December 10, 2001
p e r a n o v a
November 11 and 17 Notes
Project Development Documentation
D e s c r i p t i o n
original Ground Zero plot is replaced with
new structures. The footprints of the two
towers are clearly delineated in a terraced,
landscaped open plaza. In one stands a large
sculpture of the ruins in the center of which
is a simple memorial to those who died and
those they left behind. These ruins lead downward
into and experiential museum of the tragedy.
In the other footprint, rises a crystal shaped
cathedral dedicated to all faiths and all
philosophies of humankind. This facility is
a contemplation of the beliefs of mankind
- a place to honor them and seek a greater
resolution than has been achieved in the past.
the center of the Plaza is a single large
structure. It is a 26 story sphere suspended
within an 70 story tensegrity structure. The
tensegrity structure reaches to the site perimeter
in three places. Around it, on three and a
half sides, are a number of interconnected
landscaped terraces and buildings reaching
over 80 stories at the high point. Beneath
the sphere and plaza are a number of facilities
that underpin the function of the entire site:
research facilities, September 11 experiential
museum, Navigation Center. The Plaza has places
for quite siting, gathering, music and other
public functions. A variety of shops, offices
and businesses ring the plaza on the lower
levels of the of the perimeter buildings.
These express a multicultural world.
suspended Sphere shows Planet Earth in high
resolution lights - slowly rotating with the
ebb and flow of goods, information and the migrations
of humans, animals and plants simulated on its
surface. The metabolism of GAIA.
The consequences of weather, human ideas and
actions will be shown. By standing under the
Sphere, the reality of an emerging world can
be perceived. Wireless electronic devices will
allow individuals to interact with the Sphere
in various ways - all this is but an invitation
to the activities that take place within
the Sphere and below it.
R E M I S E
a community of people - or a nation - responds
to a crises is more significant to their future
than the crises itself.
be viable - and sustainable - the response
must be appropriate
to the peoples past, present and
future. Timidity and conventionality -
or defensive retreat - can be as harmful as
thoughtless reaction, overblown posturing
and reckless action.
takes time - and thought - for a community
to recover from a blow and develop a legitimate
model of their post-crises future. In a crises,
tools are required. So is art.
of architecture expresses, in concrete terms,
the values, aspirations and spirit
of a culture. It EMBODIES idea. At
best, it can lead
into the future.
existed at the World Trade Center failed.
This is not to criticize it. It does not matter
that the Center was destroyed by a deliberate
act. It does not matter that the buildings
performed extraordinarily well - beyond expectation
given the circumstances - allowing many to
escape. This Center - the symbol and tool
of the industrial economy - was taken out
by a distributed network organization that
did not recognize its legitimacy.
It became a target because of its vulnerbility
and the nature of its centralized utility.
It failed as a system - not in its parts.
It will not do to put back what was there
only different or stronger. It will not do
to dishonor what was, either. The APPROPRIATE
RESPONSE will be to rebuild the FUNCTION
in the form required by where we as a society
are going - not where we have been.
September 11, the power of a nacent global
economy was used against itself. An appropriate
response will be to build something that will
only be made stronger in any circumstance
attempting its future destruction. This
means that the function must be both distributed
and replaceable. It also means that it has
to practice reciprocal transparency (David
Brin) on all levels of its operation.
It has to be judged more valuable and less
dangerous intact than destroyed. This
strategy of defense must be built
in to its core design.
was at The World Trade Center symbolized
the last economy - the economy that is in
the beginning of transformation. It stood
for all that was great and excessive
about that economy. It displayed what is intrinsically
vulnerable about its very economic architecture.
Some want to rebuild what was there. Some
want to dedicate the site as a mass grave
and keep it sacred. Others, to build towers
of light. These are worthy perspectives. My
view is that they all fall short. To be appropriate,
we must respond with vigor and in a way that
challenges us to reach beyond ourselves. We
must extent every frontier and remake the
state-of-the-art in every realm. AND,
we must produce an integrated symbol and operating
system of our best aspirations for a future
solution and challenge that is offered here
is designed to FOCUS the energies of
our society. This concept is a solution
to a geopolitical event. It creates a problem
of which the experience of solving
it is as important as the end result itself.
