May 16, 2006

Throwing Good Money After Arad

There's very interesting reporting, but nothing too surprising or too comforting, in Joe Hagan's NY Mag feature on the complete disaster that is Michael Arad and his WTC Memorial design. Within two weeks of the jury choosing Arad's design, it seemed clear that the jury and the LMDC wanted to design and alter the memorial as it wished, and that Arad's inexperience and youth--and the concept's many unresolved elements--were thought to be "the most amenable to their impending directives."...
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Posted by greg at 02:07 PM

December 16, 2005

Yin Xiuzhen's Portable Cities

Beijing-based artist Yin Xiuzhen's Portable Cities series are models of cities inside suitcases, made using the old clothes that city's residents. In her practice, she explores issues of globalization and homogenization, but also memory and transience. In a way, her work reminds me of the nomadic Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata, who constructs temporary structures, favelas, and whirlwind-like vortices out of scrap wood and junk he collects around the city. While they exist, they put into play issues of development...
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Posted by greg at 10:14 AM

December 14, 2005

Not That You'd Look To The WTC Site For Holiday Cheer,

And it's true that things have been worse down there... but seriously, is there nothing that can be done to stop the slide into disgusting travesty that the George Pataki is permitting the Port Authority to perpetuate? People who cared about art and culture and constructive memorializing sound like they hold no hope for the WTC site now. The memorial's core feature--waterfalls into the voids of the footprints--will be turned off in the winter. Because no one thought of this...
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Posted by greg at 04:49 PM

November 29, 2005

The Number I Want To Know: Libeskind's Net From The 9/11 Memorial Racket

Grr. Sometimes I don't know which is worse: the cloying, dishonest schmaltzfest of a master plan put forward for the WTC site by Pataki's democracy organ grinder monkey Danny Libeskind, or the de facto plan that eviscerated it, the one that's actually being built under political cover of Libeskind's handiwork. Then, I read about a 9/11 memorial he built in Padua, Italy, which uses the same bogus, headbanging numerological symbolism to beat its message into visitors heads--in this case, the...
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Posted by greg at 12:43 AM

October 05, 2005

I Have A Dream Of 5-7 Million People Ready To Shop

Three years ago now, I cynically lamented the absence of a "Memorial Mall concept" from the Port Authority's poorly received master planning massing studies. I guess I should have been more patient. The Post reports on the PA's recently announced plans to develop "street-level retail" on the WTC site: "For one thing, a five-level retail galleria of the sort now in the dream stage exists nowhere in Daniel Libeskind's master site plan." GROUND ZERO RETAIL IN FLUX [nyp] "Manhattan's Most...
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Posted by greg at 10:18 AM

September 28, 2005

Hallowed-er Than Thou

Partly because an International Freedom Center founded by George Bush's old friend and business partner wasn't a reassuringly hagiographic enough puppet, but mostly because it was personally expedient for them to do so, George Pataki and a dogpile of other sanctimonious politicians suddenly decided to defend the "hallowed ground" of the WTC site's "memorial quadrant" by banning the IFC altogether. "Memorial quadrant"?? If only the limits of this farce were as clearly delineated. How is that quadrant any more "hallowed"...
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Posted by greg at 09:03 PM

September 11, 2005

Technically, It Has Been Worse

My daughter became very sad this morning as she tried to coax her day-old balloon up off the floor. It was heartbreaking to watch, and we tried to console her, but then I realized that on some September 11th to come, I'll have to try to explain far worse things to her about this date....
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Posted by greg at 08:31 AM

As Ronald Reagan Once Said,

Are you better of than you were four years ago?Indeed, what's most shocking is not any particular mistake that was made but how often federal officials were left to brainstorm or hash out on-the-fly just what the federal government's responsibilities were, how to coordinate federal, state and local relief efforts, or even simply who was in charge. Reading those passages of the article, there's one conclusion I think any fair-minded person would have to come to. And that is that...
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Posted by greg at 08:21 AM

August 20, 2005

London's Train Station Memorials

In the London Review of Books, writer Iain Sinclair sets out to visit the now-nearly invisible WWI memorials in some of London's train stations:The panels advertising the war dead are invisible to through-shuffling station users, clients of apathy. The false ceiling doesn’t help. Nor the perch of CCTV cameras keeping vigil on the permanent queue for the cash machine. Search the list for a lost relative and you are bang in the middle of the surveillance frame. Cameras are spiked...
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Posted by greg at 12:04 PM

August 18, 2005

If I Can't Have You...

I've gotten some pretty angry emails since my International Freedom Center post comparing GWB's cult of infallibility to Kim Jong Il's. Most of them single out my insensitive characterization of 9/11 family member Debra Burlingame as a toady, unwitting or not, for the current administration. I'm no pundit, and I don't honestly know why anyone cares what I think, but let me say it straight out: I think both the IFC and The Drawing Center should be removed from the...
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Posted by greg at 07:53 AM

August 12, 2005

Coming Soon: The Debra Burlingame Center For International Adoration Of Our Peerless Leader

Did you know George W. Bush shot a miraculous 11 holes-in-one on the first round of golf he ever played? This and other such signs of his divine leadership in the face of terror will soon be on display, if Debra Burglingame, in her infinite wisdom, permits it. She campaigned for Bush, though, so I'm optimistic. Freedom Center's Place at Ground Zero in Question [nyt]...
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Posted by greg at 12:42 AM

July 28, 2005

Hm. Doesn't Sound Like Intelligent Design OR Evolution

Santiago Calatrava's desgin for a WTC site transit hub has been altered for security reasons. The soaring wings and the glass atrium? Gone, filled in with concrete, to match the new "beak" and solid concrete wall surrounding the joing. According to the NYT's achingly diplomatic David Dunlap, the new design "will almost certainly lose some of its delicate quality, while gaining structural expressiveness. It may now evoke a slender stegosaurus more than it does a bird." But didn't birds evolve...
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Posted by greg at 09:25 PM

July 19, 2005

The Withdrawing Center?

