Context and Program for the Architectural Competition on Restoration of the World Trade Center Site

October 16-24, 2002
Released December 17,2002
Revised August 18,2003


The World Trade Center Restoration Movement(WTCRM) has established this competition in the furtherance of its goal of ensuring that the World Trade Center site is restored to its former glory in every respect, as the only fitting means of honoring those who were slaughtered on September 11th 2001 and showing the world that their killers did not prevail.

The integrated presence of towers not one inch shorter than the old and spaces and structures dedicated to the commemoration of the dead will stand as a triumphant representation of the resolve of the people of our time and place to both remember the fallen and carry on in their footsteps.

The WTCRM does not and will not control the site or the development process...success in this competition does not translate into a contract, or being on a short list for a contract,to turn the successful design into reality.But the WTCRM and its allies pledge their dedication to giving the widest possible publicity to the chosen designs,submitting them to the most credible public poll possible in competition with the leading designs offered by the official planning process, in order to make clear the strong public preference for designs that meet our program requirements in preference to ones that meet theirs.

It is hoped that this will cause a redirection of the official planning process in the directions preferred by the WTCRM,and designers will be free to seek the business in response to this redirection.The WTCRM claims no intellectual property rights in submitted designs,which the jury will judge strictly as submitted,apart from the right to exhibit the selected designs and keep them in the poll for as long as it is conducted.

Context and General Concepts

Your design for the restoration of the World Trade Center site will create a defining icon for the New York of the 21st century and beyond. A keystone of the nation's oldest central business district that will be instantly famous,the towers visible for many miles and welcoming both multitudes of workers and countless visitors from around the world.

Your design for the site must both show that the horrific events of September 11th 2001 and those who died will never be forgotten, and that the authors of that carnage will not have paralyzed New York or America into not daring to move beyond that terrible day.

The integrated presence of tall towers of breathtaking scale and indoor and outdoor commemoration of those killed in the terror attacks will create a cohesive site that is greater than the sum of its parts. Both a destination for all the world to visit and a neighbor to the Lower Manhattan of the future that can be experienced on numerous levels.The various approaches to the site must all be considered in all their contexts.

The restoration of the World Trade Center will have an impact far beyond the site.Beyond the priceless symbolism of the towers having risen again at least as high as before,it will be a center for the work and lives of many people in Manhattan and an occasional destination for many others.It will be the site of central transportation infrastructure for the area.It will hold public spaces dedicated to many different uses.It must welcome its visitors for whatever purpose they visit.

While respecting the history of this site,with its heritage of being twice home to complexes constructed as the largest office high-rises in the world,the Hudson Terminal Buildings and the World Trade Center,it must update this vision to be a vital and pivotal part of the Manhattan of the new millennium.


Cohesive Vision of the Site

The boundaries of the World Trade Center site are Vesey,Liberty,Church, and West Streets.Your design should preserve the clear identity of the site within these boundaries whatever divisions of it into different uses may be made.The structures you design should relate to each other as parts of a whole.

Tower Buildings

The signature structures of your design must be tower buildings that have an occupied human space limit of at least 1355 feet, and a roofline of at least 1368 feet, above the main entrance ground level. On a tower building should be an antenna at least 1728 feet above that level.


The site plan should include a memorial to those killed on September 11th 2001 that relates appropriately to the historical and urban context created by the site plan as a whole.Both indoor and outdoor components should be included.

Civic and Public Spaces

Part of the restoration of the World Trade Center includes replacement of one of the largest open spaces in Lower Manhattan,Tobin Plaza. Attractive design of open spaces geared to a variety of uses is necessary, and intelligent consideration of how such spaces affect their immediate neighbors is important.

Avoidance of Clutter

A great source of complaint regarding earlier concept plans was the appearance of clutter,too many buildings and too many streets leaving the site unattractively crowded.Verticality and spacing of structures are important.

Potential for Phased Construction

It is impossible to be certain of the schedule under which the World Trade Center will be rebuilt.While the Hudson Terminal Buildings were opened on the same day in 1908,the Twin Towers opened a year apart,and new towers might be staggered over a longer period.A memorial may likewise not all be built at once. Site proposals should allow for phased construction and identify practical and economical phases that can stand by themselves.

Safety Engineering

The safety and security of the structures on the site must be as breathtaking as the scale of the towers without being oppressive or obtrusive.Exterior and interior design must give the assurance, and not only outward appearance,of strength and safety,blending the state of the art in various technologies to create a highly secure environment.


Your design must integrate effectively and productively with transportation improvements beneath and adjacent to the site, and include attractive facilities for all relevant forms of transit.

Flexible Access for All

There will be those who come to the site just to visit the memorial.
There will be those who come to the site just to visit the Towers.
There will be those who come to the site just to go to work.
There will be those who come to the site just to go shopping.
There will be those who come to the site on their way from one other place to another.
And there will be those who come to the site for yet other reasons, or a combination of these reasons.
Access to the site for each of these purposes must be provided in ways that do not bring them into conflict,and must in all cases include access for the disabled.


Tower Buildings

The tower buildings are the centerpiece of the site development. They create the necessary context for the memorial to be more than a trophy of the triumph of the murderers and testament to the permanence of their victory. They will be the crowning point of the world's most famous skyline. And they will be the most desirable address in the capital of world finance.

The rebuttable presumption is that there should be two of them and that they should be substantially identical to each other. Both the Hudson Terminal Buildings and the World Trade Center Towers were built as twins. Likewise,it is anticipated that these towers will be predominantly used for office space,as were their predecessors.Any other use should be secondary and not designed for at the expense of the structure being useful for office space,aside from specific areas deriving suitability for different use from their particular locations.

