A new look at a familiar skyline

There’s more to architecture than just creating inhabitable geometric shapes, a sentiment which Daniel Libeskind, the architect for the new design of the World Trade Center site, stressed to 500 people in the Special Events Center on Tuesday night.

“Plumbing, electrical and structural issues aside,” Libeskind said, “the architecture profession closely resembles the task of one who tells a story, and I find that the buildings that we truly love are the buildings which tell a story.”

Polish-born Libeskind guided the audience through a photographic slideshow series of his architectural designs. A testament to his design theories, Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany, Denver Art Museum and Imperial War Museum, both in Manchester, England, emphasize this notion of storytelling.

Highlighting conflict, exhibits from the Manchester museum detail the degradation of war told through the stories of women and children.

In addition to bringing emotion and reflection, his buildings also contributed “economically and culturally” to the surrounding area, Libeskind said.

By far, the most anticipated part of his lecture concerned the present status of the new WTC plan.

“Sept. 11 was not just a destructive attack, but it was also an attack on democracy,” Libeskind said. “It’s imperative that the new project captures the memory of the heroes who perished, and the resurgence of liberty and freedom.”

Libeskind’s design will leave the 35 foot-deep footprints of the fallen Twin Towers and convert the surrounding area into a memorial site.

The remaining 75-foot slurry wall is also important in Libeskind’s design.

“Walking down the 75 feet to the bedrock of New York, I likened my journey as to that of a diver,” Libeskind said, “where all of the pressure of those who died flooded my mind.”

In addition, this 75-foot wall is a symbol of New York’s resilience, Libeskind said, as it was left untouched by the attack. If it hadn’t stood up against the destruction of the towers, he said, all of New York city would have been flooded by the Hudson River.

These emblems of emotion will be incorporated into Libeskind’s 1,776-foot Freedom Tower and surrounding office buildings, which “need to be brought back as quickly as possible,” Libeskind said.

In four years, the arrangement of these structures should resemble the torch from the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and liberty, Libeskind said.

“This will always and forever be ground zero and will always and forever reflect all the positive forces of New York,” he said.