Durst screws up the Freedom Tower antenna

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Freedom Tower side by side 1 WTCSeptember 11, 2013- If you have looked at the tall tower atop the WTC 1 “Freedom Tower” and thought to your self, “That is ugly. I wonder if they are still building it.”, you are not alone. It is a mess, and was caused by developer Durst, according to the WSJ. Recall, we previously reported how the entire name of the tower has been botched by Durst.

The WSJ reports, “Yet just as construction costs have ballooned to nearly $4 billion, making this by far the most expensive new office building in the world, its developers—the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, along with the Durst Organization—have decided to cut one last corner, blunting the building’s most prominent and important symbol.

In 2005, David M. Childs took over the design of One WTC, he devised a brilliant solution for balancing the building’s monumental and memorial demands with its practical and commercial needs. He took a chaotic jumble of ideas left by Daniel Libeskind….Two of Mr. Libeskind’s proposed symbols remained through Mr. Childs’s redesign: the building’s 1,776 foot total height, and an illuminated beacon at the top to allude both to the torch of the Statue of Liberty and to the soaring skyscrapers of the Manhattan skyline. To accomplish this, SOM brought in the sculptor Kenneth Snelson to design what was meant to be the building’s most visible element: a spire to rise 408 feet from the center of the building’s 1,368-foot-high roof, bringing One WTC to 1,776 feet.

Nevertheless, in 2012 Durst, the owner of One WTC, announced a stunning last-minute design change: They would eliminate the radome and leave exposed the antenna that was meant to be hidden inside.

This newspaper and other media outlets have reported that since taking an ownership interest in One WTC in 2010, Durst has been agitating for the radome’s elimination—a push rejected by the agency’s executive director at the time, only to be approved by his successor. “I don’t think it will affect the visual appearance,” Douglas Durst, the chairman of the Durst Organization, said regarding the radome’s elimination. “I try not to get involved with the aesthetics.” In fact, the financial incentives of Durst’s co-ownership deal, it has been reported, are structured in such a way as to prioritize cost-saving construction over aesthetic concerns.

In a 2012 statement, Mr. Childs called the radome an “integral part” of the building’s design. He also offered to find a suitable compromise. “We stand ready to work with the Port on an alternate design that will still mark 1 World Trade Center’s place in New York City’s skyline.” Unfortunately, it appears the owners have chosen to follow the cheapest and worst of all possible routes. Rather than design a new spire, they are instead using the older design, minus the sculptural shell, in a way that was never intended.

Just imagine constructing the Statue of Liberty but then, for cost reasons, forgoing its sculpted copper skin. Of course, as nothing more than an exposed metal skeleton and a spiral staircase, Lady Liberty wouldn’t be the same. In certain ways, the current short-changing at Ground Zero is even worse. One WTC rises over hallowed ground, pointing to the heavens from the place where over 2,600 souls lost their lives. The substitution of its graceful spire with a radio antenna reduces the building to the mundane and diminishes its meaning as a monument and memorial.”

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