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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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Lynne Varner
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June 30, 2005

The Freedom Tower in New York

The new design for the building to replace the World Trade Center in New York is out. It is a skyscraper with an antenna on top; and a fortified bottom—the fortification because the building is expected to be a target of terrorists.

There has been a great fight over the design. I saw a show on PBS about it, months ago; it chronicled a struggle between an idealistic architect backed by New York’s governor versus a commercial architect backed by the private developer. The idealist, Daniel Liebeskind, had a design that was much more striking and original, but I thought if it was to be a private project, the choice of the architect should be none of the governor’s business. If the developer wanted the more down-to-earth architect David Childs, then it should be Childs. And that is how it worked out.

As a practical matter, I think both of the original designs were too grandiose, as is this one. The World Trade Center was the No. 1 terrorist target in the United States. It was attacked twice, in 1993 and in 2001, was destroyed and a huge proportion of its tenants were killed. To rebuild a thing just as tall as the WTC is to say, “To hell with you, terrorists, we build it right back again.” Well, that feels good, and it may be the attitude the U.S. government should take, but for a private investor it’s not good business. It is taking unnecessary risks with tenants, and may make the place harder to rent out. It if it were my capital at risk, I wouldn’t build one big building that stuck up 1,776 feet to flip the bird to Islamic extremists. I’d let all the patriots with no capital at risk call me a coward and a weenie, but I'd build three buildings a third as tall and keep my tenants, and my investment, safer.

Respond to Bruce.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at June 30, 2005 06:59 AM



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