Snapshot reports from across the nation
Chicago Tribune Reporter Blair Kamin responds to 2001 predictions from many in the building industry that the Sept. 11 attacks would spell the end to the skyscraper. “Five years later, as construction cranes in cities around the world make plain, reports of the skyscraper's death were greatly exaggerated. …But something has changed, something fundamental: In many skyscrapers around the world, fear has joined form, function and finance as an integral part of the skyscraper equation.”
- Sept. 8. The skyscraper is back with new vitality, but not without fear. Chicago Tribune.
New York Times Reporter Deborah Sontag provides an in-depth look at the long and contentious rebuilding of Ground Zero with the 1,776-foot glass Freedom Tower. “On Aug. 31, 2004, Michael A. Sheehan, the police deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, wrote Mr. Seymour [of Port Authority] a letter expressing his discomfort with the Freedom Tower’s ‘insufficient standoff distance’ from West Street and about the use of glass on lower floors. These specific concerns, he wrote, had been voiced in previous meetings and ignored.”
- Sept. 11. Broken Ground: The Hole in the City’s Heart. New York Times.
Architect Barbara Nadel, editor in chief of “Building Security:
Handbook for Architectural Planning and Design,” says in a Los Angeles Times article that liability standards for architects and building owners has changed since Sept. 11. She recommends several protective-design elements. “I generally advise clients and colleagues to consider … widening exit stairs in a new high-rise, and opening them to the outdoors rather than to a lobby. [And] laminated glass, which shatters in place, or blast windows, developed in Israel and widely used in high-risk facilities, that offer greater safety because they prevent flying glass pieces from causing fatalities.”
- Sept. 10. Ripple effects; Five years after 9/11. Los Angeles Times.
New York Times Reporter Nicolai Ouroussoff describes the architectural motivations behind the transparency of three more towers in the master plan of the Ground Zero site. The designs of the towers by architects Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Fumihiko Maki were unveiled last week. "The simplistic nod to the memorial echoes the saccharine symbolism of Daniel Libeskind’s Wedge of Light plaza, whose form is based on the position of the sun five years ago this morning, when the two airliners reached the end of their deadly trajectory. Similarly, Lord Foster, Lord Rogers and Mr. Maki emphasize their buildings’ transparency, a tired cliché for the openness of a democratic society. But transparency is not just about openness. It’s about voyeurism, exhibitionism and surveillance, the last of which is probably more relevant than 'freedom' at ground zero."
- Sept. 11. Architecture Review: At Ground Zero, Towers for Forgetting. New York Times.