If Freud were an architect…
: I cannot begin to tell you how much I hate the latest designs for the World Trade Center.
Most of them are so pathetically phallic.
It is as if we are erecting giant private parts and daring the bad guys of the world: “Cut this off!” (Again.)
It is a case of overcompensation: They cut them off before so we’ll put them back again, bigger, louder, gaudier than ever.
This exhibits a lack of imagination and vision and purpose.
It is urban development as a macho sport.
: Examples of the public private parts: The Foster design, the THINK design, the United Architects design, the Peterson-Littenburg design, and the Libeskind design (each link goes directly to a photo that illustrates the buildings at their most FU perspective).
: Other designs — and other aspects of the designs above — are chaotic to the point that they are disturbing. My son looked at one and said, “That looks dangerous.” He’s quite right. I looked at the frightening, falling angles and could only think once again of people falling to their deaths there. They are disturbingly insensitive.
United Architects’ design is such a nightmare: It is post traumatic stress syndrome in steel and glass.
: And some designs are merely architecture as performance art: self-indulgent, impractical, show-off, fits of fancy that scream, “Look at me, not at my building.” I usually despise performance art (and now, thanks to the brainless fool with the subway “art,” so do most New Yorkers); I sure don’t want to live or work in it. For this, look at Foster and Foster again.
: That’s not to say there are not ideas to pursue here. The SOM et al design has a huge, grand space. THINK’s great room, on the other hand, reminds me of Berlin Alexanderplatz under the communists: vast to an inhuman scale. But then THINK has an inviting amphitheatre, as does Peterson/Littenberg.
: These designs are all about architects showing off.
They should, instead, be about humanity.
They should exhibit grace, dignity, strength, human scale, human life, perspective, memory, taste, history. These buildings should deserve to stand forever.
They have none of that.
I hate these designs. I fear them.
: The Lower Manhattan Development Corp.’s site choked today as soon as the designs were put up. I begged Gawker to put up a sampling of images as a public service; you can find them there. The Times just put up a slide show as well.