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Snøhetta to build WTC Museum

Vision alone was good enough for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation when it decided the company that will build the new museum on Ground Zero. The Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta got the job without presenting so much as a drawing

22/02/2005 :: The Norwegian firm beat 60 other architecture offices for the important and prestigious job of creating a memorial museum at the highly symbolic site. It is estimated that the construction will cost around $200 million.

"Big boost"
The museum will be built in what is known as the footsteps of the former World Trade Center. The land where the Twin Towers stood until September 11, 2001 has been declared a protected area, and the museum will be one of only two buildings placed on the Memorial site itself. The other building, a theater, will be designed by the architects of Gehry Partners.

"This is unbelievable," exclaimed Snøhetta CEO Ole Gustavsen when the Norwegian newspaper VG called him with the good news on October 12.

"This is incredible news and a big boost for our company," he continued.

Snøhetta became an internationally renowned name when the Norwegian-based company were chosen to build the new library in Alexandria. The company will also be responsible for constructing the new opera building in Oslo.

No drawings
The task of building the World Trade Center Museum, one of the most prestigious architectural contests in the world this year, only adds to the company's reputation.

"We'll head for New York tomorrow," CEO Gustavsen told VG. "We'll place eight to ten people on this job immediately."

Around 50 people, some of them American, work for the Norwegian company.

The architects have not issued a single drawing for the competition. The plans and visions they presented to the Lower Manhattan Development Group during an interview in New York was enough to get them the sought-after job.

A few details seem clear, however: The building will most likely have eight or nine floors, and its total size will lie around 25,000 square meters.

Pleased politicians
In a statement, New York Mayor called the selection of Snøhetta "another important milestone in the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan."

Governor George Pataki was no less positive:

"This cultural complex will be sure to draw millions of New Yorkers and visitors from around the world," he said.

"Building a cultural center in the heart of Lower Manhattan is a key part of rebuilding downtown and a fitting tribute to all the heroes we lost. These dynamic architects will design fitting homes for the world class cultural institutions which will be located at the World Trade Center site."

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A memorial park will surround the "footprints" of the former WTC buildings. A museum and a theater will be the only buildings on the historic and symbolic ground.Photo: www.renewnyc.com

Snøhetta built the new library in Alexandria, Egypt.Photo: www.snohetta.com

The new opera building in Oslo will also be built by Snøhetta.Photo: www.snohetta.com