DATE March 3, 2003 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/Aâ¨ TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/Aâ¨ NETWORK NPRâ¨ PROGRAM Fresh Airâ¨â¨Interview: Paul Goldberger of The New Yorker discusses theâ¨design chosen for the World Trade Center siteâ¨BARBARA BOGAEV, host:â¨â¨This is FRESH AIR. I'm Barbara Bogaev in for Terry Gross.â¨â¨The architectural void at the World Trade Center site began to take shape withâ¨last week's announcement of Studio Daniel Libeskind's winning design. At theâ¨official ceremony, Libeskind thanks the people of New York for theirâ¨extraordinary commitment and passion. He said surely buildings are built outâ¨of concrete and steel and glass but they're actually built out of theâ¨spiritual content of the hearts and the soul of citizens. This collaborationâ¨is what has made the design process for the World Trade Center site soâ¨remarkable.â¨â¨My guest Paul Goldberger says the fact that a design of beauty and depth hasâ¨emerged out of such unprecedented public participation and urban planning isâ¨an important part of the story. Goldberger is the architecture critic forâ¨The New Yorker and has written about the process of rebuilding ground zero inâ¨a series of articles for the magazine. His latest appears in this week'sâ¨edition. I asked him to describe the key elements of the Libeskind design.â¨â¨Mr. PAUL GOLDBERGER (The New Yorker): Its most famous feature, the one thatâ¨everyone has seemed to have grabbed on to and that attracted a lot of peopleâ¨to Libeskind's design is his notion that you memorialize the people who diedâ¨on September 11th and the sense of loss and tragedy by leaving what's inâ¨effect a kind of open wound in the cityscape by leaving some of the foundationâ¨of the original World Trade Center open and exposed in perpetuity as a relic,â¨as almost like an archaeological site, rather as you might have in ancientâ¨Rome, and that that would create a sense of going back into the past and alsoâ¨that somehow going down in is a way of connecting and respecting and reachingâ¨back.â¨â¨Libeskind has also pointed out, I think, correctly, that the huge concreteâ¨walls that surrounded the foundation of the World Trade Center held onâ¨September 11th. They did not buckle and collapse, and that he sees in that aâ¨kind of metaphor for the stability of American democracy, and that by keepingâ¨them visible to people, that will remind them that the country went on, theâ¨country survived, that everything was not lost even though many people wereâ¨lost.â¨â¨BOGAEV: I'm thinking of The New York Times editorial last week about theâ¨design that the design somehow caught both the grieving and the idealism inâ¨the air after 9/11.â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: I think it did, and I think it has a very subtle balance ofâ¨grieving and idealism as you've said or looking backwards and looking forward,â¨because it also has a lot of very positive things. There's a wonderful spireâ¨that is sort of a balance between the high-tech and the poetic that would beâ¨the tallest thing in the country, and I believe, in fact, in the world. Itâ¨would not be a regular office building. It would be a spire attached to anâ¨office building but it would go up 1,776 feet high and it would contain anâ¨antenna for broadcast, an observation tower, a restaurant, and Libeskind hasâ¨this idea of putting some sort of hanging gardens in it which may or may notâ¨work out. He's had to reduce the number of gardens up in the sky from hisâ¨earlier versions of this, so that there you have a great symbol in the sky.â¨â¨And I think that's terribly important because people, particularly those whoâ¨were lucky enough not to have lost people on September 11th felt what they hadâ¨lost was the skyline and they have been yearning to heal the skyline, to healâ¨that wound in the skyline of Lower Manhattan and to build something tall makesâ¨great sense to do that, to respond to that desire.â¨â¨On the other hand, we don't really want another 100-story office building orâ¨apartment building or hotel. I don't think at this moment people want toâ¨occupy a building like that. So a symbolic spire is a way of going back intoâ¨the sky, of making this statement and yet not of creating an enormous andâ¨expensive building that would possibly end up being empty.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Now I'm thinking that you have been very critical of skyscraperâ¨proposals and I think you wrote directly in The New Yorker after Septemberâ¨11th that perhaps the destruction of the World Trade Center put an end to thisâ¨kind of thing is how you put it, this building of such a visible symbol ofâ¨power and strength and wealth.â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Well, a lot of people, including me, have speculated overâ¨whether it would. And, you know, it's important to remember that we wereâ¨beginning to have somewhat second thoughts about the virtues of very, very,â¨very tall skyscrapers for a long time. There's a kind of excess bravado toâ¨them, and it's not an accident that the only building taller than the Worldâ¨Trade Center in this country is Sears Tower in Chicago, which was built allâ¨the way back to 1974, only a year after the World Trade Center.â¨â¨We've allowed the Asian cultures mainly--Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore--toâ¨build supertall buildings because they're the ones that in a way are kind ofâ¨younger and less mature on the world economic stage, even though they're veryâ¨old cultures in other ways, and they've wanted to sort of flex their musclesâ¨and it's a way in which people flex their muscles.