Statue of Liberty if viewed from the Hudson River.

The centre of the site remains, as I proposed it, a memorial and a large public space, and a spatial opening or “wedge of light” in the building grid mimics exactly 8.46am on September 11 (the moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center). Both are still prominent features of the plans/elevation. I also fought against a below-ground shopping mall, as in the previous Trade Center, in favour of shops opening onto the street.

There are many, many stakeholders in the design process; then there are the New Yorkers, the inhabitants of lower Manhattan, the surviving families, all weighing in on that process. I have always embraced all of them as important to the process of democracy and a belief that they can all share an urbanistic idea.

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