World Trade Center
Public Spaces Master Plan (1995)
New York, NY

Prior to the September 11th events and our involvement with rebuilding the World Trade Center site, Davis Brody Bond developed a master plan to better integrate the original complex with its surroundings and add a human scale and variety while preserving the impressive vastness that was the WTC’s signature.  The scope of study extended from the Plaza and retail Concourse down to the PATH, subway, and service levels.  Our final report detailed improvements to all major spaces, public transportation access, and business and retail opportunities.

To fully understand the WTC’s urban and real estate environment, we prepared a complete analysis of lower Manhattan’s existing land use, demographics, retail, transportation infrastructure, pedestrian circulation, parking, commuter and tourist issues, and environmental factors. The strategy we subsequently developed extends the city’s street grid into the complex, improving access and clarifying circulation. A new perimeter park was created out of an unused inner roadway and additional storefront retail was added.

Our most extensive work was on the Plaza itself. We improved its scale and definition, and enlivened it with cafes, retail, and architectural elements. A veil-like wind screen hung from the Towers clarified the volume of the urban space and mediated between the scale of the Towers and people on the Plaza. In addition, the screen was designed to reduce turbulent winds on the Plaza and allow year-round use, while becoming a symbol of the revitalized World Trade Center.