World Trade Centre agency names architects

Some of the worldÂ's best known architects have been given one of the worldÂ's most difficult jobs -- coming up with concepts for the site where the twin towers of the World Trade Centre once stood. The teams represent 27 architectural firms from 5 countries: the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.

In a bow to public rejection of earlier proposals for a memorial park to the September 11 victims surrounded by tall buildings and commercial enterprises, officials said on Thursday the amount of commercial space on the site would be reduced.

Officials of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is overseeing the project, said its goal was for the six chosen teams of architects and planners to present their plans to the public at the end of the year. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns the 16 acre site and real estate developer Larry Silverstein owns rights to office and commercial space.

Officials said the design teams were being asked to incorporate cultural institutions and commercial, residential and office space in their plans to rebuild the streets and skyline of lower Manhattan.

They said the teams were to be given two sets of parameters -- one would incorporate the original 11 million square feet of office space but not on the actual site of the attack and the other would incorporate commercial space, although reduced.

No decisions on what to rebuild at the site are expected until next year, but ThursdayÂ's announcement moved the process a step closer to completion. Any construction above ground was not expected for three to five years and the design and building of a memorial was a separate process that would be integrated with the rebuilding, officials said.

The teams include Norman FosterÂ's Foster and Partners of London, which designed the new German parliament in Berlin and Studio Daniel Libeskind of Berlin, designers of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, as well as Getty Museum architect, the American Richard Meier.

Others are New YorkÂ's Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, including a Japanese design firm; a team called United Architects of New York, Los Angeles and the Netherlands; a team called THINK from New York and four architects called TEAM of New York.

(source: Reuters)

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