Monday, February 19, 2007

Ouroussoff Takes On the Freedom Tower

After a number of diversionary excursions into places like Dubai, New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff is finally engaging his new home city with a simple, brave declaration: Freedom Tower is anything but.

Year after year, the enormous optimism of the competition that arose out of public disgust with the original proposals for the World Trade Center site has been beaten down and eviscerated by the ugly realities of developer Larry Silverstein's greed, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill's David Childs' raw political maneuvering, and the fecklessness of Governor George Pataki. By the time Childs' last cowering, capitulating design was revealed, the overall response was one of fatalistic resignation.

Now Ouroussoff has come forth to state what should have obvious to anyone with two eyes.

"The Freedom Tower, with its tapered bulk and chamfered corners, evokes a gargantuan glass obelisk. Its clumsy bloated form, remade by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, vaguely recalls the worst of postmodernist historicism . . . the Freedom Tower is conceived as a barricaded fortress . . . It speaks less of resilience and tolerance than of paranoia." Read the full article here.

Although construction has already begun on foundations, Ouroussoff says its not too late to rethink the design. We can only hope.

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