I don't particularly like the design for the new World Trade Center, as I have mentioned previously. I like that they decided not to build that utterly pretentious THINK design with the lattice work (which would be extremely hazardous to be standing under after a snowfall, with large blocks of snow and ice reaching high velocity before hitting the ground or whomever is standing below, not to mention that at least the lower half would be pigeon dropping green-white before too long), but, according to Team Twin Towers, the Libeskind desing is only a touch less pretentious, with a frigging biosphere? Not that I have anything against biospheres, there's a rather nice one here in Montreal, but that sort of thing can be done at ground level. Plus, that spire is a tapered building, so many of the upper storeys will be too small to be of any real, practical use to anybody. One thing, of many, that was wonderful about the REAL World Trade Center, Yamasaki's Twin Towers, was that they were both perfect squares that were extruded 110 storeys, so you got 220 storeys of useful office space, with the 110th floors of each building having essentially the same surface area as the lobbies (in fact, probably more, if I think about it, since not all the elevator shafts went all the way up). Plus, with the stupid Libeskund plan, you have the pit over the foundations that is a huge waste of Manhattan and which cuts off downtown from the rest of the city. Just because the pit is now grassy instead of grey doesn't make me like it any more. I'm all for a memorial, but not 16 acres of wasted space... yay! Let's go to New York and see... the grassy pit! Something horrible happened on this site once, therefore we can't build anything functional here ever again. Uh-uh. Fuck "sacred ground". Fuck "sanctified". Fuck "political correctness". And fuck "necropolises". The primary purpose of rebuilding a new World Trade Center is to restore the office space that was lost, and there's nothing remotely wrong or indecent about that. And, if you actually took a poll, at least the plurality, if not a true majority, of people would favour rebuilding the majestic Twin Towers as they were before, even if it's just to the east or west of the original site, and the damn politicians, mostly, and this is very disappointing to me, Republicans, should stop trying to be politically correct to the victim's families and do everything possible to influence Silverstein and the various boards that a rebuilt version of Yamasaki's design is the only thing that should be on the site.
And, I must say, I'm also disappointed with John Derbyshire's take on the new WTC design. I mean, he's my second favourite National Review contributor after Jonah Goldberg (partially because I have relatives around Northampton, where he's from), and I agree with him on the first part of his objections.
For one thing, they were all wacky. They just didn't look like real buildings. They looked like something a first-year architecture student would come up with, when he's got the math and the physics and the graphics software down pretty well, but before he has actually had to deal with actual people who actually wanted places they could actually live or work in.
But then he falls victim to the "no one will want to work there" mentality. One thing, while I am very sure there are terrorists within and outside the United States plotting nefarious things, they simply can't attack in the same way with commercial airliners anymore. How can I be sure? Because, the terrorist attacks of September 11th only happened because Americans had been trained to be docile in the event of hijackings. If the passengers and flight crew fight back, as they would now, they couldn't pull that method of attack off.
Afterwards, Derbyshire submits his own proposal for what to do with the site, which is even worse than the original designs presented last summer.
So what would I do with the World Trade Center site? Divide it into 50x150 lots and auction them off, no two to the same developer. Let them build some nice modest ten-story apartments, stores, or offices. Put a decent plaque on one of the walls to commemorate the dead, and have a city employee go round and polish it bright once a week. Name the streets after people who perished while doing heroic deeds of rescue. And tell the fancy architects to go play their games in some city that has no serious business to attend to.
Ten storeys? Sorry, John, this is Liberty & Church we're talking about, not The Drapery & Mercer's Row. Manhattan you gotta build big and bold. As Yamasaki thought. (Well, at least I have Jonah Goldberg and Deroy Murdock on my side... that's not bad company.)