WTC redesign competition going global

Thursday, August 15, 2002

NEW YORK -- Facing criticism that its initial plans to rebuild the World Trade Center site were mundane, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. launched a worldwide competition for new proposals Wednesday.

"This effort to reach out to the finest architects and planners around the globe significantly expands the search for the best design talent," said John C. Whitehead, the development corporation's chairman.

The decision to reopen the process means plans will not be completed until spring 2003 at the earliest.

"We are looking for excitement, creativity, energy," said Roland W. Betts, chairman of the organization's site planning task force.

When six plans were proposed in July, the timetable called for narrowing the designs to three by September and selecting one by the end of the year.

But New Yorkers criticized the first round of efforts. The sentiment was negative when 5,000 people reviewed the plans in July.

The development corporation drew up the original six proposals in concert with Beyer Blinder Belle, a New York architectural and planning firm that has worked on major public projects such as the restorations of Grand Central Terminal, Ellis Island and Governors Island.

Under the new process, as many as five teams will be selected on Sept. 30 to prepare additional proposals.

By the end of November, the teams will be required to submit final drawings and models. A public review will be held by the end of the year.

The corporation said the new plans will include elements the public supported, such as a tall symbol or structure recognizable worldwide; a memorial on the footprints of the towers; a mixture of commercial and retail space in other sections; and a promenade connecting with nearby Battery Park, where ferries travel to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

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