September 11, 2006

9/11 - The New Cityscape of Fear - updated

Cityscape of fear
The online news magazine Salon recently featured an article about the Cityscape of fear, claiming that the American Architecture is still reeling from the 9/11 attacks. Security is the main concern, even five years since the attacks occured, and you can see the effects everywhere: from jersey barriers in front of the Lincon Center, posts and bollards became ubiquitous aswell as planters and fences. These barricades are sucking the soul out of urban life.
Highrise Boom
The San Francisco chronicle claims that altough the terror threat fails to stem the high rise boom, defensive measuers focus on fortifying the buildings bases against possible attacks. Currently there are five towers are under construction that will exceed 30 stories.While Chicago approved recently the 2000-foot Fordham Spire and Boston will maybe feature soon a 1000-foot tower in the historic finacial district. While Lord Foster's WTC-Design of the "kissing towers" has been rejected, he was able to lead on a series of new mayor towers in New York City that have been introduced after 9/11. Actually his Hearst Tower opened just last year. 2002 the design for the new 1046-foot New York Times Tower by Renzo Piano was hailed as breakthrough for the Manhattan Skyline, it's construction end is slated for 2007.

The World Trade Center Site
Last Thurday the plans were unveiled of the last three skyscrapes that will join the Freedom Tower around the former World Trade Center site. These towers altogether will reshape the current skyline of lower Manhattan but the future ensemble won't dominate as much like the former WTC's Towers did. Lord Foster also designed one of the three, which would mark his second tower in Manhattan. The other two were designed by Richard Rogers and Fumihiko Maki. Nicolai Ouroussoff, the NYTimes Chief Architecture critic, writes in his architecture review of the new towers that they illustrate how low our expectations have sunk since the city first resolved to rebuild the site. Mixed views allegorise fellow Archinecter's discussion of the new designs. BBC menwhile ask what exactly it means to build a skyscraper after 9/11 and examines the design of the centerpiece of the WTC site, the Freedom Tower.
The 1776-foot tower had to ensure maximum safety and security, and had to incorporate a number of features. Most notably is the multi-layered glass curtain wall to protect the building form explosions on street level, from which the curtain wall extends about 40 meters and mostly hosts building technology. The building's base, which more resembles a plinth, is probably the strongest sign of retreat and security that has been designed for future towers. "People that still are clinging to the expectation taht the tower will become a monument to the highest American Ideals, the current design should finally shake them out of that delusion." Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote in his review of the Freedom Tower.
Fear rising? - Epilogue
It is said that Americans are safer now more than they were before the 9/11 attacks. But whith Bin Laden still on the run, after three wars and maybe on the brink of a fourth, poeple feel less secure. Accordingly the Wired Magazine writes that security technology is booming. "Of course, even as technologies improve, none is likely to end the post-Sept. 11 era of hyper vigilance." BBC has again some interesting statistics that show how 9/11 changed America.

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