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Twin Towers architect attacks design partner

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Daniel Libeskind, the architect charged with rebuilding New York's World Trade Center site, has launched a searing attack on his design partner on the project, SOM boss David Childs.

The competition-winning architect warned observers to be 'vigilant' of changes the international design giant would make to his proposals for the 1,776ft Freedom Tower.

And he also hit out at SOM's working practices, accusing the firm of being over-committed to 'steel and glass architecture'.

Libeskind won a competition organised by the city's authorities to masterplan the site in 2002, seeing off the other shortlisted practices including Britain's Foster and Partners.

However, the site's landowner Larry Silverstein failed to sanction the competition and, instead, appointed Childs as his own architect last year.

Libeskind and Childs collaborated throughout 2003 on designs for the skyscraper.

Following the official unveiling of the final design at the end of last year, Libeskind handed 'executive responsibility' for the tower to SOM's office.

But, despite a public show of togetherness, Libeskind chose the launch of his London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre (see News, pp6-9) to admit that there had been a major clash of personalities.

'I can't say I enjoyed working with him. I can't say that at all, ' he told the AJ.

'We are not on the same wavelength. They are the biggest corporation of architecture in the world.

'We have a very different agenda. I believe in the cultural aspect of architecture and that it should be about linking up with all sorts of other issues not just wedded to steel and glass.'

And Libeskind also warned that SOM may alter the agreed design concept.

He said that although the project was 'probably' secure, 'it is important that we are all very vigilant'.

'There are differences between buildings and drawings, ' he added. 'There is always the danger of backtracking.'

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