Füsun A.



Montréal, CANADA
January 12
Freelance Writer - jack of all genres;master of none.
warm and genuine
I divorced my full time career of teaching after 25 years, because meanwhile I fell in love with freelance writing. Ever since, I decided to legitimize my ten-year fling which started in the new millennium. Author of: "WILL OF MY OWN - A Memoir" Available at all major book outlets. For a preview please visit: http://www.dictionmatters.com/


DECEMBER 14, 2011 8:38PM

Freeze Framing 9/11

Rate: 39 Flag




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.

image source



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Füsun Atalay ~ Copyright © Will of my Own - 2011

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Even though most of you are writing about Christmas and Santa, I'm sharing this since it is a timely piece. Besides, I grew up in a culture where neither Christmas nor Chanukah was observed. I do wish all a very happy holiday season and the best in 2012.
damn i kinda like it. but my enthusiasm for this artistic dare
is of course hampered by all the pain and death& whatnot.
i saw it. on tv. i was cold and thrill-seeking then.
i am ashamed of that now, but what can u do
about yer emotions?

anyway, u quote the crux of the problem,
"“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.”

emotional reactions to circumstances are never usually
artistic except in a negative way. i suppose artists
enjoy this. to shake us up.
well i shooken to the core

this seems outrageous to my logical brain.
but to my viscera, it somehow is ok...

i am sure i am wrong.

i am a terrible art critic.
If it were not for the memory that this project evokes, the buildings would be very pretty.
It is easy for someone like me who lost no one in the attack say that it is time to let the wound heal. For the tens of thousands who did, there will always be pain.
Happy Holidays to you, as well, Fusun.
I'm still thinking about the grape cake.
I like the design of this. Whether someone thinks it is a 9/11 piece or not, the idea is somewhat beautiful. I like the idea of the clouds. The pieces joined together look good in the close up rendering too. I think it is interesting. Maybe if they had two layers of it, people would not thing of 9/11 or if there was a third building or something.
Fascinating but grim architecture for me. Not the best reminder to New Yorkers who would see it on a daily basis. Not working for me.

Fascinating just the same. You always provoke thought and present such timely and universally relatable subjects.

Might I be so bold as to ask you for a holiday recipe of sorts? Nothing too difficult and something to please a crowd, adults and kids alike! Not a tall order from me! Will have 10 at the cabin for 5-7 days and need new ideas to keep them satisfied.
This is indeed a horrid looking building (s). But many new projects are viewed as such. I think the Eiffel Tower was a good example of this. In any event it does evoke images of the Twin Towers and although the planned buildings are not in the US, it does raise some thoughts about sensitivity. I rate it L for Lego.
Yes, I read about it, and I do not understand the grievance. I respect what Kennicott said; the opposite argument is lame to say the least. R
I see it as just a cloud. The connection to 9/11 seems less important than the organic shapes over the lone tall rectangles. I wonder what it would be like to live there. Thanks for this interesting post.
Thanks for putting this out there without judgement.
I can see both points of view. The one thing that struck me is that the platform parks seem to have nothing preventing someone from plunging off into the street below.
rated with love and hopes that we hear from you again before the year is over.
I find it unfathomable that the architects claim not to have noticed any resemblance. In fact, I call bullsh*t. There was some agenda behind that design. I don't know what, but I find it very disturbing for all kinds of reasons. Not your typical post, Fusun...but good to see that lovely poppy avatar!
JR~ I understand and appreciate your sentiments.

Emmerling~ You too get it in your understanding that "emotional reactions to circumstances are never usually artistic" yet we do respond emotionally to art, whether is good or bad.

Rodney~ When I heard this I thought it was a poor joke, but I'm not sure anymore. I think it's a valid question that merits serious and intelligent discussion. Try the grape cake, you won't regret it. :o)

Sheila~ The Habitat in Montreal somewhat resembles the middle section of this design in its jutting out parts. I wonder how it will do structurally where there's no support.

Toritto~ My Father always said one cannot argue colors and tastes. I go by his words.

Cathy ~ I am ambivalent about the structure myself but I find the topic interesting. See your pm for your request.

Ande ~ Lego describes it rather well as far as style goes.

Thoth ~ Yup. Thanks for your comment.

Zanelle ~ I understand how you must be viewing this through a purely artistic perspective, devoid of any political bearings. And I appreciate it very much. Thank you.

Romantic Poetess ~ Thank you for seeing through the fact that I did put this out without judgment. I'm interested in others's responses and value them all.

Sharon ~ Your views are very welcome, and I also question the pretense of not seeing a connection. Besides, I'm not too fond of the design even if it had no historic implication. It's nice seeing your avatar too.
"""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."""

Ricky Arellano says it all. I agree with him 100%.

There were two separate hits. One on each tower, a fair bit of time apart. Only from one angle was it possible to get that, much photo-shopped, shot that makes the two hits look like one.

