The 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks is just days away, and all eyes are on Ground Zero, where One World Trade Center, formerly known as Freedom Tower, is currently being built. The tower is part of Daniel Libeskind’s “Memory Foundations,” which won an international competition hosted by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to redesign the WTC site. Impressive as it is, Libeskind’s plan, which has been heavily edited, was just one of half a dozen awe-inspiring designs for a new World Trade Center. From sunken gardens to hovering towers, the other hopeful designs are worth remembering. Click through to browse what the new World Trade Center could have been.
Studio Libeskind’s original submission, dubbed “the Freedom Tower,” proposed the iconic 1,776 foot spire. Libeskind also included Gardens of the World, as he feels gardens are a constant affirmation of life. The base of the site featured an elevated walkway, promenade, the Park of Heroes and the Wedge of Light, which lets the sun shine through, interrupted, during the time of morning that the towers were falling.
London-based architects Foster + Partners’ design sought to evoke memory and rebirth. Two crystalline towers, comprised of stacked triangular designs, met at three points, creating what the architects called a “kiss,” but also emergency escape routes for public areas of the towers. Foster+ Partners’ design also employed a multi-layered skin that provided natural ventilation with a cluster of trees planted in the atrium to cleanse the air and symbolize life.
Meier and Partners designed two grid-like buildings that resembled tic-tac-toe boards. The towers were interconnected with horizontal rows of floors which created vast “holes” inside of the overall façade. Placed at a 90-degree angle with edges almost touching, the ground space created would be a large public space, similar to Rockefeller Center. Dubbed “Memorial Square,” the project was a collaboration with Richard Meier & Partners Architects, Eisenman Architects, Gwathmey Siegel & Associates, and Steven Holl Architects.
The THINK design team included a roster of architects and designers, including Inhabitat favorite Shigeru Ban. Their Towers of Culture design would hover above the original World Trade Towers foot prints, but not touch them. The open latticework towers would be joined by a series of cultural buildings designed by each of the team’s architects, powered by two giant wind turbines.
A sunken garden, rather than a new tower, was the focus for the redesign by Peterson/Littenberg. Set in the foundations of the original WTC towers, the garden is a lush oasis from city life, containing an open-air amphitheater with 2,979 seats- one for each victim of 9/11. The September 11th Museum is located underground, below the stadium.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s original proposal, before withdrawing and then being named consultant, was a dense grid of vertical structures which would encapsulate 16 acres on the ground and 16 acres in sky gardens, which would reconnect the city.
United Architects’ design fused five towers that joined to form a cathedral-like enclosure over an outdoor public promenade. Seventy five feet below street level, the project created a viewing point, asking visitors to look up at the sky, rather than looking down at the holes which once held the original building’s foundations — a symbol of optimism and peace.