Should your design depart from these presumptions,it must still provide the minimum required office space and avoid any appearance of crowdedness on the site as a whole.

Engineering Considerations
The new towers must be a showcase for the state of the art in safety engineering and present both the appearance and reality of remarkable structural strength.The design should contain details of construction specifications ensuring that the safety margins required by relevant building codes will be exceeded. Placement and size of elevators,stairs,and safety features must be noted,and relevant technologies harnessed to make the use of space for these highly efficient and effective. Other engineering aspects of the structures should be no less advanced in providing the most desirable environment possible.
Observation Areas
On the highest occupied floors of the tower buildings should be areas accessible for observation purposes...whether specifically dedicated to this or used as restaurants or other places whose appeal would be based on their position atop the skyline. Access directly to these areas from the ground level should be convenient,effective,and attractive.Floors at these levels should be of sufficient size to meet the demand for such areas.
Memorial Aspects
There should be remembrance of those who died in the terror attacks of September 11th 2001 reflected in the new towers independent of the dedicated memorial structures.Certain sections of the towers may be set aside for memorial purposes.
Benchmark Designs
Your design will be specifically judged against the original World Trade Center design of Minoru Yamasaki in terms of functionality and aesthetics,as well as other published designs that meet the criteria of this competition but may not have been submitted as contestants.You should endeavor to ensure that it will impress partisans of other designs sufficiently to make sure that they will nonetheless regard it as superior.


The memorial to the victims of the terror attacks of September 11th 2001 will be very important to many people.It should have a presence of its own independent of the tower buildings and yet should be enriched by their presence creating a triumphant historical context.

It may include indoor and outdoor portions,gardens,fountains,monuments, museums,and other components,which need not all be constructed as part of the same phase but should all be provided for in the plan.

A very contentious issue affecting the memorial is the desire by some that the entirety of the footprints of both of the old Twin Towers be included within the memorial area,while others consider the former footprints to be the most economical site for new towers.Still others are concerned only that there be some overlap as a symbolic refusal to surrender.Your plan may make any decision in this matter but needs to deal with the issues respectfully.

Space allocated for the memorial may be in any configuration but the differing needs of those coming to the site for different reasons need to be considered in order to preserve the desired experience for each.Some memorial areas may be multi-purpose in terms of cultural applications.Access between all areas of the site needs to be convenient without obscuring the purposes of various areas.


Mass Transit Improvements
In the old Hudson Terminal area along Church Street is to be a major intermodal transit station.This will be a central connection point for numerous transit lines and in conjunction with the Broadway & Fulton Street station to which it will have underground connections will be the main transportation center for Lower Manhattan. It should have an according architectural presence,and be the home of substantial retail space and other amenities.Its approaches from all sides should be considered and designed for.
Street Access
The site is approached by five streets that formerly ran through it: Washington Street and Greenwich Street from the north and south, and Fulton,Dey,and Cortlandt Streets (north to south) from the east. The approach from each of these should be considered,and you may choose,subject to the other program requirements,to extend any of them into or through the site,whether for use by vehicles or pedestrians, or as streetcar tracks.In the last instance you should indicate a productive route through Lower Manhattan for the proposed line, with transfers to other transit lines.(Familiarize yourself with the "Liberty Loop" proposal for a line using Liberty and Fulton Streets and connecting at the waterfronts,for example).

On the west side of the site is West Street,and the ability to cross it is a matter of wide concern,as is avoiding prolonged and invasive construction.Pedestrian and streetcar crossings should be considered,but highway design is beyond the scope of this competition.

Open Space

The site design should contain open space for a variety of uses beyond the commercial and memorial elements.These should be integrated into the means of access to them both from surrounding areas and other parts of the site,while not obstructing access through the site.

Public spaces not on the 16-acre site are not within the scope of this competition.Space on the site should be of at a minimum equal size and utility to the former Tobin Plaza.

Buildings for public use for educational,entertainment,or other purposes are an option provided other program requirements are met. Certain such functions may also be incorporated within the tower buildings.


Commercial Office Space

A minimum of 9.5 million square feet of office space is required. This may be entirely in tower buildings,or in additional buildings provided that the tower buildings reach the required height. While there is no explicit maximum,expansion must not be allowed to cause crowdedness on the site.

Retail Space

A minimum of 600,000 square feet of retail space is required. This may be provided in connection with the tower buildings, transportation center,or hotel structures,underground,or in dedicated structures,but not impinging on the memorial areas. It may face inward or outward on the site,and shall be divided into units of various sizes.The design should take note of the anticipated traffic patterns on and through the site for the greatest convenience of potential customers.

Hotel/Conference Center/Residential Development

There is a need for at least 600,000 square feet of hotel/conference center space on the site. This may be constructed as a free-standing building, rise above the transportation center,or be incorporated within one of the tower buildings;some conference space may be underground.It should not impinge on the memorial areas. Again,while there is no explicit maximum size,expansion must not be allowed to cause crowdedness on the site.

No structures dedicated to residential use should be constructed on the site;it is owned by the Port Authority,whose charter prohibits it from owning residential properties. Some allowance may be made for the hotel to have long-term residents. The incorporation of residential space in one tower building may be proposed,subject to all other program requirements being met and the present legal impediments being acknowledged.


Submissions should include site maps of the sixteen acres, views of designs from multiple angles,representative floor plans of the tower buildings and any other structures of significant size, sections,and elevations,and detailed descriptions of the entire submission's contents.Construction materials and protocols should be indicated for all buildings.Physical models are not required; the announcement of the successful designs will exhibit renderings, which will likewise be the focus of the web-based poll.