Building design evokes 9/11 memories, controversy

7:17 AM, Dec 13, 2011   |    comments
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"The Cloud," 850-ft. towers, is being planned by a Dutch Architectural firm with a target completion date of 2015.


TAMPA, Fla. -- An architectural firm is coming under fire for a proposed building design that some consider insensitive if not insulting.

The designers insist the plan was meant to inspire, but instead it's re-opening one of the most painful chapters in U.S. history: the September 11th attacks.

Photo Gallery: The Cloud

Rick Drury was so shaken by the events of 9/11 that the former New York City paramedic eventually decided to move to Florida. Drury opened Precinct Pizza in Channelside, adorning it with memorabilia from his beloved city. So when Drury recently saw an architectural plan to build a pair of buildings in South Korea connected by a cloud-like bridge, the image hit too close to home.

"It's terrible," he said of the design. "To even come close to depicting something like that, you know, design it differently. There's no reason for it."

The 850-ft. towers are being planned by a Dutch Architectural firm with a target completion date of 2015. But "The Cloud," with its simulated "reaching through the clouds" design, was lost on everyone we showed the pictures to.

"I know what I see. I think it bears a striking resemblance to the Twin Towers," said Tim Storm as he visited Channelside today.

Kate O'toole agreed. "Yeah, looks like the Twin Towers," she said.

Mike Kasouf, who says he lost friends in the towers, said, "That looks sort of like a plane crashing into it. That's not nice."

It's not uncommon to design twin residential towers. Take, for example, the Towers of Channelside in Tampa. But architects we spoke with say in this case they believe the designs should be changed.

John Kelly, with Fleishman-Garcia Architects in Hyde Park, says it would be smart to amend the plan.

"It may effect the ability to sell or lease the units within the building," said Kelly. "And their firm will be known as the firm who re-created the World Trade Center disaster. And it's not something that any architect would want to be known for."

The designers, who ironically worked with a New York firm on the plan, have apologized, saying it wasn't their intent to create an image resembling the attacks. Whether they meant it or not, a growing number of people say it should be scrapped before the project gets off the ground.

"I don't see any redeeming qualities to make it look like that," said Drury. "I don't see any reason to. It's not necessary."

Despite the apology, there's no word that the architectural firm MVRDV plans to change the design.

According to CBS, a South Korean business partner says construction will begin in 2013.

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