REX to Design at WTC

John Hill
23. November 2015
REX's Vakko Fashion Center and Power Media Center in Istanbul (Photo: Iwan Baan)

REX, the Brooklyn firm headed by former OMA partner Joshua Prince-Ramus, has been selected to design the Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center, long a question mark in the sixteen-acre master plan.

REX takes over the project from Frank Gehry, who initially designed the building per its inclusion in Daniel Libeskind's winning master plan for the WTC site. Gehry's design was shelved last year and three firms were selected to re-envision the building, which would be located east of One World Trade Center and north of the National September 11 Memorial. The finalists and winning team were announced on Friday; the runnersup were Henning Larsen Architects from Denmark and UNStudio from The Netherlands.

While no images of a REX design were released with the announcement, Prince-Ramus told the New York Times, "We wanted to create something that is simple, elegant and timeless. We’ve been able to reduce the project to the essence of what it needs to be."

While at OMA, Prince-Ramus was partner in charge on the Seattle Centeral Library and Dee and Charles Wyley Theatre in Dallas, and with his own three-letter firm he has designed most notably the Vakko Fashion Center and Power Media Center in Istanbul. Coincidentally the last project was the completion of an earlier project by another architect, a variation on the situation at WTC.

REX will work with executive architect Davis Brody Bond on the approximately $200 million, 80,000 square-foot building that will consist of venues for theater, dance, music, opera and film. Upon the expected completion in 2019, the building would serve as the main venue for the Tribeca Film Festival.

Site Plan - Performing Arts Center would be located on the white space between "Tower 1" and "Tower 2." (Image: PANYNJ)
Frank Gehry's shelved design for the Performing Arts Center (Photo: Gehry Partners)

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