More news on the WTC front....(NY Times)
Behind the Scenes, Three Towers Take Shape
Larry A. Silverstein, seated right, attended a presentation on Tuesday about the World Trade Center project.
By DAVID W. DUNLAP
January 18, 2007
FOSTER Maki Rogers,” it says on the doors leading to an 11th-floor design studio overlooking ground zero.
No such high-powered international architectural partnership actually exists. But Norman Foster, Fumihiko Maki and Richard Rogers all have employees working together in an unusual collaborative office as the second, third and fourth towers of the new World Trade Center take shape.
Tower 1, the Freedom Tower, was born in a flurry of headlines as its architect battled ground zero’s master planner, then had to return to the drawing board after the police questioned the building’s security.
Tower 2, designed by Mr. Foster, has already generated controversy, since it will displace what is called the survivors’ stairway on Vesey Street, the only aboveground remnant of the original trade center still standing where it did on 9/11.
But except for that, the towers have largely been out of public sight since the first renderings and models were unveiled last September by the developer, Larry A. Silverstein.
That is not to say they have been out of mind. Up to 120 architects, engineers and design consultants are working to meet a March 1 deadline for schematic design. This is the phase between the conceptual outline and highly detailed construction documents. The sheer scale is astonishing. Tower 2, for example, will be taller than the Empire State Building, less the antenna.
Though Mr. Rogers is credited as the architect of Tower 3 and Mr. Maki as the architect of Tower 4, the truth is that all three towers are intertwined, with one another and with the World Trade Center transportation hub being built by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
So three weeks ago, Silverstein Properties opened a blocklong studio on the 11th floor of 7 World Trade Center with desks for Foster & Partners, Maki & Associates and the Richard Rogers Partnership; for Adamson Associates, the architectural firm coordinating the entire project; for W.S.P. Cantor Seinuk and Leslie E. Robertson Associates, the structural engineers; for Jaros, Baum & Bolles, the mechanical and electrical engineers; and for the Port Authority.
The office is modeled on a collaborative studio created last year for the conceptual design phase, but it is about six times larger.
“We’re looking forward to enormous productivity,” Mr. Silverstein said. The goal of bringing everyone together in one studio, he said, was to create “a degree of interaction that couldn’t possibly exist if they were in their separate domains.”
Michael Jelliffe, a partner in the Foster office, described the arrangement a bit more directly.
“You can’t hide behind e-mail,” he said. “There’s a definite dynamic to it. It speeds things up.”
The pin board, where drawings are displayed, stretches about 150 feet and is in view of almost every desk, meaning that architects can keep an eye on the others’ progress.
“You can’t say, ‘I wasn’t aware of it,’ because you pass it on your way to get a coffee,” Mr. Jelliffe said.
EVERY month, the architects report directly to Mr. Silverstein. It was Mr. Jelliffe’s turn on Tuesday.
Tower 2, at Greenwich and Vesey Streets, will have four trading floors at its base to accommodate a financial service tenant. The architects originally proposed to locate the elevators for these floors at one end of the trading space, leaving a span of 150 feet for desks. Mr. Jelliffe said that by moving the traders’ elevators from the center to the perimeter of the building, space on the trading floors could grow by 40 feet.
He also told Mr. Silverstein that the architects had squeezed four inches out of the mechanical space in the ceiling of each office floor without diminishing the 9-foot-6-inch height of the tenant space. This means that, without an increase in the tower’s overall height, the number of office floors can be increased to 63 from 62.
(What landlord wouldn’t appreciate an extra 36,000 square feet of leasable space?)
Among Mr. Silverstein’s concerns was the preservation of unobstructed views. He made a point of assuring himself that trusses being added to the perimeter of the structure would be only on mechanical floors, so as not to cut out windows.
He made similar points on Dec. 14 as Gary K. Kamemoto, a senior associate at Maki & Associates, presented Tower 4. The discussion that day began with the facade. The original concept had been to sandwich perforated metal mesh between panes of glass, to provide both shading and some transparency.
Mr. Kamemoto said other approaches were under study, including the use of a ceramic pattern etched onto the exterior pane of glass with a mirror-coated pane behind it. But he emphasized that the architects would be flexible and creative.
“You know us Japanese,” he said to Mr. Silverstein. “We build buildings out of paper.”