Well, that's one way to keep the memory of September 11th alive. Remember how people had these stories about how they were supposed to be at the World Trade Center, but then for whatever reason, they didn't go? And how lucky they felt? Well, now you can add The Drawing Center--and possibly the Joyce and Signature Theaters to that list. The Drawing Center is putting its move and development plans on hold until it gets assurance that its curatorial program...
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Posted by greg at 09:35 PM

July 06, 2005

So September 10th

Hmm. I don't really know what to make of this. In the months after September 11, when no one knew what shape the WTC site would take in the future, but when people were at least entertaining the possibility that architecture and contemporary art might be able to make some sense of what'd happened, John Powers' ideas from a show about memorials earlier that year kept coming to my mind. He proposed aggressively political minimalist gestures for sites in Manhattan...
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Posted by greg at 11:32 PM

June 30, 2005

The Politicians Have Already Won

" [G]round zero is not really being shaped by architects; it is being shaped by politicians." "[Freedom Tower] will be seen by the world as a chilling expression of how we are reshaping our identity in a post-Sept. 11 context." [ouroussof, nyt] ">Redesign Puts Freedom Tower on a Fortified Base [nyt]...
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Posted by greg at 02:01 AM

June 27, 2005

Gee, If Only 'Policing Artwork' Were Easier...

George Pataki demanded "an absolute guarantee" that no one be offended by what goes on with the cultural organizations at the WTC site. That's frankly offensive. I love that the problem here is couched in terms of politicians' "difficulty of policing artwork," not in terms of, say, "a blatantly anti-American demagoguery that mocks the very idea of 'freedom.'" Pataki Warns Cultural Groups for Museum at Ground Zero [nyt]...
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Posted by greg at 12:33 PM

June 25, 2005

It Depends On What The Meaning Of 'Freedom' Is

Upset that the Wall Street Journal is having all the fun, what with all the Bush Republican-campaigning sisters of dead Sept. 11th pilots demagoguing about whose "truth" is in and whose "propaganda" is out at the WTC site, the New York Daily News tried to gin up a controversy of its own about, of all things, The Drawing Center. At least the critics of the International Freedom Center's are sophisticated (sophistry-cated?) enough to demand that no politically distorted manipulations of...
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Posted by greg at 10:08 PM

May 26, 2005

Imagine Paul Goldberger Stepping Out Of The Shower

Like some architecture critical version of Bobby Ewing. [Or is it Pamela? Whichever.] In this week's New Yorker, Paul Goldberger writes about the horrible dream he just had: Pataki and the Port Authority were railroading their 10mm sf uber alles program through at the WTC site, resulting in pointless, tenantless, characterless office buildings with marginal cultural facilities wedged in around their base, and a memorial that was little more than a front yard for some jingoistic, politicized ego-booster called the...
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Posted by greg at 03:58 PM

May 20, 2005

This Problem Was Baked In From The Beginning Of The Process

What is missing at ground zero is a sense of humility. This is something that cannot be remedied by reducing the scale of a building. We should refocus attention on what matters most: remembering the human beings who were lost at ground zero, while allowing life to return to the void there. The rest is a pointless distraction.-Nicolai Ouroussoff, discussing the inherent problems with the current redevelopment and memorial plans for the WTC site, which he notes has been parcelled...
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Posted by greg at 12:14 AM

May 18, 2005

Now let's see, what rhymes with 'glass hat'?

Miss Representation dumps a scalding hot cup of realism in the Port Authority's lap by asking if their crown jewel--and the only thing the PA's obduracy hasn't botched so far--the Calatrava "transit hub", isn't just a crown roast instead. The official line, of course, is that everything's going smoothly, no hitches, what? but as MR points out, that's demonstrably not possible, given the degree of flux and uncertainty surrounding all the other elements of the site redevelopment. And then, on...
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Posted by greg at 12:28 PM

May 04, 2005

WTC? What WTC? I Don't See Any WTC

According to Alex Frangos' report in the Wall Street Journal, roughly $1.8 billion of the $4.6 billion insurance proceeds for the WTC have been spent so far on things like buyouts (is that Westfield, the Autralian mall company that used to have the retail rights?) and $15 million/year in management fees for Larry Silverstein. [Not mentioned: the eight figure monthly lease payments Silverstein pays to the Port Authority to stay in the game.] What IS mentioned, though, is Silverstein's heartfelt...
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Posted by greg at 12:44 PM

May 03, 2005

At Least The Bathtub's Not Leaking

While Kevin Rampe jumps from the LMDC, Larry Silverstein may be getting the push. NY1 hears creaking and shouts of eminent domain from Pataki's office, as if he wasn't the visionless machinator behind the whole fiasco. Now opportunists like Sheldon Silver and Chuck Schumer, and the previously stiff-armed Mike Bloomberg smell political smoke wafting from the pile that is the WTC site redevelopment process. Once everything's cleared away, Liebeskind's Bathtub Wall may be the only thing left, by default. Except...
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Posted by greg at 05:55 PM

May 02, 2005

Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P

And that stands for Port Authority or Pataki, take your pick. The Port Authority has apparently threatened some of the architects involved with various aspects of the WTC site redevelopment with breach of their confidentiality agreements if they talk to one other about possible solutions to the growing number of architectural casualties in the master plan. So what's a muzzled starchitect to do? Why, talk to the NY Times architecture critic, of course. Who then writes a damning criticism on...
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Posted by greg at 08:03 AM

April 21, 2005

Ada Louise Huxtable: The WTC Horse Is Out Of The Barn

No honest questioning of the Silverstein/Port Authority 10mm sf program. No more Libeskind master plan. No political backbone or redevelopment vision. No appreciation for the arts as anything but a criticism-placating bullet point on a mission statement. No program apparently required for this amorphous-at-best Freedom Center museum thing, which is going ahead full force anyway. And now no fundraising for no performing arts center, which was originally pitched as a central requirement for the site's viable rebirth. Ada Louise Huxtable's...
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Posted by greg at 08:18 AM

April 08, 2005

Bond?, Max Bond?

