SIXTEEN ACRES: The Outrageous Struggle for the Future of Ground Zero

Philip Nobel, Author . Holt/Metropolitan $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8050-7494-9

Almost from the moment the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11, Americans, and especially New Yorkers, began to dream of how the site would be rebuilt. As Nobel relates, one recovery worker imagined a series of five buildings arrayed like a hand giving terrorists the finger. More established architects toned down the anger, but it was a given that their plans for a new World Trade Center would contain a message about the old. Nobel, an architectural columnist for Metropolis , guides readers through early redevelopment plans and the design competition that made Daniel Libeskind famous even among people who know nothing of architecture. Nobel also examines the bitter infighting that followed the selection of his proposal. On its own terms, this is a dramatic and compelling story, and Nobel's insights into the competitive nature of top-level architecture are particularly valuable. But his passionate opinions about the deficiencies of most modern architects (no longer able to "make buildings speak... to create symbols for a culture with no common code") can be distracting. A more serious flaw, however, is the lack of illustrations, of Libeskind's design and those of the other finalists. Nobel's prose, even at its most descriptive, can go only so far toward shaping readers' vision of the proposed buildings. 2 maps not seen by PW. Agent, Bill Clegg. (Jan. 4)

Reviewed on: 12/06/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 350 pages - 978-1-86207-713-3
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-8050-8002-5
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4668-2761-5
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