2006_06_freedtower1.jpgWe're up to Version 3.0: Architect David Childs revealed new designs for Freedom Tower, the centerpiece of the World Trade Center's redevelopment. The NY Times reports that the biggest change to the design is encasing the "187-foot-high, bomb-resistant concrete base in a screen of glass prisms rather than metal panels." When Childs revealed a redesign last year, one with a concrete base, people derided it for being like a "concrete bunker," albeit it one that would satisfy NYPD concerns.

Mr. Childs now proposes to cover the base in panels of laminated glass with a saw-tooth face made of prisms in a vertical array. "You know this from high-school physics class," Mr. Childs said. "The sun hits the prism and breaks into color."

He said that full-scale mock-ups of this wall will be built in Kearney, N.J., to ensure that the fractured, reflected sunlight will not blind pedestrians or drivers.

Behind the glass would be concrete for the first 60 feet, then an open space known as a plenum, through which air is drawn to cool the equipment inside. At this point, there would be one- or two-foot spaces between the glass panels, backed by a protective aluminum screen.

Mr. Childs said that the base, made of high-density concrete (he would not specify the thickness of the walls, for security reasons), "does the job that the New York City police want it to do, in every respect."

Nice, taking a chapter out of the Frank Gehry blinds people with the Disney Hall book.


Original Freedom Tower designer Daniel Libeskind (the master planner at Ground Zero) was pleased with the redesign, saying, "They have brought luminosity and a prismatic quality to the base and made the tower more crystalline." Childs' announcement was made at the AIA NY awards ceremony, which took place at the Childs-designed 7 World Trade Center. Today, Newsday calls 7 WTC a "marvel of craftsmanship."

The NY Times has a slideshow of the new designs.

Renderings of the new Freedom Tower from the LMDC