Design for Living

Could The World Trade Center Become The World Cultural Center?

Norma Munn, chair of the New York City Arts Coalition, notes that a number of the architects, not just the THINK team, added cultural facilities. "Many people in the arts are both very pleased and totally puzzled," she says. "I love the idea. What's not to love? But in some ways, it's like a vision with no feet on the ground. There isn't a single arts organization in the city that plans to go down there without being subsidized. There is no analysis that I can see of whether or not there's an audience. And who's going to pay for programming and upkeep?"

"So you have a destination point," says Ted Berger, executive director of the New York Foundation for the Arts. "What I don't want is a sense that 'we gave at the office,' by having a major cultural institution at the site. If you want artists to work here, to live here—all that needs to be part of the mix as downtown is being thought through. That wasn't what the designers were asked to do. But it needs to be part of the overall thinking."


The THINK team's plan for a World Cultural Center: The orange ball at the bottom of the tower at right is a theater; the gray wedge connecting the towers is a 9-11 museum.
The THINK team's plan for a World Cultural Center: The orange ball at the bottom of the tower at right is a theater; the gray wedge connecting the towers is a 9-11 museum.

All plans and models are currently on display at the Winter Garden, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, or see lowermanhattan.info. On January 8, the Municipal Art Society will again convene Imagine New York to discuss these new plans. Register at 212-750-3972 or imaginenewyork.com. The LMDC will hold a public hearing at Pace University on January 13.

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