The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation today announced the selection of Gehry Partners LLP and Snøhetta as architects for the cultural complex on the World Trade Center site. The firms will immediately begin the schematic design process with the cultural institutions and the LMDC on the two buildings that will include dance, theatre, museum, and fine arts facilities. Schematic design is expected to be complete in early 2005.
Governor George E. Pataki said, "Building a cultural center in the heart of Lower Manhattan is a key part of rebuilding downtown and a fitting tribute to all the heroes we lost. These dynamic architects will design fitting homes for the world class cultural institutions which will be located at the World Trade Center site. I look forward to the unveiling of designs for buildings that will house a vibrant mixture of dance, theatre, and fine arts. This cultural complex will be sure to draw millions of New Yorkers and visitors from around the world."
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, "The selection of these architects marks another important milestone in the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan. Through sensitive, visionary architecture that is respectful of the World Trade Center site, these buildings will assist the Drawing Center, the International Freedom Center, the Joyce International Dance Center, and the Signature Theatre in revitalizing our City. Lower Manhattan will epitomize the best of New York -- a neighborhood of people, commerce and culture with public spaces that engage all New Yorkers. I want to thank all those who participated in this extensive and thoughtful selection process, and commend the architectural community whose keen interest demonstrates their commitment to the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan."
Linda Shelton, Executive Director of The Joyce Theater Foundation, Inc. said, "Selecting the architect was a privilege and a tremendous responsibility. With so many exemplary architects to choose from, making the final selection was extremely difficult. We are thrilled to be working with Frank Gehry, one of the most renowned architects in the world. His sensitivity to the site will ensure that the building is a beautiful symbol of the importance and the healing power of the arts. The Joyce International Dance Center will be Mr. Gehry's first theater devoted to dance. With his extraordinary vision, the new performing arts center will soar like the dancers that will appear on our stage."
James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director of the Signature Theatre Company said, "This process has been a real privilege for all of us. We have had the extraordinary opportunity to meet and interview architects among the best in the world. Frank Gehry is a maverick in the field and will undoubtedly design a world class performing arts center that will celebrate life through the arts on what is surely the most important and significant urban site in America. We believe Frank will create a magnificent experience that will serve our unique mission and community. We are simply thrilled.”
Catherine de Zegher, Director of The Drawing Center, and George Negroponte, President of The Drawing Center said, “The Drawing Center is thrilled by the selection of Snøhetta as the architect for the Museum Complex at the World Trade Center site. The World Trade Center site calls out for architecture that embodies insightfulness, inclusiveness, and sensitivity—characteristics for which Snøhetta is renowned. The stunningly beautiful architecture of this young Norwegian firm will have a natural fluency with the memorial and the surrounding buildings.”
Tom A. Bernstein, Chairman and Co-founder of the International Freedom Center said, “We at the International Freedom Center are delighted with the selection of Snøhetta as the architects for the Museum Complex at the World Trade Center site. We embrace Snøhetta’s originality and international spirit, as well as their appreciation for the link between the ambition of the Museum Complex and the integrity of the World Trade Center Memorial.”
LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead said, “It is very exciting to see such important institutions begin to take shape on the World Trade Center site by putting their new homes in the hands of such outstanding, talented architects. We look forward to watching the dreams of the designs evolve and become reality in the near future so that visitors to the Cultural Center can share the inspiration for remembrance and renewal that these buildings are sure to create.”
LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe said, “We received over 60 proposals from firms around the world and were gratified by the outpouring of interest in designing these important buildings. Frank Gehry and Snøhetta are both visionaries, capable of giving full form and expression to our hopes and plans for this special site. Their selection will help to fulfill the master plan, complementing the diverse architecture on the site. Both of these firms were selected for their design excellence and bring with them a wealth of experience and creativity. We look forward to seeing and sharing the schematic designs for the buildings early next year.”