â¨â¨I think going up into the sky is a very beautiful thing, and I have alwaysâ¨hoped that we would find a way to sort of navigate between these difficultâ¨things, between not wanting to be too arrogant, not wanting to be excessiveâ¨and build out of hubris and yet not want to cower on the ground, either, andâ¨not want to give up something that really is in the DNA of New York which isâ¨to go up into the sky.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Just one more question about the tower. What do you think of thisâ¨1,776-foot-high business?â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Well, I find it actually a little hokey in some ways, and Iâ¨do think that Libeskind for all his gifts as an architect does have anâ¨occasional tendency to play to the sentimental a little too much. And theâ¨notion of picking that as an arbitrary number--1776 is a critical date in theâ¨history of America--it doesn't automatically translate into a logical heightâ¨for a building, and I think he tends sometimes to mix up historical symbolsâ¨and architectural expressions in a way that kind of gets a little muddy andâ¨confused.â¨â¨On the other hand, it might also be a really skillful political move becauseâ¨if the Port Authority, which has a lot of control over this project as theâ¨original builders of the World Trade Center and the owners of ground zero,â¨decides it's a little too big and a little too expensive and says, `Let's cutâ¨it down,' Libeskind can say, `You're destroying 1,776, this important number.â¨How can you do that? 1676 is not an important number. 1776 is an importantâ¨number,' and maybe it could be a way of keeping it as tall as he wants it.â¨So actually maybe I'm not being fair to him by dismissing that number asâ¨sentimental. Maybe it's actually very crafty.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Now the original Libeskind design featured also two ground-levelâ¨parks, one positioned to capture a wedge of sunlight--each year on Septemberâ¨11th from the time the first plane hit the Trade Centers' north tower untilâ¨the time that the second tower fell. So is that still part of the proposalâ¨and what do you think of it?â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: That is part of the proposal. Libeskind calls it the Wedgeâ¨of Light. That, too, is one of those things that's sort of just on the edgeâ¨of a little bit hokey. On the other hand, it could work. On the other hand,â¨if it's cloudy on September 11th, no one will know anyway, but he has sort ofâ¨positioned the buildings in such a way that the position of the sun at thatâ¨hour on that day would assure that it would come directly in with no shadows.â¨â¨Now of course, it's not only on that day, but probably on September 10th andâ¨September 12th that would be pretty similar as well. The sun, you know, onlyâ¨moves a tiny bit day to day. It's a little much, but I certainly don't thinkâ¨it's sort of evil or bad, and, you know, there's another thing that kind ofâ¨goes along with it that he's calling the Path of Heroes, I believe, which isâ¨he wants to put markings in the pavement that go from the center of groundâ¨zero out in all kinds of different directions, in all kind of different lines,â¨almost like a--so these little granite strips or lines or markings wouldâ¨almost look like a million of those children's Pick Up Sticks, that game.â¨â¨And what that would do would be draw a line between ground zero and a pointerâ¨in the direction of each fire company or rescue company or ambulance squad orâ¨police group that responded to the call on 9/11, pointing toward their homeâ¨base to show that people came from all directions to participate in the rescueâ¨effort and it would be a way of honoring that.â¨â¨That is also one of those things that on the one hand, it's a little too much;â¨on the other hand, if you were walking on the sidewalk in thisâ¨neighborhood--imagine it was all now newly rebuilt--and you saw this unusualâ¨line, this little strip, perhaps of granite, in the sidewalk, it would be aâ¨very beautiful and subtle way of showing you that this place was special andâ¨connected to an extraordinary historical event while also weaving that intoâ¨day-to-day life as you kind of walk down the street. So it might work, andâ¨I'm certainly for giving him a try and letting it happen and we'll see.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Paul Goldberger is the architecture critic for The New Yorker. Hisâ¨latest article in a series about the rebuilding of the World Trade Center siteâ¨appears in this week's edition. We'll continue our conversation after thisâ¨break. This is FRESH AIR.â¨â¨(Soundbite of music)â¨â¨BOGAEV: I'm talking with Paul Goldberger. He's the architecture critic forâ¨The New Yorker magazine.â¨â¨The competing design to the Libeskind proposal was from Rafael Vinoly's team,â¨the THINK team. Can you remind us what the think team design was and whatâ¨were some of the objections to it?