In "Up from Zero, "Paul Goldberger, winner of the Pulitzer Prize,
tells the inside story of the quest to rebuild one of the most
important symbolic sites in the world, the sixteen acres where the
towers of the former World Trade Center stood. A story of power,
politics, architecture, community, and culture, "Up from Zero"
takes us inside the controversial struggle to create and build one
of the most challenging urban-design projects in history.
What should replace the fallen towers? Who had the courage and
vision to rise to the task of rebuilding? Who had the right,
finally, to decide? The struggle began soon after September 11,
2001, as titanic egos took sides, made demands, and jockeyed for
power. Lawyers, developers, grieving families, local residents,
politicians, artists, and architects all had fierce needs,
radically different ideas, strong emotions, and boundless
determination. How could conflicting interests be resolved? After
hundreds of hours of often rancorous meetings, the first sets of
plans were finally revealed in the summer of 2002-and the results
were staggeringly disappointing.
Yet, as Goldberger shows, the rebuilding process recovered and
began to flourish. Rather than degenerating into turf wars, it
evolved in ways that no one could have predicted. From the decision
to reintegrate the site into the dense fabric of lower Manhattan,
to the choice of Daniel Libeskind as master planner, to the
appointment of a memorial jury, the process has been marked by
moments of bold vision, effective community activism, and personal
instinct, punctuating the often contentious politics of public
"Up from Zero "takes in the full sweep of this tremendous effort.
Goldberger presents a drama of creative minds at work, solving
seemingly insurmountable clashes of taste, interests, and ideas.
With unique access to the players and the process, and with a
sophisticated understanding of architecture and its impact on
people and on the social and cultural life of a city, Paul
Goldberger here chronicles the courage, the sacrifices, and the
burning passions at the heart of one of the greatest efforts of
urban revitalization in modern times.
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