Building again on a burial ground |

Building again on a burial ground

Daily Staff Writer
Special to the Daily Architect Daniel Libeskind, center, presents his winning design for hte redevelopment of the World Trade Center site to Mayor Bloomberg.

How do you balance commercial needs with private ones?

Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards, part-time Vail resident and art history professor at Sarah Lawrence College, has made it her business to find out. At the behest of the Vail Symposium, she’s presenting a slide show and lecture about titled “Rebuilding the World Trade Center” today at the Cordillera Valley Club in Edwards at 5:30 p.m.

“She’ll be talking in terms of the memorial part and the commercial part,” explained Ebby Pinson, president of the symposium.

“The theme of the talk will focus on how to create the buildings at Ground Zero, plus deal with the commercial needs of Lower Manhattan,” explained Edwards. “It’s interesting to see how these commercial spaces can work with those who want to make sure that their dead are memorialized.”

Daniel Libeskind was awarded the design commission of the 16-acre site, but in the past few months there have been some fairly significant changes to the plans, said Edwards. According to the official Lower Manhattan Web site, Libeskind’s initial design left portions of the slurry wall exposed as a symbol of the strength and endurance of American democracy.

“In the last few months, other architects have come on board,” said Edwards. “The first new building, the Freedom Tower, looks different than originally planned. There are five buildings plus the tower – this is an enormous undertaking.”

And it’s not without its cost. She estimates the project will take roughly 10 years to complete and a hefty $12 to $15 billion dollars. The Freedom Tower alone will weigh in at $1 billion.

“Hopefully it will be the tallest building in the world, at least for a while,” she said.

The memorial designer, Michael Arad, was chosen by a jury. He’s titled it “Reflecting Absence.”

“The primary challenge here is for the design of the memorial park,” she said. “Don’t forget, this is a burial ground. There are still remains, unclaimed remains, which will be re-buried on the site.”

In addition to presenting illustrations of the original design plus the new one, Edwards will offer some history of both skyscrapers and memorials. An art historian, she earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She’s been coming to Vail to ski since the ’60s.

There is still space available for “Rebuilding the World Trade Center.” Tickets are available via phone at 476-0954 or at the door. For more information, visit

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