â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Sure, the THINK team was a remarkable group of three reallyâ¨gifted architects and a landscape architect: Rafael Vinoly, Fred Schwartz andâ¨Shigeru Ban--who's an architect from Tokyo; Fred Schwartz is another Newâ¨Yorker, and Ken Smith, a landscape architect. They came up with a fascinatingâ¨and I think very moving and beautiful proposal which was to create aâ¨latticework over the footprints of the original twin towers that would more orâ¨less echo the original towers but as a kind of ghostly, transparent skeletonâ¨or latticework. And their notion was to place inside the latticework smallerâ¨sections that would be like little buildings that would be cultural facilitiesâ¨of one kind or another that would be inside this kind of framework orâ¨truss-work, but most of it would be open. And then around the perimeter, awayâ¨from the footprints themselves, they planned, as Libeskind did, to put officeâ¨buildings and the transportation center and possibly a hotel and other things.â¨However, it was their wish to leave that stuff pretty open and not be tooâ¨specific about it, leaving the possibility that other architects might do it.â¨â¨It was actually a very pragmatic and visionary proposal at the same time. Itâ¨was the most visionary in that those towers were really a pretty extraordinaryâ¨and amazing thing. Had they worked, they could have been the shimmering,â¨poetic, almost towers of light, barely material. You would have seen thisâ¨sort of stainless steel framework whooshing up into the sky holding theseâ¨little pods inside it, and then the rest of it would have been just lettingâ¨the ordinary city kind of develop around it. So that part would have beenâ¨quite pragmatic and it would have made a very powerful statement for theâ¨public realm coming first and then you fill in private stuff around the edgesâ¨later.â¨â¨I was very impressed with it and actually not unhappy when there was a senseâ¨that it might be winning the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation'sâ¨preference. I had a tough time myself deciding between the two because of theâ¨larger group of designs that were proposed last December as part of this wholeâ¨exercise in which they invited teams of some of the best architects in theâ¨world to propose plans, the two that were my favorites were, in fact, the twoâ¨that turned out to be the finalists, so I knew that I was not going to be thatâ¨unhappy with either one.â¨â¨The objections to the Vinoly plan were twofold. One was that it was quiteâ¨expensive, and while cost was not the key issue, it did somewhere play someâ¨role. The deciding objection, though, I gather, was the fact that to someâ¨people, it felt not like a beautiful and shimmering symbol of the new andâ¨looking ahead, but like two enormous tombstones, like, echoing the World Tradeâ¨Center in a skeletal form that would have reminded people forever of what hadâ¨happened.â¨â¨And there was a sense on the part of I know the governor who felt stronglyâ¨about this, that it was one thing to do a great and significant memorial onâ¨the ground but that what went up in the skyline should only look forward andâ¨not look back. Now the architects, of course, felt this was looking forwardâ¨and didn't really like hearing it described that way, but to some people itâ¨was, and I think that's what ultimately did it in, and my understanding isâ¨that while people admired the Libeskind, at the end of the day, what carriedâ¨the vote was not so much pro-Libeskind feeling as a negative feeling on theâ¨part of some key players in this whole thing about how people would interpretâ¨those THINK team towers and the fear that they would be seen as hugeâ¨tombstones. Somebody said it's the skeletons of death, not, you know, aâ¨future-looking thing. And while I don't agree with that and the architectsâ¨certainly didn't agree with that, a couple of key people did and so they wentâ¨to the other plan.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Who ultimately made the decision? Who were the players involved?â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: The players are the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation,â¨which is an agency set up by the state of New York, the Port Authority, whichâ¨is a New York-New Jersey bistate agency that owns ground zero, the city of Newâ¨York itself, whose mayor, Michael Bloomberg, controls some of the seats on theâ¨board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and the state of Newâ¨York whose governor, George Pataki, ultimately holds the most cards in hisâ¨hand here.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Well, it's such a difficult thing to maneuver around, and I think inâ¨your writing in The New Yorker, you've alluded to this, that so many peopleâ¨expressed the desire for the twin towers to be rebuilt in the wake of 9/11...â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Yes.â¨â¨BOGAEV: ...and that there seem to be this collective--I don't know, sense ofâ¨denial that they knew this wasn't going to happen, we weren't going to rebuildâ¨the World Trade Center...â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Right.â¨â¨BOGAEV: ...as it once was, but somehow they might not have wanted to let goâ¨of that.â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Right. I think that's right. You know, there are still aâ¨few people running around saying, `Let's rebuild them as they were.' I thinkâ¨it's a terrible idea because it is no disrespect to those who died to say thatâ¨they were not really very good buildings and that they did not represent theâ¨very best we're capable of now, certainly, and to repeat what was really inâ¨many ways an architectural mistake when we also have 30 years more ofâ¨knowledge of how to build buildings better and how to make cities better wouldâ¨be a terrible mistake and would do no honor to these people. But there are aâ¨lot of people who both want to do that or who just don't really want to comeâ¨to a conclusion about this.