Image: Proposed Freedom Tower
AP File
The Freedom Tower, depicted in this handout image, is to be the first building constructed on the 16-acre World Trade Center site since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
updated 11/9/2004 12:48:04 AM ET 2004-11-09T05:48:04

A former architectural student sued the designers of the World Trade Center site’s planned Freedom Tower on Monday, saying designs for the skyscraper mirror those he created at Yale University.

Thomas Shine, of Brookline, Mass., is seeking unspecified damages in federal court in Manhattan for what he said was the theft of his designs.

Named as defendants were David Childs and the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. A message left with Childs at the firm was not immediately returned.

The lawsuit alleged that the Freedom Tower was “strikingly similar” to Shine’s designs for a Manhattan building for the proposed 2012 Olympic Games in New York.

It said Childs saw the designs when he served in 1999 on a panel of jurists invited by the Yale School of Architecture to evaluate the students’ work.

The Olympic design featured a twisting tower with a twisting structural grid and a textured facade, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleged that the design for the Freedom Tower shown to the public in December 2003 incorporated an identical structural grid.

The cornerstone was laid on July 4 for the Freedom Tower, which will be the first skyscraper to go up at the 16-acre trade center site.

The tower’s final form is a compromise of designs by Childs and architect Daniel Libeskind, a designer of the master plan for redevelopment of the trade center site.

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