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Symbol of capitalism
A letter from Jefferson N. Glapski, ColbyCosh.com Bermuda correspondent.
January 28, 2003
How can you say the WTC is horrid aesthetically?
The first emotion I faced at the base of the WTC was, quite simply, awe. Awe in the sense of "Jesus fucking Christ, this is an amazing achievement. The fact that they could build such a structure is simply amazing." I've been up the Sears Tower, Empire State Building, CN Tower and John Hancock Center. The Sears Tower may be taller, the Empire State Building may offer better views, the CN Tower is taller in a Petronas fake sort of way, but none of these buildings even came close to impressiveness of the WTC.
The engineering of the WTC is more impressive, based on my limited knowledge. We will never know if it could have withstood a 707, given that it faced the wrath of a 767. What we do know is that is imploded on itself, indicating the proficiency of the architects. How much of lower Manhattan could have been wiped out had the WTC fallen one way or another? Shit, the World Financial Center is still standing. [No skyscraper is designed to bear its own weight laterally, and while the performance of the WTC under collapse is impressive, there are a few buildings in that area which are not still standing. -ed.]
Also, consider that every building on this list gets noticeably lighter as the stories increase--the Empire State building, CN Tower and Hancock Center get thinner the higher you go. The Sears Tower is missing parts of it as though Paul Bunyan lost some Lego pieces or something. These buildings get high because the spirit of the building cheats. [Cheats? According to what rules? -ed.] Those buildings, impressive as they are, owe their height in some respect to the fact that the buildings get thinner on the way up. Standing at the base of the WTC and looking up, the first thing you note isn't how high the fucker is, it's how WIDE the WTC is. Because of the area of the buildings and the design as it scratches the clouds, the engineering to build that in the first place was simply amazing. And the exoskeleton design was a brilliant solution to this.
From pure aesthetics, how can anyone complain? The exoskeleton not only performs an engineering feat, but offers a sleek, underplayed beauty. It serves the same purpose as do pinstripes. The distinction of skyscrapers from other buildings is their height--the exoskeleton aesthetically enhances the WTC's height. Plus, the WTC offers no superfluous bullshit, like so many other buildings do. Plus, it makes the NYC skyline. [Past tense surely required?? -ed.] The only thing the current proposals do is make you realize how much you'll miss it.
In pure symbolism, the WTC symbolized capitalism. That symbol must be respected and rebuilt. As the article you mentioned said, you wouldn't see the Statue of Liberty re-done as modern sculpture (imagine that).
The WTC should be rebuilt as before, with several changes. First, it should be rebuilt with better materials and engineering. Not doing that would simply be stupid. Second, some obvious design flaws can also be corrected--such as how the building can deal with gallons of ignited kerosene or expanding the staircases. Third, it should be made taller. The spirit of the WTC is that it should be the highest building in the world.