â¨â¨And I think it's now beginning to be time. I felt in the months immediatelyâ¨following 9/11 it was, in fact, unseemly to push too fast to decide what toâ¨do. It was much more important to mourn at that time, but we're nowâ¨approaching a year and a half, and that's a very different feeling from theâ¨immediate few months, and I think now it is time to move more and more towardâ¨a forward look and less and less toward looking back.â¨â¨BOGAEV: It sounds as if perhaps that that collective fantasy about the twinâ¨towers was more about the grieving process than about architecture.â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: I certainly hope it was more about the grieving process thanâ¨about architecture. I think that's a good way to put it because it can beâ¨excused if it's part of the grieving process because people are certainlyâ¨entitled to grieve in any way they want and none of us should ever be soâ¨arrogant as to tell people how to grieve. They're entitled to make their ownâ¨choice, but it's not a good architectural choice. It may be a good choice inâ¨terms of helping one heal to think about rebuilding the towers, butâ¨ultimately, it's not really the right decision as we begin now to think moreâ¨and more of building for the future.â¨â¨BOGAEV: There was a flurry of lobbying and media campaigning in the past fewâ¨weeks and both architects, Daniel Libeskind and Rafael Vinoly, appeared onâ¨"Oprah." They also held kind of minisalons or forums at hot spots in the cityâ¨for architecture critics and the press and officials. Did you go to any ofâ¨those events?â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: I did not go to any of the forums and stuff like that,â¨although I went to some big public forums where a number of architects spoke,â¨not just these but all the architects involved in the whole exercise,â¨including the ones who did not end up being finalists. I didn't do much inâ¨the three weeks since Libeskind and the THINK group were named as finalists,â¨and most of my conversations with the architects have been sort of moreâ¨one-on-one briefings in their offices, not other situations.â¨â¨But I watched it with amusement because I think it's part of the story. Iâ¨mean, here we are with this amazing situation in which architecture, which isâ¨usually a subject that is relegated to the inside pages of a newspaper, if atâ¨all, is suddenly on the front page all the time. It's in the gossip columns.â¨Everybody's talking about it. It's sort of like being, you know--I feel as anâ¨architecture critic sort of like I've always been covering--I don't know, likeâ¨a sports reporter who used to cover lacrosse who suddenly is covering theâ¨World Series instead and everybody is paying attention to your subject andâ¨everybody's watching every move and it gets right on the front page. So itâ¨does change everything.â¨â¨It's both good and bad, of course. You know, it's great to see peopleâ¨caring about architecture. It's what those of us who love architecture haveâ¨always wanted, and what could be better than being on "Oprah"? But I hope itâ¨doesn't result in watering down all the ideas for public consumption so muchâ¨that their serious ambition gets lost.â¨â¨This is one of the few times in I think my lifetime that I've seen some of theâ¨best architects in the world make proposals for important public places in Newâ¨York and get taken really, really seriously as opposed to being put on a shelfâ¨so that the thing could really be given to some political hack. Well, we'reâ¨not seeing that this time, and so in that way, things are better than everâ¨before. Whether the culture of celebrity is going to ultimately bring usâ¨better architecture, that's another matter, you know, and we just got to seeâ¨over time.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Paul Goldberger is the architecture critic for The New Yorkerâ¨magazine. We'll continue our conversation about the new design for rebuildingâ¨the World Trade Center site in the second half of the show. I'm Barbaraâ¨Bogaev and this is FRESH AIR.â¨â¨(Soundbite of music)â¨â¨BOGAEV: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Barbara Bogaev.â¨â¨Let's get back to our interview with Paul Goldberger, architecture critic forâ¨The New Yorker magazine. Last week, the Berlin-based firm Studio Danielâ¨Libeskind was announced the winner of a design competition for rebuilding theâ¨site of the World Trade Center. This decision comes after a long series ofâ¨public forums and proposals on how to restore Lower Manhattan.â¨â¨I'd like to step back and talk about the history of this whole process, howâ¨this city got to this decision on the Libeskind design.â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Sure. Mm-hmm.â¨â¨BOGAEV: And six proposals for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center siteâ¨were unveiled in July 2002 at the public meeting that was held at the Javitsâ¨Center. Afterwards, nearly 5,000 people gave their opinions of the designsâ¨and almost all were negative. It was a melee, really. And you wrote in Theâ¨New Yorker that that meeting at the Javits Center was an emblematic event inâ¨the history of city planning. Emblematic of what?