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Hearst Tower Echoes Trade Center Plan


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Hearst Tower Echoes Trade Center Plan

By DAVID W. DUNLAP | October 7, 2004

OF the nine might-have-beens from the 2002 design study for the new World Trade Center, one is actually taking form in microcosm. It isn't by Daniel Libeskind. And it's nowhere near ground zero.

Instead, what has begun to claim an angular place in the sky is Norman Foster's Hearst Tower, near Columbus Circle.

With its bold introduction of a quiltwork diagonal grid, or diagrid, into the relentlessly right-angled cityscape, the future headquarters of the Hearst Corporation gives some sense of what New York might have experienced in Lord Foster's proposal for the trade center site.

The case should not be overstated. The two designs differ in important respects, beginning with their massing and scale. The Hearst Tower is a single building, rising 597 feet from the hollowed-out shell of a six-story landmark structure. The trade center proposal called for two towers, joined at three points, rising 1,764 feet.

(Come to think of it, perhaps that was the strategic error made by Lord Foster in his trade center design. It may have been 12 feet too short for the liking of state officials, who were captivated by the symbolism of Mr. Libeskind's 1,776-foot proposal.)


Foster & Partners Lord Foster

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