Like many of us, I read Michael Kimmelman’s architectural review of 1 World Trade Center with great interest. Front page of the Sunday New York Times? A project that architects and luminaries the world over have weighed in on? Exciting stuff! I expected a well thought out, descriptive meditation on one of the most important projects erected in this city in the past couple of decades.
After finishing the article, I decided to read it again because I couldn’t quite believe it. I was dumbfounded not by Mr. Kimmelman’s description of what he thought was an ugly building (although he couldn’t quite bring himself to say that in so many words—just not good enough) or how he felt it would fit or not fit into the neighborhood—but, rather, that he took prime editorial space in one of the most important journals on the planet to take potshots at various people who are not architects by profession. David “Childs had a nearly impossible task,” Mr. Kimmelman said, attempting to salvage the reputation of the architect who planned the building: “devising a tower at once somber and soaring, open and unassailable, dignified but not dull.” Only a paragraph earlier he took pains to denigrate former-Governor George Pataki and the site’s developer Larry Silverstein as if they were leaning over Childs’ worktable with a tube of Witeout. The building is awful—Kimmelman was in essence saying—but the architect was great, he just had all of his ideas vetoed by ownership. Read More