Since when did architecture Max Bond, of Davis Brody Bond get above-the-line billing on the design of the World Trade Center Memorial? From the earliest beginnings of the WTC redevelopment and memorial design process, there's been a dissonant gap between the public theater and the actual, invisible strategizing and decisionmaking. Like Japanese bunraku, where the puppeteers are in full view, but the audience is transfixed by the controlled movements of the marionettes. Some day--but not yet, because it's still going...
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Posted by greg at 05:38 PM

March 30, 2005

The Pop Culture of 9/11

The Daily Show; Wag The Dog; Antonia Bird's film, The Hamburg Cell; William Basinski's albums, The Disintegration Loops I-IV; Iyer and Ladd's In What Language?, and more, all mapped against the relevant chapters of The 9/11 Commission Report. At Pitchfork, Chris Dahlen has assembled a thoughtful, sometimes laughable, sometimes cringe-inducing list of pop cultural works where September 11th has figured prominently. The Pop Culture of 9/11 [, via fimoculous] previously: the 2004 launch of Iyer and Ladd's song cycle, In...
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Posted by greg at 12:20 AM

March 25, 2005

On The Flight 93 Memorial Competition

Whoa. I had a looong post about the designs for the Flight 93 memorial competition for the site in Shanksville, PA, but I think I'll spare you. For a few reasons: Lowered expectations. Since the WTC site debacles (or, if you're a Port Authority politico or a hack developer, roaring successes), any idealism or greater hopes that I held out for memorials have dissipated. The designs themselves. Again, the WTC memorial competition shows that 1) 90+% of the entries are...
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Posted by greg at 08:45 AM

March 22, 2005

Squint And It Looks Like The Hudson

Just because it was wrested from his control and altered beyond all recognition by the real powers-that-be in the redevelopment of the WTC site doesn't mean it's not a good idea. Daniel Libeskind has repurposed his ascending-spiral-in-the-skyline and atriums-in-the-sky motifs from his never-to-be-realized WTC master plan and adapted it for a 21-story condo development overlooking the Ohio River in Cincinnati. In addition to my overuse of hyphenated phrases, this reminds me of the Empire State Building's own mini-me, aka the...
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Posted by greg at 10:50 AM

March 19, 2005

On The Memorial At The World Trade Center Site. Still.

For some reason, I can't get my idea for the memorial at the World Trade Center out of my head. I'll read about the intensifying folly that's engulfing redevelopment plans for the site; the dilution of the "winning" memorial design; the inexorable contortions the site plans undergo to meet the Port Authority's political and commercial objectives--those invisibly sacrosanct elements of the rebuilding process which were never open to question, as if what the terrorists really hated was our 10 million...
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Posted by greg at 02:23 PM

January 06, 2005

WTC Site Redevelopment: The Political Opera

Yow. If Philip Nobel's interview is any indication, his new book, Sixteen Acres: Architecture and the Outrageous Struggle for the Future of Ground Zero, is the most incisive telling to date of the architectural and political developments of the World Trade Center site. Nobel counters and corrects a lot of PR-driven conventional wisdom about the plans, designs, objectives, and personalities that dominated the redevelopment process. He identifies already-forgotten incidents that politicized the redevelopment process, that canonized certain symbols (e.g., the...
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Posted by greg at 06:00 PM | TrackBack

December 18, 2004

More On WTC Memorial Design

Very little pun intended. The LMDC and its architects released details of the latest incarnation of the World Trade Center Memorial. Salient changes/evolutions: the giant waterfall voids seem reduced in size and scale. The space for the names of those killed, which is where visitors encounter the waterfalls, is rather low, almost intimate-looking. Conversely, the lower chamber, where footings of the (North) tower columns, at least, will be visible, seems much loftier. The skylit bathtub wall--resurfaced several times since it...
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Posted by greg at 09:14 PM | TrackBack

September 17, 2004

Libeskind Documentary on VPRO

[via archinect] Two extensive interviews with Daniel Libeskind--one contemporary, one from 1997, when he was working on the Berlin Jewish Museum--form the core of Rob Schröder's documentary for VPRO, the cool Dutch TV network. 1997 Libeskind's almost unrecognizable, the earnest academic geek you suspected was lurking behind those trying-a-bit-too-hard black frames. Except for a segment on the V&A extension (which was just cancelled, it turns out), the rest of the film tries directly or indirectly to understand Libeskind's relationship to...
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Posted by greg at 02:24 PM | TrackBack

August 15, 2004

Moving the WTC Site Museums?

Has he shrunk out of sight? Daniel Libeskind was notably absent from David Dunlap's NYT report of architects vying for the commission to design the cultural buildings at the World Trade Center Site. Maybe he's automatically in the running. After all, the museum images we all refer to right now are the cantilevered crystalline forms in Libeskind's original proposal. But, in what is by now standard operating procedure for the Port Authority- and LMDC-run rebuilding effort, flaws and shortcomings are...
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Posted by greg at 06:59 AM | TrackBack

August 07, 2004

I went to the Hiroshima Memorial and all I got was the chance to unload on the Pakistani Ambassador

Took a 3-hour tour, a 3-hour tour to Hiroshima yesterday for the anniversary of the US dropping The Bomb on them. While I'm sure it was much hotter in 1945, the wide-open, stone-paved memorial park seems designed to recreate the inferno-like aftermath of that oh-so terrible morning; there's not a shade tree in sight, and the most-sought-after Anniversary souvenir is a fan. A memorial to a violent incident apparently needs a focal point, something concrete enough for visitors to connect...
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Posted by greg at 12:55 AM | TrackBack

July 20, 2004

How Louis Malle would protest at the Republican Convention

Louis Malle's 1987 film about a pair of boarding school students during WWII, Au revoir, les enfants, was based in large part on his own childhood growing up in Occupied France. In a scene when his mother comes from Paris to the school town to visit, Julien (the Louis Malle character), his friend Bonnett, and his older brother, François, are walking back from lunch. François is visible in the background, being very genial and helpful, explaining directions to a pair...
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Posted by greg at 01:01 AM | TrackBack

July 16, 2004

Looking at Tall Buildings

A correction: Reading Herbert Muschamp's review of MoMA's "Tall Buildings" show, which includes the United Architects proposal for the WTC site. [The 'Dream Team' proposal is in there, too, but I've said all I'll say about that.] Coming after the pissed-to-be-publicly-accountable Meier, United Architecture's proposal was surprisingly moving that morning in Dec.2002. They had made a video (it's still on their site) with cuts of all kinds of happy shiny people looking up from the street, pointing at the...
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Posted by greg at 07:27 AM | TrackBack

July 13, 2004

How I Would Protest At The Republican Convention

Due to a work-related trip out of the country, I will miss the Republican Convention when it comes to town. If I were here, I would protest. I would not use signs, or puppets, or chants; I would protest by reenacting the shocked, dusty exodus from lower Manhattan on the morning of September 11th. Here's how I would do it: - start downtown, maybe even below Canal street - wear expendable business attire. - set up a step ladder on...
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Posted by greg at 10:41 AM | TrackBack

July 08, 2004

At Least They Got The Font Right

David Dunlap has a nice story about the typeface used for the inscription on the Freedom Tower cornerstone. Inspired by the sign on the Port Authority bus terminal, the typeface was designed by Brooklyn native Tobias Frere-Jones, whose name for the font, Gotham, was not just serendipity. [Read an interview with TF-J where he cites the WTC destruction as an inspirational facet of the design.] It's part of a larger Frere-Jones family conspiracy--watch out Jake and Jen!!-- to totally own...
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Posted by greg at 07:19 AM | TrackBack

