Final designs for the Freedom Tower complex in NYC were unvailed today. Still not sure what I think about them. Some of the renderings make it look stunningly dramatic and others make it look underwhelming.
I should preface this by saying that I personally thought they should rebuild the towers as they were. Aside from being a nice big FU to the people responsible for the destruction of the WTC, I actually liked how they looked. I know architects slammed them, but there was just something about their simplicity and bluntness that really worked in the urban environment. In cities, we always see buildings shoe-horned to fit the surroundings. That was actually an artistic conceit of the Hancock Tower in Boston, which I actually like a lot. Still, there was something refreshingly defiant about the Twin Towers. Not only did they have the balls to build a big box in the biggest city on Earth, they went and built another right next to it. They demanded attention. Which, no doubt, is what made it an attractive target as well.
As stunning as the Freedom Tower appears to be, part of the design seems intended to deflect attention. A VERY significant part of its upper struction looks skelatal, which has the effect of making the Towers seem transparent. Like its trying not to be notice. Something just doesn't sit right with me about that. I don't like the idea of us trying to bind ourselves in the face of threats. I am encouraged by the idea of standing front and center. It projects strength, perminance. As beautiful as the Freedom Tower is, it seems like an effort at camoflage. Pretending nothing was every really there to begin with.
Actually, I'm most initially impressed by the sister structures which occupy the Trade Center land. Towering about as high as the meaningful part of the main tower, they also rise above the buildings around it. The slanting roofs make for a powerful addition to the skyline from the Statue of Liberty.
But, the execution will be key. Maybe the computers are ghosting the top of the tower too much, and it will really be a visible and tangible proof of the tower's reach towards the sky. Maybe the companion buildings will be colored drably so they don't make as potent an addition as they might. But, its all interesting, and I'm eager to see it proceed, even if its not what I would have liked to see.