Twin Towers 2

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Twin Towers II
Model of Gardner WTC design.jpg
Pictured: The proposed World Trade Center site model. The new Twin Towers stand beside the memorials, which would have used the surviving exterior panels of the original towers.
Former namesPlan of the People (original)
World Trade Center Phoenix
Alternative namesTwin Towers 2, New Twin Towers, Trump Twin Towers
General information
TypeOffice, observation, communication
Town or cityManhattan, New York City
CountryUnited States
Architectural1 and 2 WTC: 1,475 ft (450 m)
Antenna spire1 WTC: 1,858 ft (566 m)
Technical details
Floor count1 and 2 WTC: 115

3, 4, and 5 WTC: 12

7 WTC: 52
Design and construction
ArchitectHerbert Belton
Architecture firmTeam Twin Towers, Inca
EngineerKenneth Gardner
Official website
a. The organization was composed of architects and designers, led by Belton and Gardner.

The Twin Towers II (also known as Twin Towers 2, New Twin Towers, Trump Twin Towers[a] and World Trade Center Phoenix[b]) was a proposed twin-towered skyscraper complex which would have been located at the World Trade Center site in Manhattan, New York City.[3] The proposed complex would have replaced the former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center destroyed in the September 11 attacks, restoring the skyline of the city to its former state.[4] The main design for the proposed complex would feature new landmark twin towers, nearly identical to the originals designed by Minoru Yamasaki,[5] though it would feature 115 stories—5 floors taller than the originals, among other differences.[6] Beside the towers, an above-ground memorial would have occupied the footprints of the original towers.[7] The new site would also have featured three 12-story buildings, replacing the original 3, 4 and 5 World Trade Center.[8] The complex was designed and developed by American architect Herbert Belton[9] and American engineer Kenneth Gardner,[10] and sponsored by Donald Trump.[11][12]

Background (2001–2003)[edit]

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, several ideas about building new twin towers were discussed online and in the media.[13] After the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) launched the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition in 2002, seven architectural groups were commissioned by the organization to create a proposal to restore the Manhattan skyline. Out of the seven, four groups proposed building twin towers though they were not identical to the original design by Minoru Yamasaki.[13] After Daniel Libeskind's Memory Foundations design was favored and then chosen by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation in 2003, the proposed twin-towered designs were rejected.[13] The result of the competition and the design chosen by the LMDC was criticized by the public, including architectural critic Herbert Muschamp as well as Donald Trump.[14][15] The twin-towered Team Twin Towers design was planned to be entered into the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, but was unable to complete the design before the competition closed.[16]

Initial emergence (2004)[edit]

The initial planning of the project first surfaced in the media in 2004 with the group behind the project called Team Twin Towers, Inc., composed of activists and designers collaborating on the early design of the model.[17] The team was initially led by television producer and co-founder of the team Randy Warner, and the design led by engineer Kenneth "Ken" Gardner and architect Herbert Belton, who was an architect for the original World Trade Center.[17] Their spokesman was Jonathan Hakala, a venture capitalist who had been a tenant on the 77th floor of the original North Tower.[16] The project design was called the "Plan of the People", and would be identical to the original Yamasaki design.[17]

The new design would feature a steel skin built in two layers–a tube within a tube–that has heavier columns and better structural support than the original, and it would call for larger windows for comfort and improved fireproofing.[17] The memorial would feature two 5-story memorials that would occupy the original footprints of the Twin Towers, made of the original steel skin of the collapsed towers and replicated steel. The victims' names etched in granite.[17] "It stands for resolve, it stands for strength, it stands for renewal", says engineer of the project Ken Gardner. "To see the towers return would have an inspirational impact on the population. It's a living memorial, and I think it's more powerful than pretending 9/11 never happened."[17] The main twin towers originally would feature a 500-foot-high mast on top of the North Tower, which would bring its total height to 1,888 feet, which at the time would have made it the tallest building in the world surpassing the 1,667-foot-high Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan.[16] The two towers were planned to be 112 stories tall.[18]

Team Twin Towers was one of several groups pressuring government and development officials to alter the reconstruction plans of the Daniel Libeskind master plan chosen by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.[16] Joanna Rose, spokeswoman for the LMDC, which is coordinating reconstruction at the site, said the organization intended to go forward with its chosen plan. Randy Warner, co-founder of Team Twin Towers said: "As long as we haven't started digging a hole in the ground, there's room for discussion."[16]

