by Jeanne Belovitch
After reading the letters of Downtown Visions: Remembrance and Resolve published July 19th and then, listening to the comments aired on television after New York's Town Hall Meeting about rebuilding ground zero, a common thread of feelings seemed to have emerged.
New Yorkers are disappointed with development proposals. They are yearning for an expression of healing and comfort in the new architectural design. In this same design, they are searching for the familiar expressions of optimism, possibilities, and a sky's the limit persona. Lastly, they desire not to make lower Manhattan into a burial ground for tourists. The architects and the client (New York City) have a challenging task before them, but these recent feelings have already revealed important directions for their work.
I believe that the development proposals for the 12 million square feet cannot meet the needs of aching hearts because the buildings proposed are only linear in design. Intrinsically, they have a beginning and an end, and the collective consciousness pertaining to this shape, now, has an imprint of fear. Maybe, we ought to look at rebuilding this 12 million square feet of land within a circle. A circle speaks to life, eternity, universality, healing, and rebirth. The circle also expresses hope, joy, strength, and innovation. Everything for which New York City stands.
Within that large circle, draw a four-leaf clover so that the edges of the four clovers meet the circle. Along the clover trace a river of fresh, clean, running water that also has neither beginning nor end. This water of life can be a focal point for personal reflection and a memoriam to the deceased. On both sides of this river create magnificent gardens. Perhaps along the banks include the names of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Selected remnants of the World Trade Center may be able to serve as sculptures along the river as well as memorials.
Now we come to the design and construction of the World Trade Center buildings. This is where New Yorkers want to soar and sing. It is in these buildings that the architects and the client must capture the energy, commerce, and dynamic vision that made and continues to make New York City, New York City.
Within the four clovers and inside the river of life, there is space for four magnificent buildings that can soar and expand in new and unique forms. New Yorkers have already said they want these buildings to be majestic and awe inspiring. Perhaps buildings that combine circular, linear, and geometric shapes and dimensions. In his letter to the editor, Daniel Weiner referred to the “breakthrough architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn, I.M. Pei, and Frank Gehry as what the World Trade Center site needs.
Finally within the small center of this new architecture we are left with one small circle. Perhaps, it could be a reflection pool of still water? Whatever it becomes, it is a space for creativity, beauty, reflection, boldness, and connection in this 12 million square feet honoring life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Source: www.jeannebelovitch.com; Written July 25, 2002