July 05, 2004

WTC Groundbreaking QTVR

At, Hans Nyberg has posted a remarkable QTVR by Jook Leung, taken from the center of the media scrum at yesterday's Freedom Tower groundbreaking ceremony. Pataki Schmataki, check out the full extent of the Bathtub wall, with its uneven concrete facing and steel cable tiebacks. Once the centerpiece of Libeskind's own sunken memorial plan, the raw wall's going to be refaced, and ultimately, only a small section--if any of it--of it will be visible through a glass curtain wall...
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Posted by greg at 02:59 PM | TrackBack


They'd cover it up for now so it doesn't distract from the event, then they'd rip it out once everyone's gone. They'd also make a few arbitrary, unreviewed, undiscussed decisions about other stuff they'd keep.Most guests arriving at the ceremony were probably unaware that they were crossing the line of the north facade of the north tower, since the column bases had been covered in gravel. Officials of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the...
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Posted by greg at 06:32 AM | TrackBack

July 02, 2004

So We're Rebuilding the WTC After All

Christopher Hawthorne nails this weekend's Pataki Day Celebration, aka the groundbreaking for the Freedom Tower.This is what it has come to at Ground Zero: A premature, election-year press conference held on Independence Day to celebrate the start of construction on a building called the Freedom Tower, which is designed to be precisely 1,776 feet tall and to rise next door to a vaguely conceived but lavishly outfitted museum called the Freedom Center. Who says patriotism is dead?Even though it's not...
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Posted by greg at 09:59 AM | TrackBack

June 16, 2004

Airlines, FAA Sat On Earliest Warnings of 9/11 Hijackings

From Gail Sheehy in the NY Observer Before their F.A.A. superiors forbade them to talk to anyone, two of the controllers told the Christian Science Monitor on Sept. 11 that the captain of Flight 11 [the first plane hijacked], John Ogonowski, was surreptitiously triggering a "push-to-talk" button on the aircraft's yoke most of the way to New York. When controllers picked up the voices of men speaking in Arabic and heavily accented English, they knew something was terribly wrong. More...
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Posted by greg at 10:18 AM | TrackBack

June 13, 2004

British Journalist Mugged by Twin Tower-Rebuilders

A hapless British journalist was jumped and his article about the rebuilding at the WTC site was hijacked by a band of Rebuild The Towers soundbite whores during a recent visit to New York City. James Westcott published his account of the incident in the Guardian, but it appears he has no idea what happened to him. The number of guerillas is not known. Activist groups such as Team Twin Towers and Make New York New York Again claim wide...
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Posted by greg at 09:42 AM | TrackBack

June 11, 2004

WTC Site Cultural Anchor: The Drawing Center??

Wow. There's opaque and then there's opaque. The Drawing Center was selected to join The Freedom Center in one of two cultural buildings planned for the WTC Site. Their building will adjoin the WTC Memorial, while the other two cultural organizations--The Joyce and Signature Theaters--will share a performance center across the street. I'm a huge fan of The Drawing Center, as much as the aggressively unassuming, rather esoteric, old-school SoHo gallery can engender huge fandom. But how in the world...
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Posted by greg at 08:22 AM | TrackBack

April 14, 2004

Big News About WTC Memorial: Feh

There was a day when a story like "Architectural Team Is Chosen for Trade Center Memorial" would be frontpage news. And there was a day when an LMDC statement like "[Building the memorial]' would also likely require removal of some remnants of the former W.T.C.'" would set off alarm bells all over, seeing as how there are very few actual remnants left. And there was a day when a lengthy article in the Times castigating Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Museum as...
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Posted by greg at 12:21 PM

April 09, 2004

WTC Memorial Gets Back to Business

David Dunlap reports in the NYT that the city's powers that be are moving in on the WTC Memorial site: Some of the biggest development-savvy architecture firms are vying for the role of associate architect on the WTC Memorial. [Gothamist has links to the firms' corporate sites.] Meanwhile, the LMDC announced a 24-person advisory committee for the Memorial Center, the 65,000SF underground space which will house artifacts from the attacks. Included on the committee is Lowery Stokes Sims of the...
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Posted by greg at 02:25 PM

April 03, 2004

Artifacts and Space at WTC

Under the easily ignorable aegis of curating objects in the WTC interpretive museum, the NYT's David W. Dunlap touches on some of the most poignant and painful memories of the attacks--and the lives of people lost in it. He leads with the kind of powerful, personal experience New Yorkers will recognize from that day: seeing a mundane object--a shoe on a rooftop, in Dunlap's case--in a terrible new way. He then explores creating the experience of visiting an emotionally resonant,...
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Posted by greg at 12:09 PM

Anish Kapoor Selected for British 9/11 Memorial in NYC

Sculptor Anish Kapoor's design for a memorial to the 67 Britons killed on September 11 was selected for inclusion in the British Memorial Garden, which will be created at Hanover Square in lower Manhattan. Unlike the much-publicized [mea culpa], frenzied competition for the WTC Site Memorial, Kapoor's memorial design was selected the old-fashioned way: The British Memorial Garden Trust invited "twelve of Britain’s most celebrated and critically acclaimed artists" to submit proposals, and, voila, nine months later (and six months...
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Posted by greg at 09:49 AM

March 03, 2004

Michael Arad Interview at Arch. Record

[via Archinect] WTC Memorial designer Michael Arad discusses his original idea, design process, and experience in a too-brief interview for Architectrual Record Magazine. Arad's reworked proposal (with Peter Walker) attempts a return to his original vision, in which very clear, stark voids pierce the horizontal plane of the plaza. More and more, the experience sounds similar to Michael Heizer's Nort, East, South, West installation at Dia Beacon....
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Posted by greg allen at 11:59 PM

In the WTC Memorial Kitchen: Still Baking, Lots of Cooks

The NY Observer's Blair Golson reports on conflict brewing around Michael Arad's design for the WTC Memorial. Apparently, he doesn't want to be the malleable vassal the Jury and the LMDC had in mind when they chose his proposal. Some accuse him of pursuing "unlimited control [over the Memorial design], without any checks on his responsibilities." They also say Arad threatened to take his displeasures public to gain negotiating leverage. This, coming from an anonymous LMDC source involved in the...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2004

