‘Twin tower’ skyscraper design touches a nerve
posted at 2:12 pm on December 10, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
On paper “The Cloud,” a residential high-rise project planned for Seoul, South Korea, sounds harmless enough. The design, by Dutch design firm MVRDV, calls for a pair of slender, straight-sided towers connected by a sky bridge at the 27th floor. Except for the height of the towers—one will rise to 984 feet, the other 853 feet—the description could apply to any number of extant structures, most notably the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
However, the design element that sets this one apart from others—a whimsical “pixelated cloud” of terraced apartments jutting out from the buildings—has become the center of a controversy. To many viewing this architect’s rendering, the “cloud” conjures up disquieting memories of smoke billowing outward from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2011.
The project is still on schedule for completion in 2015. Yet, the negative reaction to the design has been so widespread that MVRDV felt the need to release a statement of apology that reads in part:
MVRDV regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud projects evokes regarding 9/11.
The Cloud was designed based on parameters such as sunlight, outside spaces, living quality for inhabitants and the city. It is one of many projects in which MVRDV experiments with a raised city level to reinvent the often solitary typology of the skyscraper. It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt, it was not our intention.
In fairness to the architect, Daniel Libeskind, the similarities between The Cloud and the Twin Towers on 9/11 is less apparent from perspectives other than ground level, as the images in this slideshow reveal. Libeskind, should the name fail to ring a bell, was the designer of the original “master plan” for the reconstruction of Ground Zero.
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