The wrong World Trade Center

liebeskind5.jpgThe wrong World Trade Center
: Here is why I do not like the winning Libeskind design for the new World Trade Center:

Libeskind gives emphasis to and invests meaning in the pit, the bathtub, the concrete slurry walls that held in the foundation of the center. That is the focus of his memorial.

But the World Trade Center and September 11th and its aftermath are not about looking down. The World Trade Center sang to the sky. The people who lived there lived far above the ground. Their perspective was the horizon, the world. There was no pit after the building was built and until the building and the victims were dug out of it. The pit is what is left over after the life left. That is not the appropriate memorial.

Digging into the earth to create a memorial has been done, and quite eloquently, at the Vietnam memorial. To do it again is to make a gash in the earth into a cliche. And the victims of both the World Trade Center and Vietnam do not deserve to be remembered with an easy cliche.

Libeskind looks down to hell when he should be looking up to heaven.

In addition, his buildings are chaotic and chaos is exactly what should not be remembered and memorialized from that place and that day. Chaos is all I remember: bodies and buildings and flames all falling with no sense and no order, bringing fright, leaving white ash that looks like the white disorder of Libeskind’s structures. No, this design should bring order, grace, dignity, and sense back to this place. Libeskind does not.

Finally, the tower is there only to be a tower, with no purpose other than to show off. It screams vulnerability to me. I want to throw my hands over the crotch of Manhattan and protect it as I shout, “Leave us alone. Not again, damnit, not again.”

The design is inappropriate to the site and the memory. It was picked by politicians, not by the people. I will say it again: We will regret this choice.