You Yanks just gotta get yer heads outta yer ass about 9/11. You cry big crocodile tears about losing less than 3000 people. You've killed a hundred or a thousand times more innocents in your quest for dominance of the whole world and to suck up every dollar in existence. Anyone remember Bhopal? How many innocent people were killed by a company that wouldn't follow safety regulations? How many still live with the aftermath of that "accident?"

Cry me a fvkkin' river.......
Good reporting Fusun. Rated.

I'd heard about this but thanks for posting the pictures. It's not credible that no one in the architectural firm noticed the resemblance. And that's even giving them a very large benefit of the doubt that they didn't knowingly set out to replicate the 9/11 images. Further, they knew or ought to have known that they would be giving offense to a large number of people in pursuing this course. But they sure made a name for themselves, didn't they?
I share Sharon's view. If the architects had said that they were aware of the resemblance but believed in the beauty of their design anyway, I could have respected that, but it's implausible that nobody in the firm noticed the resemblance.

I hadn't been aware of this story, so thanks for bringing it to our attention, Fusun.
Hmmm...interesting. I like the design too. That there was no controversy about the design until it was viewed in the US is what caught my attention...and "everyone should remember the World does not revolve around 9/11". True. Americans do have an unconscious sense of entitlement I think.
It bears an eery similarity, for sure, and while they may not have been aware of it, there is hardly a person among them who doesn't have the image as an icon imprinted on their unconscious mind. Glad they got noticed before they went up, and really, they don't need to change too much. Anytime you pair up "twin towers" they are going to resemble the WTC on some level.
While South Koreans don't need to concern themselves with our "patriotic" concerns, the world of travel (and building highrises) does, in fact, revolve around the events that happened that day. Sadly true, there is not a business traveler or tourist of any nationality who does not feel the real impact of the events of 9/11.
On an architectural note, they are pretty cool looking and I hope they don't lose the garden cloud in the sky theme altogether. Out of the ashes should grow trees, after all.
Actually, it is quite startling this, but in reality through destruction comes recreation according to Hindu beliefs. I rather like the design and think it's time has come. I actually wondered why this idea did not come along sooner. I am so sorry that people have taken this the wrong way and wonder if I am being off the mark here. But when you look at it, you might see this as the future and actually I am quite jealous of it's design.
I like the idea of the cloud more than I like the execution, in this case. I have to admit, those Korean sky scrapers look like sky scrapers with love handles. I can see how the shape makes people think of the explosions on 9/11. I do not want to minimize someone else's grief over a person they lost in the Twin Towers, however I do think that Ricky Arellano has a point about Americans jumping to conclusions that everything is about US.

What worries me rather more about this building is being in "the cloud" if an Earthquake should hit. Korea is very close to Japan that just had a gonzo Earthquake less than a year ago. I wouldn't want to be anywhere NEAR that place during a serious quake, let alone standing IN it.

To slough it off as co-incidence is not being honest. The images of 9/11 are globally recognized. To say it is offensive or a mocking of that event are not exactly honest either. The image presented as the inspiration gives room for doubt about it being intentionally reminiscent but even people who were traumatized by the attack will see its ghost in anything that triggers the memory. That isn't uncommon, I still relive traumatic incidents of the past when certain images appear.
That the world doesn't revolve around the U.S. is a fact. it does seem to get an inordinate amount of attention though. How does the world feel if the U.S. decides that an image of a past horror for other countries becomes an accidental part of some American architect? Will they be outraged?

You do have one holiday at this time of year (please correct me if I'm wrong), Yılbaşı, so have a good one. :)
So many claim to own history. Rated. Excellent reporting here.
As an artist, I like the design quite a bit yet the resemblance to the twin towers is uncanny.
I'm with Kennicott and hope the buildings are seen "....... as an effort to freeze frame a traumatic event, in architectural form, and neutralize its shock and pain." We need to move on which doesn't mean we must forget, simply change our perspective.
Good post, Fusun. I agree with Sharon and Toritto. It's ugly and they knew exactly what they were doing. -R-
Not a fan of the looks or the pretense of unawareness to resemblance of the actual event. As one who lost two loved ones I find the design to be too familiar a reminder. On the other hand, perhaps some will look at the "cloud" formation as resembling a place in the heavens for those they did lose a loved one rather than an explosive reminder.
A gasp OMG moment...seeing this beautiful monterosity.
I found it strange that I was waiting to see what everyone else wrote before I made a comment, maybe so as not to offend anyone, maybe my brain is just tired, but somehow I like the "idea" of what they were doing as it looked rather cool but when you read how it effects others I wonder if they did do it for the name? As I look back it does look like a building is exploding. You have made me very thoughtful this morning...
The capacity of human beings to see things in different ways is amazing to me. My best to you, Fusun as I know you will be and find the light in winter's darkness. I celebrate you.
I second what Shiral said - the inspiration is better than the execution. It certainly is ambitious, though.

