Ground Zero Cultural Center Plan Unveiled

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The planned cultural center at the World Trade Center (search) site will house a visual arts area devoted to drawing, a visitor's hub and a center focusing on the global struggle for freedom, according to plans unveiled Thursday.

The avant-garde World Trade Center Cultural Center will be suspended from a support bridge and its crystalline surface will be sprinkled with glass prisms pulsating with light. The building's roof will be landscaped.

In the seemingly weightless, five-story edifice overlooking Memorial Plaza, "we've created a place of reflection, yet also a place of energy," said architect Craig Dykers (search), whose firm designed the center. "It will be both a gateway to the memorial and a window to a bright future."

Groundbreaking for the cultural center is scheduled for 2007 with completion in 2009.

The Norway-based designer, Snohetta (search), was chosen from 34 applicants and is known for the Alexandria Library in Egypt, the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin and the soon-to-be-completed New National Opera in Oslo.

Also at the unveiling Thursday, Gov. George Pataki (search) said a new plan would be ready by the end of June for the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower (search), which will be the apex of the new trade center. Police criticized the current plan as leaving the building too vulnerable to bombs carried in vehicles. The tower is now to be set back farther from the street.