At first glance, the demands of this project
go off the scale in every realm of human expertise:
group process, materials engineering, financial
models, knowledge management, technology integration,
building methods, safety - on and on. This
is true. It is also true that the knowledge
and capability to solve all these problems
exists. This project is DESIGNED to
act as an integrator of the vast research
and development that is taking place today
and SHOW that it can all be integrated
into a great work of social art that is an
essential operating artifact of the emerging
Clements Came up with the name Speranova which
is Latin for New Hopes. This may
be just the right name for the project. New
hope. Hope, interestingly enough was the theme
of the opening session of the World economic
Forum in New York. There must be more than
traditional hope. The must be
new hope PRACTICED. Speranova is about
practicing and new way of working, a new way
of collaborating and new way of forging a
are two aspects of the Speranova PROGRAM
: One relates to the purpose of this project
in the larger social-economic-political context.
The second relates to the program elements
that reflect the direct on-site functions
and their intended operations. These two elements
are mutually supporting and one does not make
sense without reference to the other. However,
in terms of design and long term development,
they are best explained as distinct. In reality,
both aspects of the Program make up the soul
of this project.
the social-economic-political sense, Speranova
has to clearly express and demonstrate certain
values: openness, grandeur, inclusiveness,
forward leading, sacredness.
terms of on-site functionality, Speranove
has a wide range of Programmatic demands.
It is a sacred place. It is a monument. It
is an information and economic engine. It
is a destination. It is a work of art. It
is a machine.
e s i g n
S t r a t e g i e s
structure has to have the strength the weight
and load bearing characteristics of an airplane.
This means that its performance must
be vehicle-like - able to withstand stresses
far in excess of a traditional building. In
the case of structural failure, it must be
programmed to respond in a dynamic
way not a brittle and catastrophic way.
Lovins talks about the engineering concept
of graceful failure. Since any
structure or system will fail, under the appropriate
circumstances, the idea is to design it to
fail well. As example, fire destroys
structure causing collapse. One of the better
strategies for damping out fire is to deny
it air. Unfortunately, most ways to do this
also kill people. A graceful solution
might be people fitting oxygen masks that
deploy in the necessary circumstances allowing
the general air to be suppressed. Buildings
are designed NOT to fail. They resist
but die abruptly. If they are
design to fail progressively,
with people protection strategies built in
to the equation, better results may be accomplished.
Speranova is to be a symbol of and example
of a sustainable 21st Century, it must break
new ground in the energy realm. The challenge
to make a building of this scale and density
of use energy self sufficient will driven
innovation in two directions: aggressive conservation
and on site generation and storage.
compression members of the tensegrity structure
will be large on a structure of this scale.
They, themselves will be geodesic in their
configuration. Also, they will house many
functions. Among these, will be solar shades
that will deploy to shield the plaza and the
sphere at certain times of the day. This is
to control heat gain and to make it possible
for viewers from outside to see better detail
of what is being displayed on the sphere.
These shades will also be covered with solar
cells providing electricity for turning water
into hydrogen. These sails will also provide
a visual mass to give visual substance
to an otherwise gossamer structure.
stepped terraces provide a site of almost
total park and at the same time abundant building
area for shops, offices and public spaces.
The taller building surrounding three quarters
of the parameter will also be set back and
landscaped. The entire setting for the suspended
dome will be green.
February 19, 2007:
Here we are five and a half years later and it seems the architectural wars are progressing about the same as the so called “war on terror.” At least it is beginning to be seen that the “rebuilding” designs, to date, are mostly looking backward and not to any future worthy of us and that the dual aspect of the “Attraction” of the building, under construction, to be attacked again is only exceeded by its defensive nature. Here is an intelligent assessment to what is going on: Nicolai Ouroussoff has written a piece in the New Your times called A Tower That Sends a Message of Anxiety, Not Ambition link: a tower that sends a message of anxiety]. Bravo. The piece also rightly identifies that it is money making that is driving the process - not what the rhetoric might have lead people to think. There is so much wrong with this project that it is almost impossible to untangle it. Wrong paradigm; wrong process; wrong economics; wrong design/build/use model. Wrong. Have we learned nothing from this tragedy? Will we take no responsibility for what happened? What an opportunity lost to show the true spirit of our Nation. Instead we build a monument to State Capitalism in the name of freedom like an old tired bully who is convinced he can kick ass one more time.
John Poparad posted these links on the Weak Signal Research site today:
Read them and see if any of this relates to the attitude we display and the position we take and the symbol we erect as we proceed with this project as it it design in its total architecture, social, economic, political and physical.
December 13, 2001
Palo Alto, California
voice of this document:
VISION PHILOSOPHY PROGRAM
December 13, 2001
February 10, 2002
20011213.111915.mt 200112 16.257410.mt
• 20011219.291872.mt 20020210.222200.mt •
• 20070219.509100.mt •
this document is about 25% finished)
Matt Taylor 2001, 2002, 2007