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What hourly rates do architects charge the public sector for their services? In the UK, that question would usually be met with a response that the information is 'commercial in confidence'.

In the US they do things rather differently, as the Architect's Newspaper in Manhattan has just proved. It used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain cost details of rates charged of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, responsible for sorting out the Ground Zero site.

However, competition-winner Daniel Libeskind is not top of the list on the charging front, coming in at a handsome $300 per hour. This is just below Robert Stern at $325, but way behind King of the Heap Richard Meier, who bills at no less than $400 per hour. Compared with this, Rafael Vi±oly must be excellent value at $175, ditto Shigeru Ban. The newspaper also tells us about three tower schemes yet to be announced by developer Larry Silverstein in the area, each involving a three-way competition between Norman Foster, Fumihiko Maki and Jean Nouvel. Maybe Norman and Jean can link up as they are doing in the City of London?

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