â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: I think it was emblematic of people asking for boldness inâ¨vision. We're not used to that. We're used to people settling for theâ¨ordinary. Or people when they become actively involved in the public processâ¨doing it to say no; not to say yes. They were complaining--and correctlyâ¨so--about the way in which those six early plans seemed mainly focused onâ¨office space and getting that site back into profit-making condition again, soâ¨to speak. And the fact that it didn't have a powerful symbol, it didn'tâ¨respond enough to the gravity of the events of 9/11 and the need forâ¨commemoration in a really significant way. And that it--those plans did veryâ¨little to suggest that this is not an ordinary piece of land.â¨â¨And for people to say, in a public meeting, `This is not ordinary. This isâ¨special. Give us architecture that reflects that and is equal to theâ¨magnitude of this extraordinary, if tragic, event,' well, that's an amazingâ¨moment. And, in fact, it created a very interesting and difficult dilemma forâ¨the public officials because they were fully behind those plans before, butâ¨they had also said this was going to be a public and open process and theyâ¨intended to listen to the people. So when the people said, `Uh-uh,' theâ¨governor and the officials of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation hadâ¨only two choices: they could have either said, `Well, we didn't really meanâ¨it, people, so we're not going to listen to you. We're just going ahead,' orâ¨`Be prepared to make significant changes.'â¨â¨Since it was an election year and the governor was up for re-election, he wasâ¨not going to choose the first alternative. He chose the second, and orderedâ¨that the process be shifted and changed. And the LMDC, under a man namedâ¨Roland Bets, who was a member of the board, who probably has had the most sortâ¨of passionate feeling about architecture on the part of the board members,â¨suggested issuing a call to the best architects in the world and seeing whoâ¨was interested and just inviting them to submit proposals, and that's whatâ¨happened.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Alex Garvin, this VP for planning at the Lower Manhattan Developmentâ¨Corporation, is a kind of interesting influential figure in this whole story.â¨It seems that his fingerprints are all over it, like Zelig somehow. And youâ¨wrote in The New Yorker...â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Yes.â¨â¨BOGAEV: ...that he hosted a daylong briefing with the seven design teams thatâ¨were winnowed down from these more than 400 who submitted ideas, and Garvinâ¨took them to ground zero. What did he talk to them about there, and what kindâ¨of ideas did he plant? What requirements did he place on them for theirâ¨designs?â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Well, Garvin, who along with Roland Bets, who is the boardâ¨member who at the sort of executive level pushed this, and then Garvin is theâ¨man who sort of really did a lot of the day-to-day work, had an idea that whatâ¨really mattered most was this balance between great architecture and restoringâ¨the fabric of the city. He's always believed that you make a great publicâ¨space and then the private sector sort of follows around it. And as he says,â¨if the public sector, if the city of New York had never built Central Park,â¨everything would be different. But all of the incredible value of land aroundâ¨Central Park, on the perimeter, came because the private sector responded toâ¨the first move made by the public sector. So his idea always had been doâ¨something great sponsored by the public, and then you will create anâ¨environment in which the private sector wants to participate and wants toâ¨invest and wants to build.â¨â¨So I think he talked to them all about that, he talked to the architects aboutâ¨the meaning of Lower Manhattan, the meaning of ground zero, about theâ¨relationship between the two and about a vision that he had of a day whenâ¨Lower Manhattan would be filled with people coming to pay homage to those whoâ¨were lost on September 11th, to visit the memorial, to work, to attendâ¨conferences, to attend operas and concerts, to shop, to live; that he wantedâ¨all of these different things to be happening, and he explained and promotedâ¨the idea that what makes the city great is the interweaving of all theseâ¨things, and his vision for the site was of a place where all of these thingsâ¨wove together in that, you know, subtle and exciting and powerful way.â¨â¨BOGAEV: So let's say--and this is being pessimistic--that what has legs ofâ¨Libeskind's plan is this bathtub(ph), the pit, the memorial in the ground thatâ¨preserves the slurry walls. How do you think it'll stand up to someâ¨international memorial sites to national tragedies?â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Well, what the ground zero memorial has that very fewâ¨memorials do is the power of place, the power of authenticity of place. It isâ¨not honoring something that happened somewhere else or honoring people whoâ¨died somewhere else. But when you come to it, you know you are in the placeâ¨in which this happened. That's very different from something even as greatâ¨and important as the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, say. It's more likeâ¨Gettysburg, in a way, going to the Gettysburg battlefield or some of the greatâ¨battlefield memorials in Europe, where the power of the place is a lot of theâ¨meaning.â¨â¨Now sometimes memorials work in spite of that. The Vietnam Veterans Memorialâ¨is a great example. The Lincoln Memorial, I think, is a great example. Weâ¨think about that as a way of connecting us to the ideas that Lincolnâ¨represented, not to the fact that Lincoln was in Washington or, you know,â¨wasn't on that site anyway. It was, I think, landfill. And I don't think itâ¨was even--I think it was part of the river when Lincoln was in Washington.