Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Vinoly Spanks Freedom Tower
Architect Rafael Vinoly, who's design team was the runner-up for the WTC master plan competition, recently gave a presentation on the past five years' WTC design proceedings and offered up some priceless critiques of SOM's Freedom Tower.

Vinoly characterized [the design] as economically inefficient and aesthetically mediocre, especially in relation to the adjacent, arguably superior office towers now being designed by Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Fumihiko Maki.

[He] observes that its chief architectural features are its cheesy name and its height as measured in feet, which is the same number used to describe how many years passed between Jesus's birth and the American Revolution.

Finally, Vinoly compared the "comedy of errors" of designing and redesigning the Freedom Tower to the US invasion of Iraq, in the sense that the situation may be too flawed to fix. "You can't save face - because you made a blundering mistake," he said.

Three cheers to Rafael for calling it... a bit late though. Not only do most agree the Freedom Tower design falls somewhere between mediocre and trite, but the process by which the bullies of bland quietly wiggled their way in and gutted Daniel Lebiskind's design is quite repulsive. I actually thought to myself on Sept. 12 of 2001, "I wouldn't be surprised if SOM is already at the drawing board and stroking Pataki and Silverstein." Unfortunately no amount of talk at this point changes the fact that a 1776 ft. of uninspiring glass and steel is currently being erected on a site which deserves something of breathtaking genius or nothing at all. Meh.

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