Princeton architects reimagine world Trade Center site
By Karin Dienst
Princeton NJ -- How do you build a future from a horrific past? This question is occupying the minds of five faculty members and two alumni of the School of Architecture currently developing plans for the World Trade Center site.
The architects are on three of the six teams selected by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. to conceptualize a new beginning for a significant portion of Lower Manhattan, extending from the pit of Ground Zero. The teams have just six to eight weeks from the Oct. 11 start date to submit their proposals.
The Princeton-associated architects were included in this second round of design after the initial six proposals from the first group of planners met with criticism from the public. For this second round, the architects are being given more freedom to reimagine the 16-acre site and to incorporate a broader range of options, such as space for cultural programming, according to Dean of the School of Architecture Stan Allen. Each team will receive a stipend of $40,000 to create plans.
"The first proposals were almost exclusively about office space," said Allen, who is on one of the design teams. "They did not rethink the city innovatively."
Allen ventured four explanations for the high representation of Princeton faculty and alumni in the project. "The first is that the school is committed to innovation," he said. "The second is that we have a close connection to New York City, and many of our faculty practice there. Third, our school focuses on questions of urbanism. The project requires people to think about the future of the city and how it might change. A fourth reason is that our faculty and students understand architecture as above all a public art," he said. "The initiative speaks to what we are."
The Princeton-associated architects involved in the project are:
Peter Eisenman, who is on a team with Richard Meier, Charles Gwathmey and Steven Holl.
Well-known as an architectural theorist, Eisenman's public projects include the Wexner Center for the Visual Arts in Columbus, Ohio, and the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. He established his professional practice in New York in 1980, and has taught at universities in the United States and Europe. He came to Princeton in 1994 as a visiting professor.
Faculty members Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos and Jesse Reiser, who join alumni Kevin Kennon and Greg Lynn and others in the United Artists team.
Architect van Berkel and art historian Bos are the founders of UN Studio, a network of specialists in architecture, urban development and infrastructure. The Dutch team has taught at many architectural schools around the world, coming to Princeton as lecturers in 1999. One of their recent exhibitions was The Unprivate House at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Reiser joined the architecture faculty in 2000 as an assistant professor. He is a principal of the New York firm Reiser Umemoto, along with Nanako Umemoto. The firm established its reputation as specialists in large-scale urban development based on its 1990 study of New York state's water supply and Croton Aqueduct corridor. More recently, Reiser developed proposals for Manhattan's East Riverfront, delineating zones of public and private use.
Kennon earned a master's degree in architecture from Princeton in 1984. In 2001, he formed Kevin Kennon Architect, LLC, based in New York. Kennon was involved in the design and construction of the public viewing stands at the World Trade Center. He is currently designing a library at Amherst College. He was a visiting professor in architectural design at Princeton in fall 2001 and spring 2002.
Lynn earned a master's degree in architecture from Princeton in 1988. His firm Greg Lynn FORM, which was established in Hoboken, N.J., in 1994, now is based in Venice, Calif. Lynn has taught at universities in the United States and Europe and is currently a studio professor at the University of California-Los Angeles.
Stan Allen, who joins several other architects on the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill team.
Dean of the School of Architecture since July of this year, Allen also is founding principal and director of Field Operations, an interdisciplinary design practice in partnership with landscape architect James Corner. Allen has designed galleries, workspaces and single-family houses that have been built in New York, Los Angeles and abroad. Current projects include buildings at Paju Book City, an urban wetland outside of Seoul, Korea; a prototype weekend house in Sagaponac, N.Y.; and a land-use planning and infrastructure design study encompassing 12 miles of the North Delaware waterfront in Philadelphia.
November 4, 2002
Vol. 92, No. 8
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Contributing writers: Karin Dienst, Evelyn Tu
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