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WTC towers design of Yongsan towers fueling anger in US

Posted December. 12, 2011 02:39,   


Two luxury commercial-residential high-rises to be built in Seoul`s Yongsan Business District by 2016 are fueling anger in the U.S. due to their similarity to the World Trade Center twin towers in New York that were destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The designer of the buildings also set up the master plan for redevelopment of Ground Zero in New York.

A spokesman for the design company reportedly said, “(When designing the Seoul building), we had the 9/11 terror attacks in mind,” further escalating the controversy.

According to the New York Post and New York Daily News Saturday, the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks and bloggers have raised issued with the Yongsan project. They say the design of the two luxury residential buildings to be built in Yongsan was recklessly formulated in a way that disregards the victims of the attacks.

The two buildings, whose rendering was recently unveiled by the Dutch architectural design company MVDRV, have been designed to have 10 stories between the 60-story and 54-story inter-linked buildings. The problem is that the cloud-shaped bridging structure is reminiscent of the situation of the twin towers in New York soon after they were hit by two hijacked airplanes.

Gizmodo, a U.S. electronics device blog, said Thursday, "What the hell were these architects thinking?" This then resulted in MVDRV`s Facebook page attracting a flurry of critical comments, including one saying, "Is the designer a follower of Al-Qaeda?"

MVDRV said it had even received blackmail threats and phone calls of protest.

With the backlash against it spreading, the Dutch company said in a statement on its website, “We had no intention to create an image that reminds people of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and we did not recognize in the course of designing that the two would have any similarity. We deeply regret the criticism that the buildings remind people of the 9/11 terror attacks, and sincerely apologize to people who have mentally suffered.”

Despite its statement, MVDRV made it clear that it will not change the design for the Yongsan towers.

In addition, the New York Daily News quoted the company`s spokesman, who reportedly said earlier in an interview with a Dutch media outlet, “The designer seems to have had in mind the World Trade Center buildings in the 9/11 terrorist attacks."

Daniel Libeskind, the renowned designer who did the blueprint for the Yongsan Business District project, also developed a master plan for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center in New York.

The conservative U.S. magazine Weekly Standard said the Yongsan Business District looks very similar to Libeskind’s Manhattan master plan.

The families of the victims of the 2001 attacks are also angry over the project. Jim Riches, deputy chief of the New York Fire Department whose firefighter son was killed in the attacks, told the New York Daily News, "I think it`s a total lie and they have no respect for the people who died that day," adding, "They`re crossing the line. I think they`re trying to sensationalize it. It`s a cheap way to get publicity."

The controversial towers will be built at the entrance of the Yongsan Business District. The project host Yongsan Dream Hub Corp. plans to review the design proposals and select the final plan by March next year.

The cloud-shaped sections dubbed “pixilated cloud” are designed to house amenities, including sky lounges, a swimming pool and restaurants.