Gehry Partners LLP has extensive experience in the design and construction of theater, performance, museum, academic, institutional, and commercial properties. Frank Gehry has built a career that has spanned four decades and produced public and private buildings in America, Europe, and Asia. He is the recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Gehry Partners has worked successfully on the design and construction of a number of facilities for performing arts and fine arts institutions including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Richard B. Fisher Center for Performing Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago, the Ray & Maria Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain.
Frank Gehry, Architect, said, "When I was interviewed for the Signature Theatre and the Joyce Theater, I was taken to the window to look at the site from above and tears came to my eyes. I couldn't control it. There's a lot of emotion there, even for people who aren't personally involved, and I guess we sensed the heaviness, we sensed the difficulties of building something in that context. Having the chance to work on a cultural project there is a very special opportunity for me, because, in the end, having theater and dance and beauty is kind of a wonderful legacy for the memory of the people that were lost."
Founded in 1989, Snøhetta is an international architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design company based in Oslo, Norway and has worked internationally during this period. It is most well-known for its completion of the Alexandria Library in Egypt and the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin, and the soon to be completed New National Opera in Oslo and the Turner Contemporary Museum in England. Craig Dykers and Kjetil Thorsen are the founding partners of Snøhetta. Since its formation Snøhetta has won numerous international awards and has been represented in exhibitions around the world. Many have characterized their work as having a presence that resonates with the surrounding context.
Craig Dykers and Kjetil Thorsen, founding partners of Snøhetta said “This important place carries with it the power of its history and a new hope for the future. Now it can also offer the gift of life through culture and interaction. It is a place that must convey the memories and dreams of all those around the world that are affected by its presence without forgetting its intimate connection with the people of New York and the surrounding city. We at Snøhetta look forward to the challenge of creating a natural, unimposing yet memorable building that will complement the essential integrity of this sublime ground.”
On August 2, the LMDC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Architectural Services for the Performing Arts Complex and the Museum Complex. Firms were asked to propose specifically for the Museum Complex or the Performing Arts Complex, and a total of 68 proposals were received. An equal number were received for each complex. Two evaluation panels, one for each complex, reviewed the proposals and selected a short list of architects to interview. The short list for both complexes was announced by LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe at an American Institute of Architects (AIA) luncheon on September 17, 2004.
The Panel for the Museum complex contained representatives from the International Freedom Center, the Drawing Center, LMDC staff, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYS State Council on the Arts, Charles Shorter, Trustee of the Studio Museum in Harlem and Agnes Gund, Philanthropist and President Emerita of The Museum of Modern Art. The panel selected six architectural firms to move on to the second phase of the process to design the Museum Complex:(1) Moshe Safdie and Associates, (2) Pei Cobb Fried and Partners, (3)Polshek Partnership, (4)Robbrecht en Daem architects with Pasanella and Klein, Stolzman and Berg Architects (5)Shigeru Ban Architect + Frei Otto with Dean Maltz Architect, and (6) Snøhetta .
The Joyce International Center for Dance and the Signature Theatre along with LMDC staff and Alexander Cooper, Architect, Cooper Robertson & Partners and Joseph Melillo, Executive Producer, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and representatives from New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs selected ten firms to be short-listed to design the new Performing Arts Complex on the World Trade Center site: (1)Bing Thom Architects with Meyer/Gifford/Jones architects, (2)Gehry Partners, LLP, (3)Moshe Safdie and Associates (4) A joint venture of Rem Koolhaus’ OMA and LMN (5)Polshek Partnership Architects, (6)Rafael Vinoly Architects, (7)Schmidt, Hammer & Lassen, (8)Studio Daniel Libeskind, (9)Ten Arquitectos and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, and (10)Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.
In the second phase of the selection process, each of the short-listed firms were interviewed and many examples of short-listed firms’ work were visited. The final selection of the architects was made by the cultural institutions. Upon LMDC Board approval of the selection, both firms will immediately begin work on schematic designs which will be revealed in early 2005.