On "Ephemeral Elegance" at the WTC Site

Read David Dunlap's evocative account of the "temporary" architecture--the PATH station, footbridges and viewing wall--that surrounds and inhabits the World Trade Center site. These structures, "erected in a hurry," are utilitarian first, Dunlap notes, but they still sometimes "approach the sublime." While I stayed consciously uncommitted on the exact form they would take, Dunlap's experience sounds like a reasonable approximation of what I imagined the paths of my own memorial proposal would be like. Fred Conrad's picture of SHoP's...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

WTC Memorial Juror to speak at Dartmouth, 3/2/04

[Thank Hugh] "Memory and the Monument after 9/11: Deliberations at Ground Zero" is the title of the presentation by WTC Memorial Juror, Prof. James Young, at Dartmouth College. Young is as close as we've got to a professional memorialist; he's a veteran juror and adviser to memorial design processes around the world, and he is the author of several incisive books on remembering the Holocaust, including The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning. You'll be hard-pressed to find an...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:39 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2004

All 5,201 WTC Memorial Competition Submissions Online

Get this man a graphic designer. The LMDC has released scanned images of all 5,201 Memorial Competition submissions, browsable by country and state, or searchable by last name. Mark Wahlberg's proposal is here, and here is Ross Bleckner's. John Bennett's and Paul Myoda's separate proposals (they did the Tribute in Light). Mark Dion, Brian Tolle (he did the Irish Hunger Memorial in BPC). Here's Antoine Predock, Arquitectonica. Peter Walker (who got it anyway, just not with this proposal). Marc Quinn...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2004

"El silencio es tambien musica."

That could be a reference to John Cage, but it's actually Santiago Calatrava discussing his design for a transportation hub at the WTC site. The dual-winged design will be unveiled today. For images and details, see the Port Authority press release and Calatrava's PowerPoint presentation, David Dunlap's reporting or Muschamp's free verse reaction in The Times, and a pile of images from Yahoo News....
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Posted by greg allen at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

Peter Walker, "Landscape Doctor"

The NY Times profiles Peter Walker, the dean of modernist US landscape design (and ex-dean of Harvard and Berkeley arch. schools). Not a lot of news, but he does cite Donald Judd and Carl Andre as artistic inspirations. 2 pts for taste, but the problem with Arad's original plaza was its unremitting Andre-ness. His own firm's memorial proposal was "a glassy wall with the victims' and heroes' names etched within."...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2004

WTC Memorial Jurors Speak--and Design

The NYT's Glenn Collins and David Dunlap have a transfixing and revelatory article about details of the WTC Memorial Jury's deliberations and process for the first time. Twelve of the thirteen jurors spoke with the reporters. It turns out even the jurors were underwhelmed by the revised designs their finalists came up with. And Martin Puryear's dismissal of Michael Kimmelman's call for elitism to save us is right on. Of course, Felix Salmon's analysis is also right on, that it...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2004

Revised WTC Memorial design leaked a day early

After a German press agency forgot to attach an embargo notice to them, the NY Times published images of the heavily revised Arad/Walker design for the World Trade Center Memorial a day early. There are quite a few changes. Perhaps the most significant is the addition of a large (60-100,00SF, 1.5-2.5x the tower footprints themselves) underground space to house artifacts from the attacks. But that's not all: Access to the 30' high space is via a ramp along the exposed...
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Posted by greg allen at 02:04 AM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2004

Ugh. Maya Lin Strikes Again

The worst design of the worst set of finalists was just chosen for the World Trade Center Memorial. Michael Arad's barren, sunken pools, "Reflecting Absence," was a favorite of Maya Lin, according to an unnamed LMDC source who was heavily spinning the NY Post's William Neuman against the design Sunday. The only positive aspect of the proposal: it was the only finalist to call for alterations to fellow Israeli Daniel Libeskind's proposed cultural buildings, including eliminating that one museum...
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Posted by greg allen at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)


According to Herbert Muschamp, he has discovered the way to "liberate the site from the clutches of politicians, architects, their publicists and other unqualified figures who have presumed to speak in history's name. And it could slow the breakneck redevelopment timetable imposed by Gov. George E. Pataki." That, or he's completely lost it. On the day when the LMDC Jury is set to announce the "winning" Memorial design, Muschamp waxes poetic--without any actual facts or reporting to back up his...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:31 AM | Comments (1)

January 05, 2004

WTC Memorial: And then there were two, or three, or...

On the last day of the year, the Times' reporter on the World Trade Center beat, David Dunlap, shared a byline with Herbert Muschamp to report that the Jury has narrowed their choices to two or three final designs for the Memorial. The reported choices: "Passages of Light," by Gisela Baurmann, Sawad Brooks and Jonas Coersmeier, aka the "Memorial Cloud," and "Garden of Lights," by Pierre David, Sean Corriel and Jessica Kmetovic, aka the apple orchard/prairie. Michael Arad's barren "Remembering...
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Posted by greg allen at 02:11 AM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2003

Maya Lin: The Problem, not The Solution for the WTC Memorial

While I've been contemplating what to write about the WTC Memorial, most of the ideas I've wanted to write about have been put out there. At least they have now that Clay Risen's article in the Observer lays into the stifling influence of Maya Lin's minimalist memorialism. It's a topic near to my heart (I complained last year that the Pentagon Memorial competition had "far too many Lins"). Even so, Risen pulls his punches, and I underestimated the spread...
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Posted by greg allen at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2003

From The WTC Memorial Finalists: The Media Event

The piece I wish I'd written in immediate response to the eight WTC Memorial Finalists: Christopher Hawthorne's article on Slate. What I'm on the record saying in the mean time: from my debut appearance in USA Today. [FWIW, I actually said, "30, 50, or 100 years from now." I'm more tweaked they didn't give the URL. Damned editors...] [Elizabeth, is that what you mean by "kicker"?] A man in need of a haircut--or at least baseball cap with his URL...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2003

Some WTC Finalists Google Stunt That Took Way Too Much Time

Knowing what's going to happen to these peoples' Google search results tomorrow, I thought I'd take a little search engine snapshot, from before they were Finalists....
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Posted by greg allen at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

Spaces Made Sacred, my proposal for the WTC Memorial

Tens of thousands of people pursuing lives, professions, dreams, duties, of their own choosing—following their own paths. Ordinary people in the course of a typical morning, going about their daily lives. Individual paths running parallel, for a time—familiar strangers with the same commute, travelers on an airplane, a close-knit rescue company. Paths converging on a common destination. 3,016 individuals whose paths were senselessly cut short by terrorist attacks. The space made sacred through tragic loss, space where they passed...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

