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Foster and Rogers unveil Ground Zero towers - images

These are the first images of Norman Foster and Richard Rogers' proposed new skyscrapers for the Ground Zero site in New York.

The two towers, unveiled by lease-owner Larry Silverstein, will stand alongside the enormous 1,776ft-tall Freedom Tower, by SOM's David Childs ( left in the image above), and a smaller development by Fumihiko Maki ( right).

Foster's tower ( second left and pictured below) is 78-storeys high, with Rogers' ( second right) coming in at 71 storeys.

Part of Daniel Libeskind's competition-winning masterplan for the 6.5ha former World Trade Center site, the Foster, Rogers and Maki towers will contain a total of 620,000m2 of office space and will share a common podium and ground engineering.

Foster's 'Tower Two' will house offices up to the 59th floor, where the facade is sheared off at an angle to address the memorial park.

Foster said: 'The crystalline top of the tower respects the masterplan and bows down to the memorial park, commemorating the tragic events that unfolded here.

'But it is also a powerful symbol of hope for the future. The dramatic height of the tower celebrates the spirit that has historically driven Manhattan to build tall, and the diamond-shaped top will be a crowning landmark on the city's skyline.'

Rogers' 'Tower Three' design has been produced at breakneck speed - the architect was only appointed on the scheme by Silverstein in May ( Rogers to design new World Trade Center tower).

Rogers' scheme will include two storeys of retail space, five storeys of trading space and 54 storeys of office space. It is envisaged that the tower will consist of a central concrete core (steel encased in reinforced concrete) and an external structural steel frame, which will be clad in stainless steel.

Rogers said: 'We believe we have designed a transparent and legible building which responds both to the architectural and social context of the area, and one which will make a fitting contribution to the New York skyline.'

It is no secret that Silverstein has found it challenging working with the 'three major egos' of the British peers and Japanese big-hitter Maki.

Construction on both British stars' buildings is scheduled to begin in 2007 and they are expected to open in 2011 - two years after the Freedom Tower.

by Richard Waite

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