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<nettime> Time to Remaster the Master Plan
martha rosler on Sat, 13 Dec 2003 11:31:37 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Time to Remaster the Master Plan

here are some further thoughts on the tower plans. but you cannot seriously
be suggesting that those truly awful towers be rebuilt. As a New Yorker I
don't care how many people sentimentally or definatly choose the option of
repeating a mistake. I am not even remotely pleased with libeskind's
proposal and find the freedom tower moniker an annoying and embarrassing
bit of populist bravado, but let's get some architecture here, not the last
gasp of an ill-conceived modernism, thankyouverymuch.
(and why is this stuff on nettime anyway? wrong kind of architecture)
martha rosler

>Subject: Time to Remaster the Master Plan
>Thread-Topic: Time to Remaster the Master Plan
>From: "Vanalen" <Vanalen {AT} VanAlen.org>
>To: "Vanalen" <Vanalen {AT} VanAlen.org>
>To Van Alen Institute Members and  Friends:
>The following statement has been prepared in  response to the ongoing
>debate about the planning and design of the World Trade  Center site and
>Lower Manhattan. The Institute is a generator and platform for  addressing
>the critical role of design in urban regeneration, in New York and in  a
>national and international context, and welcomes responses at
>vanalen {AT} vanalen.org.
>Time to Remaster the  Master Plan 
>For New Yorkers, the driving issue for  the renewal of the World Trade
>Center site and Lower Manhattan is whether we  care enough to harness the
>time and talent to create successful public spaces.  The no-holds-barred
>debate about the design of the Freedom Tower and the harsh  reviews of the
>memorial finalists are distractions from the urgent work at hand.  What
>matters most now are the planning and design decisions about public space
>that will make or break the site's promise to become a paradigm of urban
>regeneration. It is urgent for the project's public leadership to put this
>challenge first and foremost on their agenda. 
>To date, it is not  clear that the master plan will create memorable,
>successful public spaces,  whether in its sidewalks, squares, or
>connections to the memorial. Instead of  fully resolving significant
>questions about these places, inordinate resources  have been directed to
>calculating curtain walls and negotiating authorship.  These exercises in
>compulsory origami may be of theoretical interest, but they  avoid the
>more serious task of preparing a compelling plan for the public spaces  on
>the ground around them. If no one has confidence in the public space on
>the  ground, no one is going to bother to design, much less finance these
>speculative  structures.
>The latest example of how far off-topic we have come is the  news that the
>builders of 7 World Trade Center plan to close off Greenwich at  Vesey
>Street. The public was promised that Greenwich Street would go through,
>not just as an open vista but as an open route to the site. It was time,
>as  everyone from community members to elected officials and design
>professionals  agreed, to reconnect the site to the rest of downtown. This
>surprise  street-closing has enormous implications for the WTC site just
>to the south, and  the master plan team should be focused on responding to
>this, not distracted by  building design.
>For the memorial, the eight finalists were asked to  envision a
>commemorative space--no skateboards, no vending carts, no rallies and
>did so. For now, we cannot judge their connections to the rest of the site
>and  the city, because they had to prepare their designs in the context of
>no  context, trying to work with a master plan still in flux.
>The master plan  team is responsible for defining the public spaces that
>are not in the memorial  precinct, and the team's intelligence and vision
>should be generating spaces  that are both everyday and celebratory, where
>concerts and cafes, and commuters,  tourists, and residents, and maybe
>even skateboards and vending carts, are all  part of the mix. Urban critic
>Jane Jacobs' inspired mid 20th-century analysis of  New York's  'sidewalk
>ballet'  needs to be thought through and put into action for  this site
>and this century. The public sector needs to state forcefully, in  terms
>of planning and design and finance, that their first priority is to make
>this a place where people want to be, with the freedom and variety for
>which the  city is rightly famous. For New Yorkers, this is the main
>Sherida Paulsen, Chair of Van Alen Institute
>Raymond  Gastil, Executive Director of Van Alen Institute
>This statement  represents the views of its authors, and is not a policy
>statement of Van Alen  Institute.

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