Memorial Elements: Paths, Portraits, Destinations

The Memorial will reconstitute the space made sacred, the actual and accurate paths taken by the 3,016 individuals killed on September 11, 2001 and February 26,1993. In Concept, it comprises three major elements: Paths, Portraits, and Destinations. The Memorial’s Form will be determined by mapping each individual’s information —compiled from authoritative data sources, gleaned from family and survivor recollection—onto the plan and elevation schema of the original World Trade Center site. This Form will be transposed and integrated into...
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Posted by greg allen at 06:02 AM

November 14, 2003

On Exhibiting the WTC Memorial Competition Entries

I posted about this on my WTC Discussion sublog. An NYT article mentions the daunting challenge of exhibiting 5,201 poster-sized entries in one place. It's not about space constraints, it's about information architecture and the user experience. [Thanks, Gothamist!]...
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Posted by greg allen at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2003

The WTC Memorial Finalist That Wasn't

[via Archinect] Fred Bernstein's proposal for a World Trade Center Memorial has been online for a while. (I first saw--and posted about-- it when Timothy Noah featured it on Slate way back in Feb. 2002.) . Back then, it was an unexpectedly restrained, welcome alternative to the maudlin or ludicrous ideas that were being floated at the time. (Remember that Max Protetch show in January? I'm sure most of the participants now hope you don't.) Now it turns out...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2003

I Report, You Decide: Speaking with a former WTC juror

Friday, I met an architecture professional who was on the LMDC jury last summer to select the architects for the World Trade Center site design study. We spoke about the Memorial Competition, details of which were familiar to this person. The juror was deliberately cagey, but said the Memorial jury was down to ten proposals: "And when it gets down to ten, the lines start to sharpen." Asked about the timeline, this person said, "very soon," but when I bounced...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2003

Discussing the WTC Memorial

The first rule of the World Trade Center Memorial Competition is don't discuss the World Trade Center Memorial Competition. OK, technically, it's the second rule, and it actually applies to publicly identifying your own design proposal, but whatever. Many entrants and many more followers of the Competition are discussing it, though, on multiple venues online. Most voices are earnest; some are a bit weary or cynical. Some are pained, or painfully critical; some are self-aggrandizing to a disturbing degree. For...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:27 AM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2003

Australian Mall out, Architecture Mall in at WTC Site

A couple of weeks ago, the Port Authority bought out Westfield America's lease for the retail areas of the WTC site, temporarily emptying one chair at the master plan negotiating table. The square peg mall developers from Australia just couldn't accept that South Street Seaport, SoHo, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Lincoln Center were all the mall Manhattan needs right now, thanks. But as the Observer reports, yesterday uber-leaseholder Larry Silverstein announced deals with three of the biggest brand names...
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Posted by greg allen at 07:50 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2003

WTC Plan Revisions revisited

Felix Salmon posted an admirable, in-depth, and probably a bit too optimistic review of the revised WTC site master plan. LMDC's offering Libeskind's whole 35Mb Powerpoint deck for download, so knock yourself out. Then today, Felix tried to envision what the rebuilt site would look like from the ground rather than from the god-like aerial views we're accustomed to seeing (Libeskind's as susceptible to the god complex as any architect). Again, Felix seems a little optimistic. He rightly points out...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2003

Ellsworth Kelly on Ground Zero

Ground Zero, Ellsworth Kelly, 2003, collage. The reconstructed text of a letter from Ellsworth Kelly to the Times' architecture critic, Herbert Muschamp: "On October 19, 2001, I wrote a letter to you (that I never sent) in response to an article in The New York Times which discussed the controversy of what was to be planned for the `Ground Zero' space, asking artists and others for their opinions. (Two artists, Joel Shapiro and John Baldessari urged that no...
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Posted by greg allen at 07:03 AM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2003

New Yorker on the WTC memorial and rebuilding

I'm a Paul Goldberger fan, and mad praise for his dogged reporting, following Daniel Libeskind around the country, but I'm not getting anything new from the profile in this week's New Yorker. When I schmoozed him last spring, Goldberger talked with great relish about digging in and laying out the powerful forces shaping the WTC rebuilding process. But this article comes too late to illuminate Libeskind's POV on the Silverstein-Childs hubbub, and too early to capture his reaction to the...
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Posted by greg allen at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2003

WTC Memorial Space to Hold Unidentified Remains

Not new information, just more of it. From the NYTimes, the unidentified remains of those killed at the World Trade Center will be preserved in the hope that future technology will make identification possible. The remains will be interred at the memorial:"Right now I can look up at the sky and talk to him, but I can't go anywhere and reflect on his life,' said Lorie Van Auken, 48, whose husband, Kenneth, was on the 105th floor of the north...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2003

WTC Station's Master in Slate

BCE Galleria/Heritage Square, Toronto 1992, Santiago Calatrava, image: On Slate, Christopher Hawthorne writes about Santiago Calatrava, architect of the transportation hub, um, slated for the WTC site. Hawthorne's got good architectural sensibility, but I think he's wrong to worry about Calatrava ignoring the context of his projects. True, many of Calatrava's flashiest designs look like they're sitting on a giant dining table, like an overwrought centerpiece, but that's what he's been asked to do. While I haven't been...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2003

WTC Memorial Competition Update

Newsday reports the WTC Memorial jury will select up to eight finalists, who will receive over $100,000 each to refine their designs more fully ("to develop models and three-dimensional computerized designs"). A winner (from among the finalists) will be announced in October or November. Jurors apparently walk around placing dots on the designs they like. Designs without dots are then pulled from subsequent rounds. [No mention of how many dots a juror gets, or if later rounds require multiple dots....
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Posted by greg allen at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2003

On the Under-heralded Designer of The WTC Memorial Site

Part Two of a Washington Post series on the rebuilding of the WTC features George Tamaro, one of the original engineers of the slurry wall which is the centerpiece of Libeskind's memorial site design. The more I think about it, the more similarities I find between this aspect of the Libeskind proposal and Lochnagar Crater, the powerful, preserved, accidental memorial to WWI's Battle of the Somme. [This crater was central to my first short film, Souvenir November 2001, where a...
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Posted by greg allen at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2003

Santiago Calatrava to design WTC Station?? That Rocks.