Team Twin Towers, on February 18, 2004, unveiled their architectural model of new twin towers at a news conference at the Marriott Financial Center Hotel (now New York Marriott Downtown) near the World Trade Center site.[19] Team Twin Towers spokesman Jonathan Hakala says the original Twin Towers "were among Earth's few 'instantly recognizable' landmarks."[19] and "It was a magnificent structure to see going up", recalls Artie Vignapiano, who was a Port Authority landscape planner as the original World Trade Center was built.[19] "When I worked on the 74th floor of Tower One, I used to tell people, 'You know what I get paid for? To look outside my window at the Statue of Liberty.'" He then went on to say, 'All of the people who worked on the buildings—10 out of 10—want them back.'"[19]

Later in February businessman Donald Trump appeared on CNN show Larry King Live with Larry King.[20] During a talk radio broadcast, a caller asked whether Trump was involved or going to be involved with the "new twin towers".[20] Though Trump at the time was not involved with the Team Twin Towers project, he became a sponsor of the project's design in the later year(s). Trump said the following about the Childs-Libeskind design of One World Trade Center:

It's in the hands of a man named Larry Silverstein, who's a friend of mine, who's a great developer in New York and a really good guy. And I hate the design, and I don't think Larry likes the design. It was foisted upon him. It's a 50-story building that looks like it's 120 stories. It's a skeleton. And that's the last thing we need in New York is a skeleton of – representing the World Trade Center. I think that it is not an appropriate design. I don't like it. But Larry's a good developer. He'll get it built, I think. And it's tough. You know, it depends on the market.[20]

Early development (2005–2007)[edit]

Early design for the proposed complex, circa 2007.

In 2005, publicity for the project increased, with businessman Donald Trump officially supporting and sponsoring the project. Support for the project increased due to the criticism of the Childs-Libeskind design[21] and accusations from 2002 revived against former New York Governor George Pataki, accused of cronyism for supposedly using his influence to get the winning architect's design picked as a personal favor for his friend and campaign contributor, Ron Lauder.[22] In May 2005, Trump appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss the proposed Childs-Libeskind Freedom Tower design.[23] While Matthews asks Trump about whether an empty site is better than the proposed design, he quickly responds, criticizing Daniel Libeskind, one of the building's lead architects, "It was designed by an egghead architect who really doesn't have a lot of experience of designing something like this. And it's just a terrible design."[23] Trump later goes on to say that he doesn't "even blame the architect."[23] Trump, who in the later month(s) later sponsors the project, says that there is "not much of a role I can take." in response to a question by Matthews. "What I want to see built is the World Trade Center stronger and maybe a story taller. And that's what everybody wants."[23]

While the project was gaining publicity due to Donald Trump's sponsorship of it, former Borough president of The Bronx, Fernando Ferrer, supported the plan to build new twin towers, saying that it is "very interesting and it should be considered."[24] adding that the new signature building shouldn't look "cowardly." Before the statement, Ferrer issued a rebuilding plan that called to spread out the 10 million square feet of office space around the five boroughs so it "decentralized."[24] Ferrer spokeswoman Jen Bluestein said that "The reason, he said then, was to create back-office space to help the boroughs outside Manhattan. He also didn't want to give the terrorists another target." she continued to explain, "Fernando Ferrer has always believed that the mayor's responsibility was to both rebuild critical mass at Ground Zero and, using existing hubs, expand office space throughout the five boroughs. Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg has managed to do neither".[24]

Greg Manning, who worked in the original World Trade Center along with his wife Lauren, wrote an article in The New York Times supporting the Twin Towers II project.[25] Greg worked for Euro Brokers on the 84th floor of the South Tower and Lauren was a partner for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of the North Tower.[25] Manning was late, so he was not in his office when United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the building, destroying the Euro Brokers offices. His wife Lauren was burnt by the fireball that blew out the lobby of the North Tower after American Airlines Flight 11 hit the building.[25] Greg said the following about the project:

