It is not just flag-waving conservatives who thought the WTC towers should have been replaced. Many of us who had worked in the towers (I spent about thirty years in Tower 1, retiring at the end of 2000) wanted them back. At the very least, the original model should have been placed in the site plan "competition" won by Libeskind.
Bad as the original design was – and it had many defects – it was still superior to what was and is being proposed. It contained a large open public space, needed in the downtown area; an interesting face to Church Street; and lots of popular commercial space.
An imaginative reconstruction of the two towers, perhaps ten or twenty stories higher – as a political statement – and improvements to the plaza, as had been proposed by the Port Authority before the unfortunate lease to Silverstein, would already be well under construction. And it would have been a better memorial to the victims than any proposed to date.
The Calatrava entrance (in the spirit of disclosure, I now work for one of the firms involved with the entrance) is one of the bright spots, but an armored "Freedom" tower, cringing in fear, is an obvious mistake.
Enoch Lipson, AIA
Mr. Lipson submitted this opinion to metropolismag.com in response to "Onward and Upward", an article on the indomitable urge to sky-scrape, which was posted in metropolismag.com in October 2005. He kindly gave us permission to use it here.