â¨But we bring to a memorial some of our own experience, some of our ownâ¨passions and knowledge, and yet we also expect it to bring us emotionally to aâ¨different place, to take that and carry it further.â¨â¨I hope that the power of place at ground zero will mean that that's what willâ¨happen with the Libeskind memorial in the bathtub. Of course, we don't reallyâ¨know also how the memorial will be completed because what Libeskind and all ofâ¨the competitors were asked to do was create an overall master plan for groundâ¨zero that would include an appropriate setting for a memorial. So theâ¨Libeskind idea, even though it's a pretty powerful memorial in itself, isâ¨still technically just going to be a backdrop for something else that will goâ¨down there that somebody will design. And the Lower Manhattan Developmentâ¨Corporation is just now gearing up to launch an international competition forâ¨something that will go into that space that will not be designed by Libeskind;â¨will be designed by somebody else. It might be just a way of commemoratingâ¨the names, it might be sculpture, it might be some other thing entirely.â¨â¨BOGAEV: How are security concerns integrated into some of these designs thatâ¨were proposed, and does security have to be integrated into the design processâ¨early on now?â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Security is part of the design process for almost anythingâ¨now. It's a sad reality of the world in which we live. I think it'sâ¨integrated into the design that we now have. I don't think there's anything,â¨however, that it has done to make things different from what they mightâ¨otherwise have been, except that I know the Port Authority, which overseesâ¨much of this project, has been very insistent about certain things beingâ¨underground, certain other things not being underground, places in which truckâ¨deliveries to the area can be segregated, so that they can be kept secure andâ¨separate, that sort of thing. It hasn't been integrated into a way that wouldâ¨affect the average person's experience of the site particularly. Many of theâ¨security things are not things you necessarily would see, you know, much moreâ¨advanced kinds of glass that will be used on buildings. But, of course, thoseâ¨things might not even be decided now. We'll what materials, when theâ¨buildings are actually being built in a few years, what materials are on theâ¨market. There may be more advanced things that aren't even around today.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Paul Goldberger is the architecture critic for The New Yorker. Heâ¨has a new article about rebuilding the World Trade Center site in this week'sâ¨edition. We'll talk more after a break. This is FRESH AIR.â¨â¨(Soundbite of music)â¨â¨BOGAEV: Back with Paul Goldberger. He's the architecture critic for The Newâ¨Yorker magazine.â¨â¨I'm curious if you had a fantasy about the Manhattan skyline, how it shouldâ¨look, how it might be restored.â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: I've always wanted to see a great tower in Lower Manhattan,â¨to bring it back up again, not necessarily to look like the World Tradeâ¨Center, but to give us something that would make it other than the kind ofâ¨blurry mass that it is now. You know, before the World Trade Center, theâ¨skyline in Lower Manhattan was a bunch of beautiful little narrow spindlyâ¨buildings, many of which were from the '20s and early '30s. They had beenâ¨largely obscured by sort of fatter, bulkier buildings, and the skyline onlyâ¨became interesting again in Lower Manhattan when the Trade Center went up, andâ¨it sort of upped the ante. With the Trade Center gone, we've got nothing butâ¨that sort of blurry mass of dull buildings, and so something that's a point inâ¨the sky, that brings some emotion back in, is very important.â¨â¨I think the Libeskind spire actually has the potential of doing that. It'sâ¨slender, because it's not trying to be full of big office floors, whichâ¨created this sort of boxy skyline that we're now left with. It's just a pointâ¨in the sky, like the very old buildings, and the idea of something that couldâ¨be like sort of the Eiffel Tower of the 21st century, that would use theâ¨technology of our time as creatively as Eiffel used the technology of the 19thâ¨century, appeals to me very much, and I think Libeskind has actually gottenâ¨that idea and tried to express it in his tower.â¨â¨BOGAEV: This a broader question and it's not specifically about the Worldâ¨Trade Center site, but I know that you've done so much thinking about citiesâ¨and the role of architecture in creating the life and the soul of a city, andâ¨I'm also thinking that right now, Americans are under so much strain, there'sâ¨so much general anxiety about a possible war, about the stalled economy, aboutâ¨New York and cities and heightened security in cities. Can you talk in aâ¨general way about how you see urban planning speaking to some of theseâ¨anxieties of our time?