COMING SOON, TO A GIANT HOLE IN THE GROUND NEAR YOU . . .
"Designing a skyscraper that combines so many elements was the challenge of my career," Childs announced, as he presented the record 514th blueprint of the so-called Freedom Tower. "To create a building that everyone in the world will judge is difficult. When you also consider the fact that the tower will be a symbol for all Americans, well that's an awesome responsibility. And then, when you factor in the salient detail that it will never be built . . . well, I can't describe it."
As the site of the former Twin Towers remains a depressing hole in the ground five years after terrorists destroyed the buildings, New Yorkers and others have waited anxiously to see something, anything, built. Yet every idea for a new building gets blocked by someone: grieving widows demanding a memorial as large as the original towers; politicians like N.Y. Governor George Pataki handing out favors to connected architects like Daniel Libeskind; or architectural ideas so hideous that most would prefer a fallow hole in the ground reminding them daily of the death and mayhem that took place there.
Childs, however, took a different approach.
"After seeing plans blocked for all the standard reasons, most of them political or aesthetic, I decided to go in a more economic or pragmatic direction, figuring that if the design was too expensive or impractical it'd get blocked. This allowed me to design a stunning & beautiful tower, while still following the clear mandate to never actually break ground."
"Mr. Childs's design is exceptional," Ruppert du Champ, a noted architect explained to us. "At 1776 feet tall, there's simply no way it could be finished in the next five years. And if it were, it would cost somewhere in the range of 1776 billion dollars. So Mr. Childs addressed the economic inefficiencies with absolute aplomb. That alone impresses me. But then, to subtly cover the impracticalities while maintaining aesthtic integrity? Amazing."
When we pressed him to be more specific regarding the impracticalities, du Champ scowled at us, before saying, "Would you want to work a quarter of a mile high in the world's tallest skyscraper, on the site of one of the worst terror attacks in history, in a building called 'The Freedom Tower'? I know I wouldn't. And no one will."