When my wife and I visit or pass by the site today, we may gape at the emptiness but our gaze is drawn upward. We imagine things as they were, the dead and the injured still living and working above. Many bereft families view the footprints as the sacred repose of their loved ones, yet with the greatest tenderness and love for those lost and injured, we suggest that to return to the sacred space, we need to return to the sky.[25]

Trump, on May 18, 2005, held a press conference at his residence on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, to address the proposed Twin Towers II design.[26] Along with him was engineer Ken Gardner and architect Herbert Belton, Trump presented the Team Twin Towers designed twin-towered complex model. The Freedom Tower plan, according to Trump, "looks like a junkyard, a series of broken-down angles that don't match each other. And we have to live with this for hundreds of years? It is the worst pile of crap architecture I've ever seen in my life."[26] Though Trump was supporting the proposed twin-towered project, he was leaving the decision up to Larry Silverstein, which his company Silverstein Properties was the lease holder of the site. "I only have the power of persuasion", Trump said.[26] At the press conference, he read from a letter sent to him by Daniel Libeskind, whose plan was planned to be built. Trump quoted Libeskind as saying the shape of the tower was "the product of David Childs", while he wanted a more slender, classical tower set back farther from the street.[26] Libeskind added in a statement Wednesday: "The site plan is not just about commercial buildings. The memorial is its crucial centerpiece. It is there for a reason."[26] Trump, finishing his speech, said that "If we rebuild the World Trade Center in the form of a skeleton, the terrorists win." and that if tenants could not be found for the project, to build a memorial park instead.[26]

A final design for the "Freedom Tower" was formally unveiled on June 28, 2005. To address security issues raised by the New York City Police Department, a 187-foot (57 m) concrete base was added to the design in April of that year. The design originally included plans to clad the base in glass prisms in order to address criticism that the building might have looked uninviting and resembled a "concrete bunker".[27] Construction of the Freedom Tower began in April 2006, which jeopardized the Twin Towers II project from being built on the site.[28]

Later development (2008–2009)[edit]

One World Trade Center, the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex, in 2015.

Criticism arose in 2008 that the rebuilding of the World Trade Center was taking longer than expected.[29] Though now-renamed One World Trade Center (formerly Freedom Tower) was under construction as well as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, it was still proposed to halt One World Trade Center and build the Twin Towers II project.[29] "Seeing them go up could be as powerful as seeing them go down." Ken Gardner stated, engineer of the project.[29]

Members of the Twin Towers Alliance, an organization supporting the rebuilding of new twin towers, gathered in July 2008 in Central Park to rally for the cause.[30] Margaret Donovan, a graphic designer and organizer for the Twin Towers Alliance, criticized the city for allegedly "not paying attention to New Yorkers' wishes for redevelopment designs."[30] Donovan worked in the South Tower the year before the attacks. Though One World Trade Center was under construction, she stated that "We can still have the World Trade Center we deserve", adding that "It's not wishful thinking. It's just common sense, and it's not too late."[30]

Project abandonment (2010–present)[edit]

Since 2008, news of the project, as well as if it could still be built, had not been mentioned. Due to the completion of One World Trade Center and Four World Trade Center, as well as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum since then, it is now impossible to build the project at the World Trade Center site.[31]

Since the project had been considered moot, Ken Gardner, the engineer of the project, made a comment that he considered voting for Donald Trump, who is now the 45th President of the United States.[32] Bjarke Ingels, who was selected as the architect for Two World Trade Center's new design, stated that he would have rebuilt the World Trade Center if it were up to him.[33] He commented, stating that "They were such a big part of the identity of Manhattan. When you watch Tony Soprano drive out of the Holland Tunnel, he can see the towers in his rearview mirror. They looked very strong."[33]


  1. ^ Donald Trump was the main sponsor of the project. Thus, it was nicknamed Trump Twin Towers by media.[1]
  2. ^ Kenneth Gardner states that Jonathan Hakala, venture capitalist who was a tenant on the 77th floor of One World Trade Center and him "call it the WTC Phoenix",[2]


