THINK's idea was to put American culture at WTC site

February 06, 2003|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN ARCHITECTURE CRITIC

Baltimore's lone participant in the effort to rebuild Lower Manhattan is still in the running.

Roland Park resident Janet Marie Smith is a member of one of the two design teams that were named finalists this week in the international competition held to produce a master plan to guide reconstruction of the 16-acre World Trade Center site destroyed by terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Smith is the vice president of planning and development for Baltimore's Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse and previously held the same title with the Baltimore Orioles. She also has been a planner with the Battery Park City redevelopment authority in Lower Manhattan.

Smith is a member of the team called THINK, along with architects Rafael Vinoly, Frederic Schwartz, David Rockwell, Shigeru Ban and others. She was asked to join by Schwartz, a New York architect who assembled the team and knew of her experience planning projects of various scales involving the public realm.

THINK proposed a World Cultural Center made of two latticelike towers rising above the footprints of the fallen World Trade Center towers. The other finalist is a group headed by Berlin architect Daniel Libeskind.

"Our thesis was to restore the skyline with something that celebrates American culture, recognizing that there was not likely to be the market or desire from people to be in a tall office building on that site," Smith said.

"I'm flattered to be on the team, she added. "It's exciting to work with people as creative as Rafael Vinoly and Frederic Schwartz. It's also exhilarating to see this kind of imagination and creativity borne out of tragedy."

The teams have been asked to develop their proposals further over the next three weeks and were to receive more instructions today. A decision by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. is expected by the end of the month.

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