In the NYT, Ed Wyatt reports that the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has been selected to design the train station at the World Train Center site. Now we're gettin' somewhere. [Finally, Herbert Muschamp weighs in, too, and favorably.] I've been a huge fan of Calatrava's sensual combination of organic form and hardcore engineering since seeing his competition-winning proposal for the Cathedral of St John The Divine in 1991, something of a departure from the train stations and bridges which...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:54 PM

July 23, 2003

Familiar Stranger and Digital Patina

Anne Galloway's on a roll these days. Until this Fall, I can't say exactly why I find her posts about Intel Research Lab Berkeley's Eric Paulos' work so highly relevant just now. I can say that it's very heartening to find an affinity with someone so smart and forward-thinking. What the hell am I talking about? First is the social phenomena of the Familar Stranger, the people that you (don't) meet/ when you're walking down the street/ the people...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2003

5200 Entries for the WTC Memorial

The LMDC announced today that 5,200 qualified entries were accepted into the Memorial Competition. That's a much smaller yield than I estimated earlier. Even so, it's the largest design competition ever (my previous quality/quantity estimate still stands). Reuters reports that the evaluation schedule will now be "open ended given the volume of submissions [the jury] would have to sift through." Finalists will still be announced in the Fall, but not necessarily by September....
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Posted by greg allen at 08:17 PM | Comments (0)

David Childs' West Side Story

He's the only architect listed on the Observer's Dec. 2000 list of Players in New York's real estate game. Engineering a backroom takeover of the WTC rebuilding project may just be one step in David Childs' larger plan: to 0wn the West Side of Manhattan. The site is in line--the Eighth Ave. subway, to be specific--with other major Childs' projects in NYC: 33rd St: The New Penn Station, which has been widely praised. (image: 41st St: NYTimes Headquarters, a...
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Posted by greg allen at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2003

WTC Memorial Submission: All Action, No Talk. Until Now.

For a few days, anyway. I got my Memorial competition submission done, expensively printed at Kinko's, and delivered. (The official Competition Site forbade hand delivery and said couriers must be "listed in the phone book," a verification system clearly designed to thwart my plan if I missed the Fedex deadline: dress up as a bike messenger using gear from my collection.) Until I saw Ed Wyatt's Times article about plans pouring in yesterday, I was pretty satisfied with my...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2003

Must. Finish. WTC. Submission

Must. Learn. To. Photoshop. Properly. Must. Learn. Illustrator. Must. Admit. Powerpoint. Is. Not. A. Real. Graphics. Program. Must. Say, puffy fabric paint and a scanner is easier than learning Form-Z. Must. Say, I have newfound appreciation for the way artists' studios accrete materials and tools. You can't just go out and buy some of that stuff. Must. Add, that the world of craft supply stores is actually a solar system of tinier worlds: the claymolding world, the tole painting world,...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2003

Archaeology at WTC Site

In the MIT speech I posted last week, Rafael Vinoly made a comment that there was "no archaeology left" at the WTC site. It had been stripped to bedrock. The Bathtub/slurry wall had to be rebuilt/refaced/replaced already. The Twin Towers' footprints themselves now only exist as coordinates in an XYZ grid. I went to the site yesterday morning to map out my idea for the Memorial Competion, and to take reference pictures, and I found there IS "archaeology" on the...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2003

Interesting things I've found while working on the WTC Memorial Competition

(not in chronological order) Christopher Benfy's argument on Slate for why much less is more for a WTC Memorial. Benfy misuses an interesting term, "countermonument," which comes from Competition juror, Prof. James E. Young. [it's used on this syllabus] Speaking of syllabi, this outlines a Radcliffe Women's Studies graduate course titled The Politics of Traumatic Memory: History, Place, and Art in Societal Examinations of Memory. It's dated August 2001.Week 1, Sept. 12: Introduction: Interdisciplinary Course Themes 1. Politics, history and...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:05 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2003

Rafael Vinoly on the WTC Competition(s)

[via Archinect] Last month, MIT's Dept. of Architecture hosted a presentation by Rafael Vinoly, the Al Gore of last year's WTC competition study competition. Vinoly was part of Team THINK, and he tells about the antics at Herbert Muschamp's NYT Ground Zero (about 20 minutes into the stream), coming up with their plan for building a World Cultural Center (about 40 minutes in), and winning the campaign. Some highlights: (1:15:00) "Libeskind was courted; he was actually in Germany and decided...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2003

The Art House Project: James Turrell and Tadao Ando in Naoshima

Ando and Turrell collaborated on Minamidera, a Buddhist temple on Naoshima, a small island in Japan's Inland Sea. Is it worth noting that Ando was a boxer and Turrell was a Quaker? Here is one exchange from their conversation inside the completed space:Ando:The color is really nice. I have no difficulty just being here for 10 minutes. Turrell:Sometimes 10 minutes is difficult in modern life. This is fine that the situation of a work like this in a small...
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Posted by greg allen at 07:40 PM | Comments (1)

June 01, 2003

Catching up: WTC

Thursday night, seven of us got together to discuss our questions and challenges for the WTC Memorial competition. [Here's a sublog for the topic.] It was an extremely helpful and insightful couple of hours. The group included a journalist/weblogging guru, an architect, two artists, a designer, and me. Conversation was free-ranging; here's Jeff Jarvis's take(away), and here's some of mine: Take "performance pressure" off the Memorial, by limiting it to its Mission. Use the rest of the program at the...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2003

Whew. Observations from the WTC Memorial public forum

The LMDC held a forum for the public to tell WTC Memorial Competition jurors what kind of memorial they want, and how to make it relevant to future generations. [Check here for an archived webcast.] In the 1,000-seat auditorium, approximately 500 seats were filled, 300 by firefighters and their families, who clearly came to the meeting with an impassioned, cohesive message: rescue workers must not go unrecognized in the memorial. Let me come back to this. This, my first-ever public...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2003

WTC Memorial competition charette/discussion update

I've held off for a few days, waiting to finalize the list of participants, but in the mean time, I created a separate page where I'll post charette-related items. Tentative date: Wed., May 28, one day before the competition registration deadline. There is still space for another person (or maybe two), to join, so if you're going to submit a proposal to the WTC Memorial competition, you may want to join our discussion....
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Posted by greg allen at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)

Ground Zero muralist doesn't wait for the competition results

A Brooklyn artist, James Peterson, has created a mural in Tribeca that has some people upset. See it at Gothamist....
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Posted by greg allen at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2003

