Sixteen Acres

Architecture and the Outrageous Struggle for the Future of Ground Zero

Philip Nobel

Metropolitan Books

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A no-holds-barred look at the collision of interests behind the ambitious attempt to raise a new national icon at Ground Zero

When we stand in downtown Manhattan in the future and look up and ask, "Why?"--Why is it so strange, so rude, so striving, so right, so wrong?--we will have Sixteen Acres to give us the answers. Tracing the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site from graveyard to playground for high design, insurgent critic Philip Nobel strips away the hyperbole to reveal the secret life of the century's most charged building project.

Providing a tally of deceptions and betrayals, a look at the meaning of events beyond the pieties of the moment, and a running bestiary of the main players--developers and bureaucrats, star architects and amateur fantasists, politicians and the well-spun press--Nobel's book bares the crucial moments as factions and institutions converge to create a noisy new culture at Ground Zero.

Tragic and comic by turns, full of low dealings and high dudgeon, Sixteen Acres takes us behind the scenes at a site in search of its sanctity, exposing the reconstruction as the flawed product of a complicated city: driven by money, hamstrung by politics, burdened by the wounds it is somehow supposed to heal.

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SIXTEEN ACRES
1FIRST RESPONDERSFRANK GEHRY, perhaps the most famous non-acting, non-directing, nonathletic son of Los Angeles, was in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. He was in town for the opening, the night before, of an Issey Miyake boutique in Tribeca, just ten latte-soaked blocks north of the World Trade Center. The architect had contributed a signature cloud of folded sheet metal for the store's interior, and his son Alejandro, an artist, had drawn several murals. The next morning his son went back downtown for a meeting, and Gehry couldn't contact him as he watched the neighborhood smothered

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Praise for Sixteen Acres

“Among the smartest architecture critics around, and one of the best writers of the bunch, Philip Nobel also has a reporter's eye for telling details and jaw-dropping gossip.  In Sixteen Acres he chronicles the impossible project-of-the-century lucidly and sharply, armed with common sense, unfailing humor, a good moral compass and no particular axe to grind.”
--Kurt Andersen, author of Turn of the Century

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About the Author

Philip Nobel

Philip Nobel writes for The New York Times; The Nation; Artforum; Architectural Digest, where he is a contributing writer; and Metropolis, where his column, "Far Corner," runs monthly. Trained as an architect, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Philip Nobel

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Available Formats and Book Details

Sixteen Acres
Architecture and the Outrageous Struggle for the Future of Ground Zero
Philip Nobel

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Metropolitan Books
December 2005
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466827615
ISBN10: 1466827610
304 pages
$7.99
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Metropolitan Books

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