â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: It's a wonderful question, and it's a wonderful andâ¨troubling question, because it raises a key issue about what the city is. Theâ¨very idea of the city and the very idea of democracy go hand in hand, becauseâ¨cities are about the freedom to move about, to move about spontaneously, to goâ¨where you want to go. They're about the serendipity of chance encounter, andâ¨when we live in an age in which terrorism dominates and security becomesâ¨all-consuming as a concern, it becomes harder and harder for those things thatâ¨make the city what it is to function well. We have to make very differentâ¨kinds of choices. We rush from one place to another, never lingering inâ¨between, and what makes city life wonderful to me is the magic of the placesâ¨in between, often, as much as anything else. That's one part of it. Manyâ¨people also don't even appear in public as they might for security reasons, soâ¨people who can afford it, you know, rush in cars to and fro, and don't walkâ¨even short distances because they get nervous, or people don't go outside asâ¨much as they might. All of those things damage and compromise city life.â¨â¨Now having said that, I do think there are ways architects and planners canâ¨respond. We've certainly seen architects respond very well to new securityâ¨guidelines and find ways in which to make buildings still welcoming andâ¨comfortable. I'm very impressed with the new federal office building that'sâ¨going up in Oklahoma City to replace the one destroyed in the bombing. It hadâ¨to meet very tough new guidelines about security, but the architect hasâ¨managed to find a way to make the facade mostly of glass, even with thoseâ¨guidelines, so that there's still a feeling of openness; it's not a concreteâ¨bunker. And you know, we're working on it. We're aware of it, it's realâ¨tough, and there's no question that you know, a city reflects politicalâ¨reality, and when the political reality is grim, it is very hard for the cityâ¨to be joyful.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Can I ask you where your favorite place is to be in New York?â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Mm, God--I would say walking on a street is my favoriteâ¨thing, and that's said as somebody who, you know, adores great buildings. Iâ¨love to look at the Chrysler Building and the Woolworth Building and to walkâ¨across the Brooklyn Bridge and to be in Central Park, to be in my ownâ¨apartment, to be in a million places in New York, and yet I think the thingâ¨that gives me the most pleasure of all is a stroll up Madison Avenue or alongâ¨Fifth Avenue or along some interesting street in the boroughs, Atlantic Avenueâ¨in Brooklyn, or Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, or a neighborhood street in someâ¨other part of the city.â¨â¨The streets ultimately make the city, even more than the buildings do, and youâ¨know, Louis Kahn, the great Philadelphia architect, once said, `A street isâ¨a room by agreement.' And it's a very beautiful and poetic way to look at theâ¨street and the city. The city is a place of agreement, in a way, a place ofâ¨diversity, a place that we all share, that emphasizes and builds on ourâ¨commonality. And when we are faced with the horror of terrorism, it makes itâ¨very hard to express those things, and we're forced to put them aside for theâ¨moment, I hope just briefly, while we deal with what we would have to call,â¨you know, emergency priorities.â¨â¨But ultimately, terrorism and the city do not go very well together, not justâ¨because of the risk of a city being a target, as New York was on 9/11. Theâ¨whole idea of security leads people to fear being out in public, and being outâ¨in public, walking on the streets, being surprised by new visual experiences,â¨by chance encounters, by seeing a million things you haven't seen before, byâ¨seeing wonderful things that you love that you have seen before, by constantâ¨visual stimulation, those things are all about freedom and looseness and theâ¨pleasures of walking around, which is the ultimate urban pleasure, more thanâ¨any other, and they're very tough to do when you're cowering in fear.â¨â¨BOGAEV: I want to thank you so much. I really enjoyed talking to you today.â¨â¨Mr. GOLDBERGER: Great. Well, thank you. It's been fun.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for The New Yorker. His latestâ¨article about the rebuilding of ground zero appears in this week's edition ofâ¨the magazine.â¨â¨(Soundbite of piano music)â¨â¨BOGAEV: Ken Werner playing Gershwin.â¨â¨Coming up, a review of two new DVDs that feature hip-hop. This is FRESH AIR.â¨â¨(Soundbite of music)â¨â¨* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *â¨â¨Review: New DVDs "Wild Style" and "Scratch," each documenting theâ¨history of hip-hopâ¨BARBARA BOGAEV, host:â¨â¨In just 20 years, hip-hop has gone from an underground scene in New York to aâ¨global culture phenomenon. In 1982, Charlie Ahearn's feature "Wild Style"â¨caught rappers, graffiti artists, break dancers and deejays just before theâ¨crossover began. In 2001, Doug Pray's documentary "Scratch" profiled aâ¨current generation of deejays who look back to the early days of hip-hop forâ¨inspiration. Both films are now out on DVD, and critic Milo Miles says theyâ¨show how much has and has not changed about hip-hop culture.â¨â¨MILO MILES reporting:â¨â¨In the documentary "Scratch," several hip-hop deejays, or as they now like toâ¨be called, turntableists, pay homage to the vintage movie, "Wild Style." Thisâ¨seems odd, at first. Deejays are not that prominent in the old film. Butâ¨then you realize that almost everything about hip-hop culture from the earlyâ¨days has been transformed, or vanished, except deejays.