26-07-2002

The debate surrounding new york's skyscrapers

Richard Meier, Renzo Piano,

USA,

Skyscraper, Sport & Wellness,

Debate rages all over the world around the question of whether or not to rebuild the Twin Towers, the history of which will be told in two exhibitions opening soon at New Yorks Skyscraper Museum.



The debate surrounding new york's skyscrapers The evident need for workspace in one of the world's densest and most expensive urban areas clashes with aesthetic and ethical considerations in view of the great symbolic value of the WTC for the city of New York.
On the one hand, Philip Johnson agrees with the 64% of New Yorkers who would like to see the towers "back just the same right where they were", precisely in order to demonstrate that violence cannot destroy one of society's symbols.
On the other hand, Metropolitan Museum curator Philippe de Montebello considers the ruins in their current state a monument just as they are: a memorial to the tragedy of September 11, like the ruins of Hiroshima or Berlin.
A large metallic structure has been found which is still intact, a part of the southern tower, making De Montebello's suggestion feasible; a suggestion which meets with the approval of the victims' families and the mayor of New York, Rudolf Giuliani.

There has also been a proposal to virtually "mimic" the fallen towers with two beams of light, to dramatic effect. Computer games simulating the collapse of the towers will be withdrawn from the market.

Paolo Portoghesi writes in the September 30 issue of Avvenire of the paradox that would be created by transformation of the ruins into a "museum", defining it "... an inappropriate operation of cosmetic surgery which would only prove right those who claim that western civilisation is decadent, suggesting that we enjoy contemplating our wounds and confuse them with works of art....Rebuilding the towers just as they were would only be an attempt to deny the fact that the times have changed." And he compares the "sinister collapse of the steel facades of the towers... with the tormented, 'deconstructed' face of some of Frank O. Gerhy's architecture and Eisenmann's last projects".

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