Christian Long

David Rockwell: Builds on Ground Zero

In TED Talks on May 2, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Reflection by MELISSA H.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

David Rockwell:  Builds on Ground Zero

Just five months after the terrible collapse of the twin towers, there is already talk of what is in store next for this location. David Rockwell gives a talk about what he did to help families remember their lost ones in a respectable way.

Rockwell tells us that only days after the fall, architects came together and were talking about rebuilding. Some say they wanted to rebuild the towns as they were but fifty stories higher. Rockwell is used to designing people for their wants, but this time he started out by the needs. On a fresh wound they couldn’t immediately start building on top of ground zero.

They came up with a plan to have a deck that over looks the scene where people can really see what it looks like and leave memorials and it basically a huge burial. This sounds like a fairly easy project, but it really cost a privately funded group a half of a million dollars. David didn’t want this place to be called a memorial, he wanted it to be a place where people reflect and remember their love ones that they lost. This was suppose to be a quiet place to remember those victims.

The more intense platform for the families of the lost would be thirteen feet from the ground and made of humble material like plywood and scaffolding. When standing on the platform, you get the three- hundred sixty view. They needed the design of this to be quick, cheap, safe, respectful, and flexible. When at one of these four platforms around the site, it really was meant to change your perspective of what Ground Zero really is.
Rockwell is known very well for many of his projects. He has built Aloft hotels, Nokia Theatre Time Squares, and many more. He was asked if he had to have a new way of thinking during this platform project because it was only temporary. Rockwell answers that he didn’t. “And in terms of the temporary nature of it, our goal was not to create something that would be there longer than it needed to be.”

I find it very interesting how Rockwell went through this whole project and accomplished everything that needed to be while struggling with money issues and corporations. David is just a genuinely gracious person who is willing to give people their needs and their wants.


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