NEW YORK (Jan. 31) - Two proposals to replace the World Trade Center with skyscrapers even bigger than the ones destroyed on Sept. 11 have emerged as leading contenders in the ground zero design competition.
Officials with the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and other agencies will meet on Monday and are expected to choose two finalists out of the nine designs unveiled Dec. 18. A final choice is expected in February.
A source familiar with the rebuilding effort said development corporation staff and board members favored latticework twin towers proposed by the THINK team of architects, and a plan from Berlin-based Daniel Libeskind that would use the foundation walls of the original towers.
Each plan features structures that would surpass Malaysia's 1,483-foot Petronas Twin Towers as the tallest in the world.
Some people who live and work around ground zero have expressed fear that erecting such giantskyscrapers would invite another terrorist attack. Others have wondered whether anyone would want to work in such a building.
The THINK team, led by New York-based architects Rafael Vinoly and Frederic Schwartz, proposed the World Cultural Center, whose lacy 1,665-foot towers resemble the skeletons of the original 1,350-foot twin towers.
Libeskind, who designed Berlin's Jewish Museum, proposed starkly geometrical buildings clustered around the foundations of the fallen towers and topped by a 1,776-foot spire.
The two designs have won critical acclaim since their unveiling.
The Libeskind plan was endorsed this week by a community group called Rebuild Downtown Our Town.
``We realized that this was the only design that spoke to us,'' said Beverly Willis, a founder of the group and president of the Architecture Research Institute.