The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation invited architects and planners around the world to participate in an LMDC design study regarding the future of the World Trade Center site and surrounding areas.

"This effort to reach out to the finest architects and planners around the globe significantly expands the search for the best design talent," said LMDC Chairman John Whitehead. "The goal of everyone working on the rebuilding program is to create a truly beautiful and vibrant new Lower Manhattan while appropriately honoring the victims of September 11th."

New York New Visions, a coalition of 21 architecture, engineering, planning, landscape architecture and design organizations, will advise LMDC in selecting up to five teams to prepare additional concept plans for the next phase of the planning process. The teams selected will receive a stipend from the LMDC and be guided by new, flexible program alternatives developed in conjunction with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Since the six initial plans were released in July, the LMDC and Port Authority have received 5,000 suggestions via email through the RenewNYC.com Web site, comments from more than 5,000 participants at the Listening To The City town hall forums, comments from thousands of visitors to the exhibit of the plans at Federal Hall and additional input from LMDC's eight Advisory Councils.

The following ideas will be incorporated into new program alternatives, which will be finalized upon selection of the five teams in September:

  • Distinctive Skyline
    New York City lost a critical part of its identity when the World Trade Center towers were destroyed. A tall symbol or structure that would be recognized around the world is crucial to restoring the spirit of the city.
  • Preference for Recognition of the Tower Footprints
    Based on public input, there is a preference for preserving the footprints of the Twin Towers for memorial space and precluding commercial development on those locations.
  • Commercial and Retail Space
    The Port Authority and LMDC will develop various options for a mixture of commercial and retail space on and/or off the site. These options will establish minimum and maximum square footage for mixed-use development to direct the planners. The ranges of space will be developed prior to the selection of the five teams.
  • Grand Promenade on West Street
    Connect the future World Trade Center memorial with the ferries in Battery Park to Liberty and Ellis Islands. This grand promenade could reinvent West Street as a wide public boulevard and living memorial and might include depressing some or all of West Street south of Vesey Street.
  • New Street Grid
    Partially restore the street grid within the former World Trade Center site, which integrates walking and/or driving routes on and to the site.
  • Central Transit Center
    Create an integrated transit center serving Lower Manhattan for PATH and subway passengers. A grand and visible station is needed to orient travelers and provide a spectacular point of arrival for commuters, tourists, and residents.
  • Residential Housing
    There is significant demand for residential housing in Lower Manhattan. Planners will explore the possibility of residential housing on and off the site.
  • Cultural Elements
    Utilize the unique opportunity for building major cultural institutions or a complex. Sites for a museum, performing arts center, or other spaces should be part of the plan.
  • Sequence of Public Open Spaces of Different Sizes
    In addition to the main memorial space, plans should include public open spaces, eg. parks and plazas, of different sizes and configurations.

The LMDC will release a Request for Qualifications on Monday, Aug. 19, which will be available on LMDC's Web site at www.RenewNYC.com. The study is open to licensed architects and professional planners and landscape architects. Selection criteria includes quality of work product in past projects; innovative and outstanding work that demonstrates unique qualifications; and additional criteria to be developed in conjunction with New York New Visions. The LMDC will work with New York New Visions to appoint a team of outside advisors who will narrow the field of potentially thousands of respondents to between 10 and 20. An LMDC committee will then make the final selection of teams.

The deadline for responses to the RFQ is Sept. 16. Up to five teams will be selected on Sept. 30. The design study concludes in mid-November and by the end of November, all teams must submit final content and presentation materials, including hard-line drawings, free-hand sketches, renderings, computer generated images, and site models. Concurrent with the intensive RFQ design process, LMDC/Port Authority planning staff and consultants, including Beyer Blinder Belle and Peterson Littenberg, will continue to explore varied approaches to the World Trade Center site based on the new program alternatives. All work will be ready for public review by the end of the calendar year, completing the second phase in the three-phase planning process.

The LMDC has partnered with New York New Visions in recognition of the organization's commitment to excellence, as stated in New York New Visions' Principles for the Rebuilding of Lower Manhattan: "New York City should aspire to the highest possible quality of urban planning, architectural and environmental design in rebuilding Lower Manhattan. An architecture that is compelling, meaningful over the long term and culturally ambitious not only respects the past, but also takes great risks to create the future."