Image source: Getty Images
2,752 people were killed when The World Trade Center towers in New York were destroyed a decade ago on September 11. Today, a new building design created by Dutch architectural firm MVRDV is angering people who claim that the structure evokes the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. As a result, the design of twin skyscrapers planned for Seoul may be modified in the wake of criticism that a cloud-shaped bridge joining the buildings resembles the explosions which destroyed the twin towers of theWorld Trade Center.
The Dutch architectural firm, which drew the plans for the towers joined at the 27th floor by a billowing cloud-shaped bridge, apologized for any affront caused by the resemblance to the fireball that that destroyed the twin towers in the September 11th attacks when Jan Knikker, a spokesman for the Rotterdam-based firm, announced that the building designs had been widely published in Asia and Europe without anyone noticing a resemblance. “Once the plan was published in the U.S., the controversy started,” he stated in an e-mail.
MVRDV has been designing numerous international projects around the world. Among its projects are Cleveland Institute of Art, Oslo Opera, Madris Urban Games, New Orleans Lower 9th Concept Bent, Signapore Westwood and Long Tan Park Liughau.
According to the firm’s website the design represents a cloud wrapping around the center of the skyscrapers. The bridge, connecting the 57 and 60 stories high towers would house a conference centre, restaurants, swimming pools and a lounge.
Seo Hee Seok, a spokesman at Yongsan Development Co., which is the developer of the project in the centre of Seoul between the financial district and the Han River, stated by telephone that nothing was finalized about the design. According to him, the buildings are part of the 67 high-rise buildings planned for the Yongsan business district.
The development is near the Yongsan U.S. Army Garrison, the headquarters of American forces in South Korea. The U.S. has maintained a military presence in South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953. It’s moving to a supporting role in Yongsan with the U.S. base there scheduled to return to South Korean control by 2016, according to the State Department’s website.
A professor at Yonsei University’s department of architectural engineering in Seoul, Lee Sang Yun, acknowledges that continuing with the current design after getting negative attention in the mass media, may be difficult for the developer.
MVRDV, which also designed the Dutch pavilion for Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany, described the concept of Seoul towers as a “reinvention of the skyscraper.” in a statement posted on its website, announced that the firm deeply regrets any connotations the Cloud Project elicits regarding 9/11 tragedy.
Hundreds of outraged people took to the company’s Facebook page, to protest. Lance Henley, one of the angry protestors wrote, “It looks like the WTC exploding on impact, how could anyone be such a moron…if it goes up it’ll come down just as fast.”
Others, like Ricky Arellano who said: “Everyone should remember that the World doesn’t revolve around the US or 9/11. They have their own things going on to think about and worry about to honestly remember what the buildings looked like coming down and all that. Stop acting like the world revolves around the US”, suggested that the comparison was too far-fetched.
John Fealis, a first responder who lost part of his foot after being injured at ground zero, told CBS News station WCBS -TV in New York, "To many, the wound hasn't closed, so when you see pictures like that it keeps that wound open."
According to Washington Post art and architecture critic Phil Kennicott, however; the controversy appears to be an effort "to use the meaning of the terrorist attack for larger, more overbearing cultural control."
Furthermore, Kennicott writes: "Even if the Dutch design firm, MVRDV intended a reference to 9/11, there's no reason that reference should be read as mocking or ironic. It might easily be seen as an effort to freeze frame a traumatic event, in architectural form, and neutralize its shock and pain."
The Cloud was apparently inspired by a drawing of two towers with a cloud covering the centre of the skyscraper.
The inspiration for and design of
The Cloud by MVRVD architects.
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