Volume 16 • Issue 31 | December 30 - January 8, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Only ‘Reflecting’ is worthy

To The Editor:
Re “A W.T.C. juror speaks” (news article, Dec. 16 –22):

I appreciate your article, but Mr. Young is just wrong.  

Let me say I have high respect for the judges and was happy when I heard who was judging. The major flaw was in the process.

The actual guidelines and process were great. It fell apart upon judging. It is apparent that the judges came to a consensus before seeing one entry. Yes they saw all 5201, but they dropped maybe 80% or more by agreeing not to judge any with wreckage, height, imagery etc… this can be seen by the final eight.

An observation was made about the eight designs by design teams meeting at a Dec. 6th forum, and many agreed. “Reflecting Absence” seems to be the only true finalist. If you see it and take the time you’ll see it is a good entry. Those falling waters will drown out all city noises, can be heard for blocks, can handle crowds, is easy to build, elegantly displays names in such a way you have to bow to them, preserves the footprints as a sacred space no one may enter except spirits, embodies a lot of really good technical points. Yes it had problems, but, it is good, very good.  I think it belongs in the top eight as a subtle, somber, powerful choice, but there should have been a variety of choices. Something with a relic, something vertical, something technical, something architectural... what we got was seven shades of vanilla and one really great vanilla.

It’s this lack of variety that points to a potential hidden agenda of the jury. By eliminating anything with relics or vertical elements, (or statues) they can say they saw all 5201 boards, but eliminated all but maybe 400. It’s apparent by the final eight that they decided before even seeing the boards that there were things they wanted and didn’t want without going into it with an open mind.

Judges have been quoted in private settings as deciding to ignore all entries that include icons (wreckage), dropping any entries with a vertical element (anything above street level), killing all ideas that include the use of statues, and removing any submission that had any allusion to the original towers.  The chosen finalists illustrate this.  All are low bunkers with no mention of fallen heroes, and no recognizable imagery.  All are so devoid of reference, they could be placed anywhere and represent any tragedy.  Anyone visiting Manhattan could walk past any of the finalists and potentially never know it was there, since none come above street level.

Eric Gibbons

Tower safety

To The Editor:
Regarding your article on the new World Trade Center tower (news article, Dec. 23 –29, 2003, “Wind and light for W.T.C. tower”), is anyone else concerned that the tower, and the entire W.T.C. will once again, be totally immune from all N.Y.C. Building and Fire Dept. codes?

What about another restaurant on top, an idea that was harshly criticized as a dangerous idea by fire professionals the first time around?

Has anyone consulted with the F.D.N.Y., fire safety academics, evacuation specialists and antiterrorist construction experts? How many times does history have to repeat itself before we learn from past mistakes?

Why is Gov. Pataki allowing the Port Authority to once again construct buildings that are above the law, and for which nobody can be held responsible? Didn’t we learn anything from 9/11/01 and why are our elected officials allowing this to happen?

Sally Regenhard
Chairperson, Skyscraper Safety Campaign


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