WTC Memorial charette update; Maya Lin on the Vietnam competition

Been fielding some interesting responses from people on the WTC charette, including several about the word, "charette." A couple of people said it's snooty, a couple complained that it's architect-y, a couple complained it's French. As they say in darts, nice grouping. Please feel free to call it a roundtable, a workshop, a klatsch, hell, call it a "freedom cart" if your politics demands. Just call. Several folks, including me and the aforelinked Jeff Jarvis, have been concerned about how...
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Posted by greg allen at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2003

Join a WTC Memorial Discussion/Charette

A couple of people saw some cynicism my last post on the WTC Memorial competition's designation as "open to all" and "part of the mourning process." It was partly a reaction to that member of the axis of eager, Jeff Jarvis. And there's my (not unfounded) skepticism about poorly guided democratic/populist design solutions. But mostly, it was about my own ambivalence about the process itself, what role a memorial there will play, and the use/impact/value of my own response. I...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:56 AM | Comments (2)

May 02, 2003

Libeskind's Uncomfortable Wedgie of Light

A controversy is brewing over Daniel Libeskind's design for the WTC site, which is moving, rapidly and significantly, from what he'd originally proposed--and won with. The NYTimes' Edward Wyatt is on top of things. Yesterday, he reported on a study which showed one of the Libeskind design's core elements, the Wedge of Light--a zone where unobstructed sunlight shone in between his buildings every Sept. 11th morning--was a physical impossibility. Busted, Libeskind tried to pretend that, all along, the Wedge wasn't...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2003

WTC Memorial: We're All Designers Now

That could be the sub-title of this site, really. I made Souvenir (November 2001), in part, to ask what could New York be like in 80 years, after the generation of us who experienced the attacks are all gone. How would the as-yet unborn people then and there remember us here and now? I should clarify: us=those who experienced (ie, died, survived, rescued, ran, watched, etc.). And already, in less than two years, here and now is becoming then and...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2003

First, Let Me Say, Daniel, We Loved Your Idea

And (according to the Guardian), we'd really like to move forward with it. We made just a couple of notes, 'Kay? The bathtub kept open as a memorial? We love it. What do you think about filling it in with a bus station? No, not all the way, just 2/3 or so. The 1,776-foot tower? With the sky gardens? One word: Inspiring. Not gonna build it, but it's inspiring. The memorial plaza that's sunny for one morning a year?...
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Posted by greg allen at 05:47 PM

January 13, 2003

"The Eiffel Tower for the 21st Century"

This morning on Kurt Andersen's Studio360, Paul Goldberger suggested "the Eiffel tower of 21st century, something that would use the technology of our time with the brilliance that Eiffel used the technology of the 19th century," be built at the WTC site. It's a powerful articulation (7 words, including an 'of' and two 'thes') of a compelling idea. [Listen here.] Interestingly, Goldberger discussed a similar idea on Studio360 less than a month after the Towers fell. [Listen here.] Keep...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2003

Dream Team-gate: WTC Architects on Charlie Rose Make White House Flak Look Candid, Honest

That guy on the left isn't at all. He's Dan Bartlett, flak for the Architect of the Axis of Evil (and, frighteningly, the most straight-talking guy on the show) image: Just caught The WTC "Dream Team" (their quotes)--Charles Gwathmey, Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl, and Richard Meier --on Charlie Rose. [thanks for the headsup, archinect!] Preceded by an interview with White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett, Rose apparently chose obfuscation as tonight's theme. It was a lot of serious-minded...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:12 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2002

WTC Site Designs Revealed While Director Poaches Memorial-Friendly Media

If the 3+ hour multimedia press conference for around 25 brand name architects to present their proposals for the World Trade Center site were Saks, I was the chick selling hand-beaded mittens from a card table on the sidewalk. Actually, as a media event, it was more wholesale than retail; press and LMDC staffers outnumbered Invited Guests about 3:1. So rather than just spam the (presumably interested in memorials) crowd with cards for tomorrow's screening, I switched to providing...
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Posted by greg allen at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2002

"Don't rebuild. Reimagine" (as applied to writing an animated musical feature)

My attention has been turned to the as-yet-unannounced feature I'm writing (unannounced because of the desire to confirm clear ownership of the story, because it's freakin' brilliant, and because there were some major plot questions in turning it into a kick-ass movie), an animated musical. On the train down to DC the other night, I had a breakthrough, facilitated by my decision to rewrite the script from scratch instead of waiting for the data-recovered version to arrive (or not)...
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Posted by greg allen at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2002

Don't Rebuild. Reimagine.

Herbert Muschamp "curated" a re-imagining of downtown Manhattan, a process where some of the world's best-known architects (and a few up-and-comers) collaborated on and thrashed out an overall plan, then divvied up the resulting projects. From the cursory scan I've done, the result it energetic, a breath of fresh air, an unequivocal rebuke to any and all of the "thinking" that's gone into the official process so far, and, in some cases, inspiring. (To be fair, a couple of the...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2002

Today the LMDC released its

Today the LMDC released its six concepts for rebuilding the World Trade Center. Visit the LMDC concepts website for details. One thing that strikes me immediately is how they're all titled "Memorial _____" (fill in the blank with Square, Promenade, Plaza, Garden Triangle, or Park). You could say this forefronts the memorial as a priority of the rebuilding efforts, but it also seems like a way to avert criticism of the process and its preliminary results. By innoculating every concept...
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Posted by greg allen at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2002

On Maya Lin's ninja-like approach to the WTC Memorial

There's an interesting article by Louis Menand in this week's New Yorker about Maya Lin called "The Reluctant Memorialist." He talks about her early rejection of any WTC Memorial-related requests and about her recent informal advisory work for the decisionmakers (as someone who's "been through the process.") In talking about Lin's reticence and justifiable anger at the Viet Nam memorial process (which sounds horrific, frankly, and doesn't give me too much hope for New York City's efforts), it's strange that...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2002

Today; it was announced that

Today; it was announced that the Towers of Light will go on display March 11, six months after September 11. Feb 26 was the nine-year anniversary of the first bombing of the World Trade Center....
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Posted by greg allen at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2002

Found this on Slate: An

Found this on Slate: An interesting proposal for a World Trade Center memorial by Fred Bernstein, an architecture writer (for the NYTimes, among others, it seems). Basically, it's twin tower-sized piers with the names of those killed placed on the appropriate "floor." The piers would be oriented toward Ellis and Liberty islands. While I'm dubious of the mirror-like conceptual similarity to Maya Lin's Viet Nam memorial, which we visited last weekend (i.e., the orientation, the name placement mechanism), the simplicity...
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Posted by greg allen at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)