  1. ^ Walker, Hunter (12 September 2015). "Donald Trump thought the plan to rebuild the Twin Towers was 'disgusting' -- here's what he wanted to do". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  2. ^ Halle, Howard (June 2004). "Towering ambition". TimeOut New York (453). p. 8. Archived from the original on 19 June 2004. Retrieved 10 July 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Joint Statement of 'Twin Towers II' and the Twin Towers Alliance". NBC2. New York. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  4. ^ Hirschkorn, Phil; Rivera, Lauren (19 May 2005). "Trump pushes own Ground Zero plan". CNN. New York. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  5. ^ Chung, Jen (18 May 2005). "Trump's WTC Solution: If it's Broke, Build it Again". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 15 September 2016. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  6. ^ "What the new Twin Towers could be" (video). MSNBC. New York. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  7. ^ "World Trade Center memorial design and proposal" (Fig 1.). Make New York New York Again. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  8. ^ "World Trade Center site plan comparisons and details" (Fig. 3). Make New York, New York Again. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  9. ^ Madore, James T. (1 December 2005). "H. Belton, 68, architect who proposed new Twin Towers" (archive). Newsday. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  10. ^ Panero, James (16 March 2005). "Should the World Trade Center be rebuilt?". The New Criterion. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  11. ^ "President-Elect Trump". The Wall Street Journal. November 9, 2016. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  12. ^ "Trump: Twin Towers Should Be Rebuilt". Fox News. New York. 18 May 2005. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  13. ^ a b c Hirschkorn, Phil (27 February 2003). "Winning WTC plan is taller than twin towers". CNN. New York. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  14. ^ "Architects Buzzing Over Muschamp's Flip-Flop On Libeskind". Archlog. 7 February 2003. Retrieved 13 July 2016. It [Libeskind's idea] is an astonishingly tasteless idea. It has produced a predictably kitsch result.
  15. ^ Gelinas, Nicole (7 April 2005). "Rebuild the Towers". New York Post. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  16. ^ a b c d e "Group proposes rebuilding Twin Towers". CNN. New York. 20 February 2004. Archived from the original on 6 August 2004. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Lubell, Sam (10 March 2004). "Team Designing and Promoting New Design For World Trade Center". Architectural Record. McGraw Hill Construction. Archived from the original on 11 June 2004. Retrieved 10 July 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  18. ^ Croghan, Lore (19 May 2004). "Big push to rebuild towers". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 7 June 2004. Retrieved 11 July 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  19. ^ a b c d Murdock, Deroy (4 March 2004). "Twins Rise Again". National Review Online. Archived from the original on 8 August 2004. Retrieved 10 July 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  20. ^ a b c "CNN Larry King Live with Donald Trump" (transcript). CNN. 27 February 2004. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  21. ^ "One World Trade Center". Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  22. ^ "America's Freedom Tower?". MSNBC. February 17, 2005. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  23. ^ a b c d Matthews, Chris (13 May 2005). "Trump calls Freedom Tower 'disgusting' and a 'pile of junk'" (interview). MSNBC. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  24. ^ a b c Saul, Michael; Haberman, Maggie (23 May 2005). "FREDDY LIKES TRUMP'S PLAN FOR TWIN TOWERS". New York Daily News. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  25. ^ a b c d Manning, Greg (12 June 2005). "New York Times OP-ED: Build It Again". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  26. ^ a b c d e f Dobnik, Verena (19 May 2005). "Trump Sounds Off on World Trade Center" (archive). Associated Press. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  27. ^ "Prismatic glass façade for WTC tower scrapped". The Huffington Post. May 12, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
  28. ^ "Building of N.Y. Freedom Tower begins". USA Today. Associated Press. April 28, 2006. Retrieved February 1, 2009.
  29. ^ a b c Murdock, Deroy (4 July 2008). "Ground Zero of National Paralysis". National Review. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  30. ^ a b c Burchfiel, Nathan (7 July 2008). "Group Wants Twin Towers Rebuilt at NYC's Ground Zero". CNS News. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  31. ^ "At World Trade Center, the twin towers' disgraceful replacement". 10 May 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  32. ^ Walker, Hunter (11 September 2015). "Donald Trump thought the plan to rebuild the Twin Towers was 'disgusting' -- here's what he wanted to do". Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  33. ^ a b Clarke, Katherine (11 June 2015). "WTC architect Bjarke Ingels would've rebuilt the twin towers". New York Daily News. Retrieved 13 July 2016.

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