â¨â¨The so-called plot of "Wild Style" is such a throwaway, you only need to watchâ¨it once. What makes the DVD edition valuable and repeatable is the addedâ¨commentary by director Charlie Ahearn and collaborator Freddy Braithwaite.â¨Braithwaite, a graffiti artist known as Fab Five Freddy, had a vision of whatâ¨hip-hop could become, and he was well ahead of the crowd. As you look at theâ¨bombed-out Bronx of the early '80s and the graffiti-coated subway cars, Ahearnâ¨and Freddy have to remind first-time viewers what the situation was then.â¨â¨(Soundbite from "Wild Style" DVD)â¨â¨Unidentified Man #1: You know what I wanted? I wanted to talk a little bitâ¨about avant garde art and how deeply involved both of us were, what was theâ¨cutting edge of experimental art at that time, experimental music...â¨â¨Unidentified Man #2: Right.â¨â¨Unidentified Man #1: ...and how this film was kind of an expression of thatâ¨for both of us.â¨â¨Unidentified Man #2: Yeah, that's true, because also at the time, when weâ¨were making "Wild Style," you guys got to remember if you heard any rapâ¨records at this time, you might have heard the Sugar Hill Gang, but rap wasâ¨still--was not even a blip on the map. I remember when we would go to meetâ¨people and try to get money to make this film, so many people laughed at us,â¨and we, you know, did everything we were supposed to do, but nobody wanted toâ¨give us any money, and the money that we got to really get this film rolling,â¨ironically, came from the other side of the Atlantic.â¨â¨MILES: Of course, the first thing you notice is that graffiti is so gone fromâ¨hip-hop nowadays. Fab Five Freddy's dream of graffiti being legitimized byâ¨downtown art galleries is barely a memory. Even break dancing only gets theâ¨occasional nod anymore. With the overwhelming rise of rappers and theirâ¨producers, it looked like deejays were as extinct as spray-painters. But aâ¨new generation of deejays got access to improved, more sophisticatedâ¨equipment. They soon discovered that spinning and scratching recordsâ¨delivered a style, a sound and a sensibility that just couldn't be duplicatedâ¨by studio machines.â¨â¨San Francisco's Invisible Scratch Pickles were the first to make modernâ¨deejay techniques part of their act. Here Deejay Shadow explains from theâ¨documentary, "Scratch."â¨â¨(Soundbite of "Scratch" DVD)â¨â¨SHADOW: The Pickles were the first to take the secrecy out of deejaying,â¨because a lot of hip-hop deejaying was based on covering the labels, so thatâ¨nobody knew what you had, not revealing your tricks, and I think the Picklesâ¨were the first people to just be, like, `Hey, here's exactly how to do what weâ¨do. We want you to go out and do it better so that we can learn from you.'â¨That to me was like--that was a giant step forward, and they were so far aheadâ¨of the time that people--a lot of times, crowds would just be like, `Yeah.'â¨â¨MILES: Doug Pray's first documentary, "Hype," chronicled the downfall of theâ¨Seattle grunge scene, but with "Scratch," he's interested in resurrection. Itâ¨seems to be part documentary and part instructional video. The message isâ¨that these guys are just like you. You could do this stuff, too, and we'llâ¨show you how. The young turntableists are very aware they have the homeâ¨basement and local neighborhood vibe that rap superstars spend big money toâ¨simulate in movies.â¨â¨"Wild Style" is an almost improvised movie that hoped to be historical.â¨"Scratch" is a movie that hopes to preserve the history of improvisation. Itâ¨includes a brief segment of "Wild Style" that features ground-breaking deejayâ¨Grandmaster Flash at work on the turntables. The new turntableists are moreâ¨studious, almost like a martial arts brotherhood, though they are just asâ¨likely to think of themselves as science-fiction superheroes.â¨â¨What a switch from the old school. The star of "Wild Style," Lee Quinones,â¨was not a professional actor, and he always looked like he was wondering ifâ¨this project was a good idea. After all, it might mess up his career as aâ¨graffiti artist. The turntableists have no such doubts as they display theirâ¨supple wrists and darting fingers on the mixing boards. They may not be atâ¨the top for long, but they will not be forgotten, and by the end of "Scratch,"â¨you will be convinced that the turntable has become a musical instrumentâ¨suitable for the long haul.â¨â¨(Soundbite of "Scratch")â¨â¨Unidentified Group: (Rapping) Come on, y'all. Come on. Yo! Now you knowâ¨us, but it's not the cold crush. Four MCs, so we ain't the furious. Not theâ¨Force MCs or the three from treacherous. Just a blast from the past from theâ¨moment we bust. For whatever we touch, we hope platinum plus, but if our shitâ¨go rust, still in God we trust. 'Cause it's the second coming, displayingâ¨rhymes so stunning and keep it running and give a shout out to London. Toâ¨keep it on, uh, let's still perform till the early morn, sunset till dawn. Iâ¨got a word abundance, hold pens by the hundreds. Top speed guaranteed. Weâ¨still run it. I be bombastic with my terror tactics. Why you acting plastic,â¨treating all your fans like fanatics? We be the upper pair coming air tightâ¨like Tupperware. Fuck a fear, press your luck and beware the brigadier. DJâ¨is spinning the records that make up the music, so people can focus wheneverâ¨the mic has been passed to me.â¨â¨BOGAEV: Milo Miles is a contributing writer to Rolling Stone. He reviewedâ¨the 1982 feature film "Wild Style" and the documentary "Scratch." Both areâ¨now out on DVD.â¨â¨(Credits)â¨â¨BOGAEV: For Terry Gross, I'm Barbara Bogaev.