Context and Program for the Architectural Competition
on Restoration of the World Trade Center Site
October 16-24, 2002
Released December 17,2002
Revised August 18,2003
The World Trade Center Restoration Movement(WTCRM) has established this
competition in the furtherance of its goal of ensuring that the World
Trade Center site is restored to its former glory in every respect,
as the only fitting means of honoring those who were slaughtered on
September 11th 2001 and showing the world that their killers did not
The integrated presence of towers not one inch shorter than the old
and spaces and structures dedicated to the commemoration of the dead
will stand as a triumphant representation of the resolve of the people
of our time and place to both remember the fallen and carry on in their
The WTCRM does not and will not control the site or the development
process...success in this competition does not translate into a contract,
or being on a short list for a contract,to turn the successful design
into reality.But the WTCRM and its allies pledge their dedication to
giving the widest possible publicity to the chosen designs,submitting
them to the most credible public poll possible in competition with the
leading designs offered by the official planning process,
in order to make clear the strong public preference for designs that
meet our program requirements in preference to ones that meet theirs.
It is hoped that this will cause a redirection of the official planning
process in the directions preferred by the WTCRM,and designers will be
free to seek the business in response to this redirection.The WTCRM
claims no intellectual property rights in submitted designs,which the
jury will judge strictly as submitted,apart from the right to exhibit
the selected designs and keep them in the poll for as long as it is
Context and General Concepts
Your design for the restoration of the World Trade Center site will
create a defining icon for the New York of the 21st century and beyond.
A keystone of the nation's oldest central business district that will
be instantly famous,the towers visible for many miles and welcoming
both multitudes of workers and countless visitors from around the
Your design for the site must both show that the horrific events of
September 11th 2001 and those who died will never be forgotten,
and that the authors of that carnage will not have paralyzed New
York or America into not daring to move beyond that terrible day.
The integrated presence of tall towers of breathtaking scale and
indoor and outdoor commemoration of those killed in the terror attacks
will create a cohesive site that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Both a destination for all the world to visit and a neighbor to the
Lower Manhattan of the future that can be experienced on numerous
levels.The various approaches to the site must all be considered
in all their contexts.
The restoration of the World Trade Center will have an impact far
beyond the site.Beyond the priceless symbolism of the towers having
risen again at least as high as before,it will be a center for the work
and lives of many people in Manhattan and an occasional destination for
many others.It will be the site of central transportation infrastructure
for the area.It will hold public spaces dedicated to many different
uses.It must welcome its visitors for whatever purpose they visit.
While respecting the history of this site,with its heritage of
being twice home to complexes constructed as the largest office
high-rises in the world,the Hudson Terminal Buildings and the
World Trade Center,it must update this vision to be a vital and
pivotal part of the Manhattan of the new millennium.
GENERAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
Cohesive Vision of the Site
The boundaries of the World Trade Center site are Vesey,Liberty,Church,
and West Streets.Your design should preserve the clear identity of the
site within these boundaries whatever divisions of it into different
uses may be made.The structures you design should relate to each other
as parts of a whole.
The signature structures of your design must be tower buildings that
have an occupied human space limit of at least 1355 feet,
and a roofline of at least 1368 feet, above the main entrance ground level.
On a tower building should be an antenna at least 1728 feet above that level.
The site plan should include a memorial to those killed on September
11th 2001 that relates appropriately to the historical and urban context
created by the site plan as a whole.Both indoor and outdoor components
should be included.
Civic and Public Spaces
Part of the restoration of the World Trade Center includes replacement
of one of the largest open spaces in Lower Manhattan,Tobin Plaza.
Attractive design of open spaces geared to a variety of uses is necessary,
and intelligent consideration of how such spaces affect their immediate
neighbors is important.
Avoidance of Clutter
A great source of complaint regarding earlier concept plans was the
appearance of clutter,too many buildings and too many streets leaving
the site unattractively crowded.Verticality and spacing of structures
Potential for Phased Construction
It is impossible to be certain of the schedule under which the
World Trade Center will be rebuilt.While the Hudson Terminal
Buildings were opened on the same day in 1908,the Twin Towers
opened a year apart,and new towers might be staggered over a
longer period.A memorial may likewise not all be built at once.
Site proposals should allow for phased construction and
identify practical and economical phases that can stand
The safety and security of the structures on the site must be
as breathtaking as the scale of the towers without being oppressive
or obtrusive.Exterior and interior design must give the assurance,
and not only outward appearance,of strength and safety,blending
the state of the art in various technologies to create a highly
Your design must integrate effectively and productively with
transportation improvements beneath and adjacent to the site,
and include attractive facilities for all relevant forms of
Flexible Access for All
There will be those who come to the site just to visit the memorial.
There will be those who come to the site just to visit the Towers.
There will be those who come to the site just to go to work.
There will be those who come to the site just to go shopping.
There will be those who come to the site on their way from one other
place to another.
And there will be those who come to the site for yet other reasons,
or a combination of these reasons.
Access to the site for each of these purposes must be provided in
ways that do not bring them into conflict,and must in all cases
include access for the disabled.
SPECIFIC PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
The tower buildings are the centerpiece of the site development.
They create the necessary context for the memorial to be more than
a trophy of the triumph of the murderers and testament to the permanence
of their victory.
They will be the crowning point of the world's most famous skyline.
And they will be the most desirable address in the capital of world
The rebuttable presumption is that there should be two of them
and that they should be substantially identical to each other.
Both the Hudson Terminal Buildings and the World Trade Center
Towers were built as twins.
Likewise,it is anticipated that these towers will be predominantly
used for office space,as were their predecessors.Any other use
should be secondary and not designed for at the expense of the
structure being useful for office space,aside from specific areas
deriving suitability for different use from their particular
Should your design depart from these presumptions,it must still
provide the minimum required office space and avoid any appearance
of crowdedness on the site as a whole.
