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Architects Selected for Arts Complex at WTC
Cultural Complex on the World Trade Center site.

NEW YORK.- The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation today announced the selection of Gehry Partners LLP and Sn°hetta as architects for the cultural complex on the World Trade Center site. The firms will immediately begin the schematic design process with the cultural institutions and the LMDC on the two buildings that will include dance, theatre, museum, and fine arts facilities. Schematic design is expected to be complete in early 2005.
Governor George E. Pataki said, "Building a cultural center in the heart of Lower Manhattan is a key part of rebuilding downtown and a fitting tribute to all the heroes we lost. These dynamic architects will design fitting homes for the world class cultural institutions which will be located at the World Trade Center site. I look forward to the unveiling of designs for buildings that will house a vibrant mixture of dance, theatre, and fine arts. This cultural complex will be sure to draw millions of New Yorkers and visitors from around the world."
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, "The selection of these architects marks another important milestone in the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan. Through sensitive, visionary architecture that is respectful of the World Trade Center site, these buildings will assist the Drawing Center, the International Freedom Center, the Joyce International Dance Center, and the Signature Theatre in revitalizing our City. Lower Manhattan will epitomize the best of New York -- a neighborhood of people, commerce and culture with public spaces that engage all New Yorkers. I want to thank all those who participated in this extensive and thoughtful selection process, and commend the architectural community whose keen interest demonstrates their commitment to the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan."
Linda Shelton, Executive Director of The Joyce Theater Foundation, Inc. said, "Selecting the architect was a privilege and a tremendous responsibility. With so many exemplary architects to choose from, making the final selection was extremely difficult. We are thrilled to be working with Frank Gehry, one of the most renowned architects in the world. His sensitivity to the site will ensure that the building is a beautiful symbol of the importance and the healing power of the arts. The Joyce International Dance Center will be Mr. Gehry's first theater devoted to dance. With his extraordinary vision, the new performing arts center will soar like the dancers that will appear on our stage."
James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director of the Signature Theatre Company said, "This process has been a real privilege for all of us. We have had the extraordinary opportunity to meet and interview architects among the best in the world. Frank Gehry is a maverick in the field and will undoubtedly design a world class performing arts center that will celebrate life through the arts on what is surely the most important and significant urban site in America. We believe Frank will create a magnificent experience that will serve our unique mission and community. We are simply thrilled.”
Catherine de Zegher, Director of The Drawing Center, and George Negroponte, President of The Drawing Center said, “The Drawing Center is thrilled by the selection of Sn°hetta as the architect for the Museum Complex at the World Trade Center site. The World Trade Center site calls out for architecture that embodies insightfulness, inclusiveness, and sensitivity—characteristics for which Sn°hetta is renowned. The stunningly beautiful architecture of this young Norwegian firm will have a natural fluency with the memorial and the surrounding buildings.”
Tom A. Bernstein, Chairman and Co-founder of the International Freedom Center said, “We at the International Freedom Center are delighted with the selection of Sn°hetta as the architects for the Museum Complex at the World Trade Center site. We embrace Sn°hetta’s originality and international spirit, as well as their appreciation for the link between the ambition of the Museum Complex and the integrity of the World Trade Center Memorial.”
LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead said, “It is very exciting to see such important institutions begin to take shape on the World Trade Center site by putting their new homes in the hands of such outstanding, talented architects. We look forward to watching the dreams of the designs evolve and become reality in the near future so that visitors to the Cultural Center can share the inspiration for remembrance and renewal that these buildings are sure to create.”
LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe said, “We received over 60 proposals from firms around the world and were gratified by the outpouring of interest in designing these important buildings. Frank Gehry and Sn°hetta are both visionaries, capable of giving full form and expression to our hopes and plans for this special site. Their selection will help to fulfill the master plan, complementing the diverse architecture on the site. Both of these firms were selected for their design excellence and bring with them a wealth of experience and creativity. We look forward to seeing and sharing the schematic designs for the buildings early next year.”
Gehry Partners LLP has extensive experience in the design and construction of theater, performance, museum, academic, institutional, and commercial properties. Frank Gehry has built a career that has spanned four decades and produced public and private buildings in America, Europe, and Asia. He is the recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Gehry Partners has worked successfully on the design and construction of a number of facilities for performing arts and fine arts institutions including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Richard B. Fisher Center for Performing Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago, the Ray & Maria Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain.
Frank Gehry, Architect, said, "When I was interviewed for the Signature Theatre and the Joyce Theater, I was taken to the window to look at the site from above and tears came to my eyes. I couldn't control it. There's a lot of emotion there, even for people who aren't personally involved, and I guess we sensed the heaviness, we sensed the difficulties of building something in that context. Having the chance to work on a cultural project there is a very special opportunity for me, because, in the end, having theater and dance and beauty is kind of a wonderful legacy for the memory of the people that were lost."
Founded in 1989, Sn°hetta is an international architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design company based in Oslo, Norway and has worked internationally during this period. It is most well-known for its completion of the Alexandria Library in Egypt and the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin, and the soon to be completed New National Opera in Oslo and the Turner Contemporary Museum in England. Craig Dykers and Kjetil Thorsen are the founding partners of Sn°hetta. Since its formation Sn°hetta has won numerous international awards and has been represented in exhibitions around the world. Many have characterized their work as having a presence that resonates with the surrounding context.
Craig Dykers and Kjetil Thorsen, founding partners of Sn°hetta said “This important place carries with it the power of its history and a new hope for the future. Now it can also offer the gift of life through culture and interaction. It is a place that must convey the memories and dreams of all those around the world that are affected by its presence without forgetting its intimate connection with the people of New York and the surrounding city. We at Sn°hetta look forward to the challenge of creating a natural, unimposing yet memorable building that will complement the essential integrity of this sublime ground.”

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