About the Cultural Institutions and Proposed Facilities
In June of this year, Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg joined with the LMDC to announce the selection of a vibrant mix of institutions to be located on the World Trade Center site. The Drawing Center, the International Freedom Center, Joyce International Dance Center, and the Signature Theatre have all been offered space on the site. In addition to their own programming, the institutions will host other events and organizations such as the Tribeca Film Festival and the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble. Performance spaces, screening rooms, galleries, education programs, and rehearsal spaces will also be made available for community and cultural uses.
The Drawing Center: The Drawing Center, currently situated in Lower Manhattan's SoHo, is the only fine arts institution in the country to focus solely on the exhibition of drawings. It was established 27 years ago to demonstrate the significance and diversity of drawings throughout history, to provide opportunities for emerging and under-recognized artists, and to stimulate public dialogue on issues of art and culture. The Drawing Center offers exhibition programs, scholarly publications, public forums, and artists' services. It has longstanding relationships with such established museums as MoMA, The Met, The Whitney, Tate, and The Pompidou Center, and will continue to partner with these and other internationally renowned institutions. A new initiative that has been developed for the World Trade Center site is to present major works by historical figures alongside drawings, illuminating the dynamics of the creative process. Past exhibitions have presented drawings by acknowledged masters like Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso, and James Ensor, major contemporary artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Ellsworth Kelly, and local and international emerging artists. The Drawing Center offers daytime and nighttime public events, including artist talks, panel discussions, and schools and internship.
The International Freedom Center: In the tradition of institutions like the United States Holocaust Museum and the National Constitution Center, the Freedom Center will be an educational resource for the city, the country and the world. The Freedom Center is a new organization created expressly for the World Trade Center site that will include exhibitions centered on humankind's enduring quest for freedom. Over the past two years, the Freedom Center has reached out to an extraordinary roster of scholars, educators, museum directors, and cultural leaders who provided their input and expertise. Exhibitions, lectures, films and other programs will be developed in partnership with leading arts, cultural, media and academic institutions such as the Aspen Institute, NYU, WNYC Radio, and New Visions for Public Schools. The facility will include exhibit space, a multi-purpose presentation space, and classrooms.
The Joyce International Dance Center: The Joyce Theater Foundation, Inc. project will include a 900-1000 seat proscenium theater where it will present one- or two-week engagements by approximately 30 different dance companies from around the world each year. In addition to performances, The Joyce project will provide education programs for school groups, community workshops, open rehearsals, lecture/demonstrations, and other public programs. The Joyce will maintain its 472-seat theater in Chelsea and the 74 seat theater in SoHo. The Joyce Theater Foundation is an established presenter of international dance companies, having brought over 60 companies from 21 countries to the New York stage. Companies range from classical ballet to hip, hop, and have included Irish step dance, jazz, tap, ethnic folk and experimental contemporary dance. The Joyce also serves as an arts incubator, offering hundreds of artists a year access to its space for subsidized rehearsals and performance and providing technical, administrative, and financial support for dance companies.
Signature Theatre Center: The Signature Theatre Company is the only theatre in the world dedicated to producing season-long explorations of the work of a single Playwright-in-Residence. Signature's new home at the World Trade Center site will be a three-theatre complex that will include a 499 seat theatre, a 299 seat theatre, and a flexible 99 to 199 seat theatre. These theatres will house three distinctive yet complimentary programs that will offer year-round programming showcasing the world's finest dramatists. The Master Playwrights Program will continue Signature's traditional residency program, where an established playwright is invited to join the company and collaboratively produce a full season of their work. An Emerging Playwrights Program will bring early to mid-career writers to Signature for a three-year rotating residency and will produce one premiere play from each of the three participants annually. Additionally, a World Premiere Program will allow Signature and its audience to maintain constant contact with alumni of both residency programs by producing three to four premiere plays from former Playwrights-in-Residence each season. The facility's public space will also offer a forum for lunchtime and evening activities such as staged readings, lectures, and other activities that provide insight into the theatre's work and which incorporate the Lower Manhattan community into the daily life of the center.
For more information on the cultural facilities and the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan, visit www.renewnyc.com. For more information on Snøhetta, visit www.snoarc.no.