The new towers must be a showcase for the state of the art in
safety engineering and present both the appearance and reality
of remarkable structural strength.The design should contain
details of construction specifications ensuring that the safety
margins required by relevant building codes will be exceeded.
Placement and size of elevators,stairs,and safety features must
be noted,and relevant technologies harnessed to make the use
of space for these highly efficient and effective.
Other engineering aspects of the structures should be no less
advanced in providing the most desirable environment possible.
On the highest occupied floors of the tower buildings should be
areas accessible for observation purposes...whether specifically
dedicated to this or used as restaurants or other places whose
appeal would be based on their position atop the skyline.
Access directly to these areas from the ground level should
be convenient,effective,and attractive.Floors at these levels
should be of sufficient size to meet the demand for such areas.
There should be remembrance of those who died in the terror attacks
of September 11th 2001 reflected in the new towers independent of
the dedicated memorial structures.Certain sections of the towers
may be set aside for memorial purposes.
Your design will be specifically judged against the original
World Trade Center design of Minoru Yamasaki in terms of functionality
and aesthetics,as well as other published designs that meet the
criteria of this competition but may not have been submitted as
contestants.You should endeavor to ensure that it will impress
partisans of other designs sufficiently to make sure that they
will nonetheless regard it as superior.
The memorial to the victims of the terror attacks of September 11th 2001
will be very important to many people.It should have a presence of its
own independent of the tower buildings and yet should be enriched by
their presence creating a triumphant historical context.
It may include indoor and outdoor portions,gardens,fountains,monuments,
museums,and other components,which need not all be constructed as part
of the same phase but should all be provided for in the plan.
A very contentious issue affecting the memorial is the desire by some
that the entirety of the footprints of both of the old Twin Towers be
included within the memorial area,while others consider the former
footprints to be the most economical site for new towers.Still others
are concerned only that there be some overlap as a symbolic refusal
to surrender.Your plan may make any decision in this matter but needs to
deal with the issues respectfully.
Space allocated for the memorial may be in any configuration but
the differing needs of those coming to the site for different
reasons need to be considered in order to preserve the desired
experience for each.Some memorial areas may be multi-purpose in
terms of cultural applications.Access between all areas of the site
needs to be convenient without obscuring the purposes of various
Mass Transit Improvements
In the old Hudson Terminal area along Church Street is to be a
major intermodal transit station.This will be a central connection
point for numerous transit lines and in conjunction with the
Broadway & Fulton Street station to which it will have underground
connections will be the main transportation center for Lower Manhattan.
It should have an according architectural presence,and be the home
of substantial retail space and other amenities.Its approaches from
all sides should be considered and designed for.
The site is approached by five streets that formerly ran through it:
Washington Street and Greenwich Street from the north and south,
and Fulton,Dey,and Cortlandt Streets (north to south) from the east.
The approach from each of these should be considered,and you may
choose,subject to the other program requirements,to extend any of
them into or through the site,whether for use by vehicles or pedestrians,
or as streetcar tracks.In the last instance you should indicate a
productive route through Lower Manhattan for the proposed line,
with transfers to other transit lines.(Familiarize yourself with
the "Liberty Loop" proposal for a line using Liberty and Fulton
Streets and connecting at the waterfronts,for example).
On the west side of the site is West Street,and the ability to
cross it is a matter of wide concern,as is avoiding prolonged and
invasive construction.Pedestrian and streetcar crossings should
be considered,but highway design is beyond the scope of this
The site design should contain open space for a variety of uses
beyond the commercial and memorial elements.These should be integrated
into the means of access to them both from surrounding areas and other
parts of the site,while not obstructing access through the site.
Public spaces not on the 16-acre site are not within the scope of
this competition.Space on the site should be of at a minimum equal
size and utility to the former Tobin Plaza.
Buildings for public use for educational,entertainment,or other
purposes are an option provided other program requirements are met.
Certain such functions may also be incorporated within the tower
SPACE USAGE PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
Commercial Office Space
A minimum of 9.5 million square feet of office space is required.
This may be entirely in tower buildings,or in additional buildings
provided that the tower buildings reach the required height.
While there is no explicit maximum,expansion must not be allowed
to cause crowdedness on the site.
A minimum of 600,000 square feet of retail space is required.
This may be provided in connection with the tower buildings,
transportation center,or hotel structures,underground,or
in dedicated structures,but not impinging on the memorial areas.
It may face inward or outward on the site,and shall be divided
into units of various sizes.The design should take note of the
anticipated traffic patterns on and through the site for the
greatest convenience of potential customers.
Hotel/Conference Center/Residential Development
There is a need for at least 600,000 square feet of
hotel/conference center space on the site.
This may be constructed as a free-standing building,
rise above the transportation center,or be incorporated
within one of the tower buildings;some conference space
may be underground.It should not impinge on the memorial areas.
Again,while there is no explicit maximum size,expansion must
not be allowed to cause crowdedness on the site.
No structures dedicated to residential use should be constructed
on the site;it is owned by the Port Authority,whose charter
prohibits it from owning residential properties.
Some allowance may be made for the hotel to have long-term residents.
The incorporation of residential space in one tower building may be
proposed,subject to all other program requirements being met and
the present legal impediments being acknowledged.
SUBMISSION TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS
Submissions should include site maps of the sixteen acres,
views of designs from multiple angles,representative floor plans
of the tower buildings and any other structures of significant size,
sections,and elevations,and detailed descriptions of the entire
submission's contents.Construction materials and protocols should
be indicated for all buildings.Physical models are not required;
the announcement of the successful designs will exhibit renderings,
which will likewise be the focus of the web-based poll.