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New York World Trade Center Design Unveiled - 2003-02-27

New York officials have unveiled the design for the new buildings to be constructed on the World Trade Center site. The plan calls for the largest structure in the world, which will serve as a symbol of New York's resurgence after the devastating September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

Winning architect Daniel Libeskind's plan calls for a spire that will reach 540 meters into the sky. The base will contain office space, and then spiral into a glass garden at the top, filled with greenery. The design also includes walls and a waterfall that will form a protective area around a yet-to-be-designed memorial site. This element won particular favor with politicians and the families of September 11 victims when the plan was initially introduced. A wedge of light will filter through the glass spire directly onto the memorial site.

John Whitehead heads the group overseeing the rebuilding of lower Manhattan, where the Trade Center site is located. He says the Studio Libeskind plan presents the most compelling vision for the future of the site. "The Libeskind plan succeeds both when it rises into the sky and when it descends into the ground," he said. "Doing so, it captures the soaring optimism of our city, and honors the eternal spirit of our fallen heroes. The plan also offers the most imaginative configuration of commercial, cultural, transportation and other uses on the site."

The Libeskind design includes a performing arts center and a museum devoted to the events of September 11.

Daniel Libeskind immigrated to New York from Poland when he was a child and studied architecture at The Cooper Union, an influential design and architecture college. "As a student of architecture, I saw the buildings, the World Trade Center, being built. It was such an inspiring and controversial and wonderful moment for students of architecture to see those buildings being built," he said.

After an international competition that attracted thousands of architects from around the world, Mr. Libeskind now has the opportunity to leave his own mark on New York's skyline.

The decision ends 18 months of debate and controversy over the future of the site. The choice was narrowed to two designs three weeks ago. Up until the day the decision was made, the rival design - by a team of international architects called THINK - was thought to have the edge. It was favored by several prominent architecture critics and site planning groups. New York Governor George Pataki and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, however, preferred the Libeskind design and, in the end, they prevailed.

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