In my article, The Incongruity of Mourning and the 9/11 Memorial, we discussed how to create an appropriate memorial for the World Trade Center loss.
Last week we received updated news the Ground Zero World Trade Center site would be re-built using invisible buildings that blend into the sky, reflect the environment around them and form a transparent skyline while shouting to the world: “Please don’t hit us again! We’re here, but our buildings really aren’t!”

This is an artist’s rendering released by Silverstein
Properties, Inc. on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2006 that shows three proposed
designs for the remaining towers at the World Trade Center site. The
towers would join the proposed 1,776-foot Freedom Tower, left, in
downtown Manhattan’s skyline.

Building Invisible Buildings

The new World Trade Center “buildings” are ugly, wanting and wantonly
promiscuous in their teasing of what they are replacing.
Their unoriginal inbred inability to create any heat or sexuality that
matches the architecture we forever lost only continues our current
melancholia.
It seems those with the responsibility to make good the previous
passion at Ground Zero are incapable of knowing this one thing: History is Never Made Twice.

We
should rebuild the World Trade Center just as it was. No one will dare
repeat the events of 9/11 because that terror was “already done.”
You never play the same moment twice. We understand you cannot step
into the same river twice, but the architects of the new “Invisi-Trade
Center” do not.
Icons are not events. Icons make history persistent. If an icon is lost
the icon must be replaced as it was in order to satiate the mourning
masses. Rebuilding the Twin Towers as they were is to make them better
than they were by not repeating the design mistakes of the originals.

Rebuild what was! Reinforce it. If you must, leave the top halves of
the buildings empty of people if there is still a fear of what will
never happen again. Show the world we may have been bowed but we were
never broken when it comes to standing against the sky. Let the icons
once again have meaning in their memory.

The new “Invisi-Trade Center” is an unfortunate joke on those who
perished among those hallowed grounds and while history is never made
twice, its errors can be repeated over and over again as witnessed in
the tender and frightened replacement shell buildings quivering in the
shadow of footprints where great giants once stood.

12 Comments

  1. I had a friend in Israel who was living in a house while attending the same yeshiva as me in Jerusalem. One day he told me that the previous week, there had been a homicide bombing outside of the house he was staying in. They woke up in the morning and there was damage to the building and many of the windows were broken.
    He said that by the time he got home that night, everything was fixed and restored to how it was.
    Of course replacing a building is a lot more complicated but I think if the Israeli mindset were in place we would have had the buildings as they were mostly rebuilt, possibly completely restored.

  2. Hi Gordon!
    I think Israel’s approach is just how we must deal with terrorism: They hit you, you hit them back and you fix what they damaged as if they never touched you in the first place.
    There are big cities that use that sort of philosophy on dealing with graffiti: Wash it off within 24 hours to keep the community clean and to deter other artists from seeking the public limelight at the public’s expense.
    Donald Trump has said from the start to rebuild the buildings as they were. He’s been right all along. I really believe the “powers that be” in NYC and NYS are too terrified to build anything that would have future significance.

  3. “Wishy washy” is a great phrase, Nicola!
    The “replacements” have always been rendered either “clear” or “translucent” so they blend in with the sky and reflect nature so they don’t look like “buildings.”
    Huh?
    I have never understood that design philosophy at all.
    The grandiosity of the Twin Towers is why they became an international landmark. They were targets because of what they semiotically represented about the USA.
    The “re-build” is small and visionless and gutless. I guess those who make the decisions wouldn’t want it any other way.

  4. I can see that without seeing the buildings. I know there must be a lot of money at stake but it sure is crazy to see empty spot after five years and the best plan they have is to go small instead of bigger and better. It’s anti-American in the spirit at least.

  5. Hi David,
    I agree.
    Rebuilding the buildings the same way as before shows the bad guys that they cannot win — the cannot scare us into changing our lives and the way we do things.
    Trump is building his tower in Chicago. At one time, he had plans to make it the tallest building in the city, if not the world. Now, it will be the fourth tallest building in Chicago.
    It’s sad that we are afraid to be bold out of fear of attracting attention from bad guys who already focused on us.
    Closing our eyes to become invisible and hoping for the best when we imagined monsters under the bed — like we did when we were young and afraid of the dark — really doesn’t do anything to solve the fear or protect us from those with ill intents.

  6. Hi Chris!
    “Monsters under the bed” is a perfect way of describing the sort of fear that harangues the leadership in NYS when it comes to the hole-in-the-ground that used to be The World Trade Center.
    America has always been bold and confident at home and abroad.
    It’s so interesting how we’ve become weak and afraid and home and brash and crass abroad.
    I think 9/11 changed our view of ourselves in negative ways we, as the people, have yet to hauntingly discover.

  7. I know im late writing here but suggesting that they build the same towers is totally misunderstanding the point in wich these towers were built in the first place. And not knowing what forces can control such events as this huge piece of ritualistic sacrifice and build up.