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God's architect design for Twin Tower space?

Antoni Gaudi, the avant-garde architect of Barcelona's Sagrada Familia church who could soon be beatified has become the latest candidate to design a replacement for New York's destroyed World Trade Centre

Gaudi (1852-1926) was commissioned in 1908 to create a 366 metre skyscraper hotel for Lower Manhattan. Although the project was never realised, he left a spaceship-type design, topped by an observation platform in the shape of a giant glass star, which has now been submitted by a US-Spanish team of artists and academics.

"Many other competition entries are just ego-trips, but this is a way everyone can be involved in a historical project from across the world," explained Paul Laffoley, a Boston-based architect. "The Sagrada Familia has become the symbol of Barcelona, and Gaudi intended his hotel to be the symbol of New York."

Gaudi, whose innovative style drew on Gothic and Baroque traditions, worked mostly in and around Barcelona, and was popularly revered as a mystic at his death after a tram accident, aged 76. A beatification process for the architect, who would be the first of his profession placed on the path to sainthood, was launched in March 2000 by the Barcelona diocese and is expected to be passed on to Rome this year.

Another US supporter, Marc Mascort, said Gaudi's structure could be decorated with artefacts from the collapsed Twin Towers as a memorial to the 3000 who perished in the September 11 terrorist outrage.

"If they only knew about this building, the people of New York would love it." A choice of structure to fill the vacant site at Ground Zero is expected to be announced this year.

The Universe

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Wanted: symbols of pride for New York (The Age 18/7/02)
New World Trade Center Site Design Concepts

3 Feb 2003