Saturday, May 21, 2005

Scared into Caring

I haven't had strong feelings one way or the other about the proposed Freedom Tower for ground zero. I looked at the plans, and they seemed adequate. Newish enough to seem futuristic, but guaranteed to age badly, like most other buildings in my beloved city (let's face it, architecturally and city planning-wise, Paris, we ain't).

Personally, I always thought this was the best response to the terrorists' attack. But, in general, I think whatever they decide won't please everyone, so there's little use in getting all worked about this or that design (with all due respect to the people who do feel strongly that it should be a memorial first and something else afterward).

And even when it looked like they were headed back to the drawing boards, I thought, languidly, "Whatever they end up with will be just fine, I'm sure." My disinterest didn't last though.

Enter, The Donald:
Donald J. Trump, reality television star, fragrance entrepreneur and developer of tall buildings, revealed his answer to the problems at the World Trade Center site yesterday. That answer, perhaps unsurprising, was himself.

Donald J. Trump and his structural engineer, Kenneth Gardner, at a news conference Wednesday at Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan.

In a news conference at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, Mr. Trump stood before a large model of his vision for a new World Trade Center, which included towers similar to the Twin Towers, and said that he would press government officials and private developers to rebuild more structurally sound versions of the fallen towers instead of the Freedom Tower, which has been sent back to the drawing board for a new design because of security concerns raised by the Police Department.

Mr. Trump's model was designed by his structural engineer, Kenneth Gardner, who quoted poetry at the news conference, apologized to his mother and thanked many people who "made this day possible."
Forget the made-for-bad-reality-TV press conference, if there's one thing Trump is a total success at, it's erecting butt-ugly buildings. Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

And the eyesore of Atlantic City (which is really saying something), Exhibit C:

Fortunately, no one is taking the oddly coifed one seriously, but it did help me see that taking interest in the development plans is a civic obligation.


Blogger Jackmormon said...

My students to write about the WTC redevelopment project most semesters: it's a great subject for practicing techniques of weighing different claims and values.

One of the better articles I've recently read on the subject was Martin Filler's NYRB review "Filling the Hole." Of course, it came out before the recent security bruhaha.

Still, I was happy to see that Filler supported my favorite project design (the THINK plan), which of course was overruled and that he was also cynical about the political posturing around the redevelopment project.

The Donald's PR stunt could even be taken as a sign that public involvement in the project has destroyed the chances of building something interesting. Hausmann was not, after all, a publicly accountable city planner...

5/21/2005 09:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Macallan said...

Anyone who can't look in the mirror and realize the absurdity of that comb-over has no business making any esthetic judgments.

5/23/2005 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

totally agree Mac

5/23/2005 10:59:00 PM  

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