But I wasn't aware of this at all, so thanks for your excellent reporting here.
Intentional or unintentional, and ever the heretic, my attitude toward those who see this design and weep and wail is "oh for crying out loud, get a life." And while that might paint a big fat target on my comment (which you may wish to delete) and it's a rare thing for me to publically state, it pretty accurately states my opinion over this latest "bruhaha" over the "sanctified" images people have in their mind of 9/11. Next we'll see accidental "images" of the twin towers wreathed in smoke on a grilled cheese sandwich or potato chip up for sale on e-Bay.
Yes, most interesting. In the first picture I thought it looked like gift-wrap. The concept is highly original and unique. I can understand the shocking resemblance, but it is not disrespectful. He in the US we are so politically correct we can now barely discuss the facts of that day except in brief memorial.
Strikes me as some innocent mistake. I mean it strikes me as clueless s because it does look all wrong. But ... outrage...?
This is a difficult topic, and it is very meaningful that you would explore it. Taste is such a variable thing. I need to think this design over--a lot.
I think it is kind of insensitive.
Seems just about everything has been said on this that can be, and an interesting forum at that! I'll only add a reminder that the buildings would be situated in Seoul -- where citizens may not associate so readily with something that happened in New York.
Sky ~ The rhetoric makes sense; it's the emotions attached to the event, which this piece of architecture sears. Thanks for your visit and comment.

Abrawang ~ I agree with this line of thinking and hope (my optimist nature) that the real purpose behind the design was indeed to build a temple out of the timbers of the sad past.

Cranky/Richard ~ Thank you for your comments.

Mime/Sharon ~ Your observation is insightful and I concur with you. Nice seeing you back.

Oryoki ~ I also hope that out of the ashes should grow trees - hope for the future, peace, and forgiveness.

Algis ~ I prefer seeing this through the Hindu philosphy, like you,eventhough I am not completely enamoured with the design.

Melissa ~ We're on the same wave length.

Bobbot ~ Thank you for your wisdom. And you are so right! I do have "Yılbaşı" - New year's eve to pause and thank for having friends like you. May 2012 bring you better health and your hear's fondest desires

Christine ~ It is indeed. Thank you.

Jon ~ Thanks, friend.

Miguela ~ Art imitates life - may it do so only in good ways!

d. white ~ Thanks for your view. I hope we do as you suggest.

Christine ~ Thank you for expressing your thoughts.

TME ~ Long time, no see. I am with you in your hopeful thoughts. Happy holidays.

Vivian ~ "Gasp!" indeed.

LL2 ~ I hope they designed it not for sensationalism, but with the best of intentions as the firm stated. May your thoughts be good and serene ones.

Mary ~ Thank you so much for gracing my post. I celebrate knowing you and your friendship.

Jeannette ~ That makes at least three of us then. Thank you for stopping by. Best to you!

Walter ~ You are not alone in your reaction and I welcome all thoughts. Thank you for your candidness.

ASH ~ Thank you for your input. I agree that current priority about political correctness, regarding almost anything, has made reluctant free thinkers and articulators of our voices.
Fernsy ~ It's been interesting to read all the comments; but you seem to capture the essence in a fig seed. Thank you.

Esteemed Colleague ~ I agree with your statement that taste is a very individual matter, and this is not an easy topic to respond frivolously. Thank you for offering your wisdom.

AWalrond ~ Thank you for your thoughts.

Spike ~ Good point, thank you.
If an artist created a work that evoked the hell the US created dropping the A bomb on 2 Japanese cities...doing much more damage than 9/11... Would Americans find the anger at the US such a work evokes justified as well? This is such a country of "do as I say not as I do" it's ridiculous.
I don't know how to respond, I have mixed feelings, being a New Yorker. Thank you for sharing this important news-worthy story, Fusun. Rated.
Does it make me a bad person to say that I just love the design?... it is beautiful.. yes indeed it evokes the 9/11 and it doesn´t do it in a soft way.. it really hits you in the face.... but, it still is a beautiful creation. I love the trees in the terraces. So futuristic. Great post my sweet Fusun. This is future... future is here.... Loved it and rated
It's a stunning image, but once someone references 9/11 it's impossible to look at it in any other way.
I saw this yesterday...and couldn't believe it. The designers insisted they didn't "see" the resemblance, but I believe it's so ingrained in our collective subconscious at this point that they probably did...but didn't realize what their subconscious memory banks were up to.

There's no other explanation that makes sense to me--who would design something like this on purpose, aside from...well...let's not go there, either.

Thanks for adding a dose of reality to the holiday fluff I'm guilty of doling out, too. Somebody has to do it!
I'm not sure the rest of the world needs to bow to our sensibilities, and I'm sure South Korea has moved on from 9/11 in a way that we probably never will, but the design is eerie, and even if I were Korean and not intimately connected to 9/11, I wouldn't want to live there.
Personally, I like it. I think it's stunning. In fact, I think this would have been a fitting replacement for the Twin Towers. It would have represented triumph over evil. To me, anyway.
Yipes - RP made a good point, but geesk, what a horror. What about Aqua? The water-looking building in Chicago? Much more lyrical, and eye-pleasing. Would you build a big balloon of a building up on a massive stilt, so that it looked like Hiroshima? No. Of course you wouldn't.