If there's something politicians know how to do, it's to convene a committee! The NY Times focuses on how everyone wants new plans to bring the WTC Memorial budget down - there's that much agreement. But the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has one committee working on it...and Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg created another committee to work on ideas! Double the thinking, infinite times the resentment! The LMDC team includes the builder Bovis, whose $1 billion estimate of the memorial caused a lot of the agita that prompted these committees, while the Pataki-Bloomberg team, "Memorial and Master Plan Design Commitee," has memorial designers and architects, Michael Arad, Peter Walker, and Max Bond, plus WTC "master planner" Daniel Libeskind and rival builder Frank Sciame. At any rate, the LMDC committee is planning on having a couple of new ideas by next week. Hmm, maybe the LMDC can time a new memorial design by July, which is about three years after the WTC memorial competition ended.

2006_05_slurry2.jpgAnd the NY Times' David Dunlap looks at the original World Trade Center's slurry wall in the middle of redevelopment plans. He had a good description of the wall and its fragility:

The problem with the wall is rooted in the site itself. The twin towers were built in landfill. While their column footings reached bedrock, a foundation wall had to be built around them to resist the tremendous inward pressure from the riverside soil.

Trenches were dug into the landfill. Slurry, a suspension of clay and water, was poured into the trenches. Cagelike steel reinforcing bars were then lowered into the trenches, after which concrete was injected, displacing the slurry and forming the wall.

But the wall could not stand on its own. It was buttressed by the basement floor slabs of the trade center. Those floors, of course, are now gone. The wall is being temporarily reinforced from behind by steel cables tied to bedrock. These cables end in the distinctive angular anchor heads that pepper the wall's concrete surface.

It's questionable how the wall will be preserved, with cost-cutting afoot, but Dunlap reminds us that WTC Libeskind once said the wall was "as eloquent as the Constitution itself."