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Architect revises trade center plans

/ Source: The Associated Press

Architect Daniel Libeskind presented a revised plan Wednesday for the World Trade Center site that limits development on the footprints of the twin towers, a demand of victims’ families.

OTHER CHANGES in the plan refine his original vision, Libeskind said. He denied reports that he had been forced to water down the blueprint to make it more commercially viable, saying the changes “improve the scheme.”

“The buildings have become delicate. They’ve become more slender. Their views are better,” Libeskind said Wednesday.

The plans are not the final word on what will be built on the 16-acre site. Trade center leaseholder Larry Silverstein is hiring other architects to design individual buildings — including the plan’s most prominent feature, the 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower.

The new plan still includes five office buildings, but it places one just south of the trade center site, where the damaged Deutsche Bank tower now stands.

It also limits development on the footprints of the twin towers, except commuter train tracks. A coalition of victims’ relatives had campaigned to preserve the footprints, which they consider sacred ground.

Earlier designs did not protect those areas below ground level.

Families said Wednesday the plan was an improvement, but they hesitated to call it a victory.

“It’s not everything we wanted, but they have addressed some of our concerns,” said Jack Lynch, the father of a fallen firefighter.

Lynch said some relatives object to the addition of a sixth train track, to run over the south tower footprint. The families did not oppose the first five tracks because the first trade center had them.

Libeskind presented the plan with officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency overseeing the redevelopment.

The plan’s signature elements include a sunken memorial and a Wedge of Light Plaza designed to be free of shadows every Sept. 11 between the times when the first plane struck and when the second tower fell.

Libeskind was asked whether he was confident that the Freedom Tower, whose curving form echoes the Statue of Liberty across the harbor, will end up looking the way he envisioned it.

“Well, I’m an optimist,” he said, noting that he met recently with Silverstein.

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