Architect says that getting World Trade Centre design built will involve compromises.
Architect Daniel Libeskind said this week that he was prepared to compromise on some parts of his winning design for the World Trade Centre in New York but not on the fundamentals.

Libeskind said the elements of the scheme that must be retained included the central building, which will be the tallest in the world, the cluster of office blocks around it, and the foundations of the old World Trade Centre, which will serve as a memorial to those who died in the 11 September attack.

Libeskind told Building: "One has to be able to discuss everything, except for the fundamentals. The surrounding offices are not just background. They are not just to be done by anybody."

The owner of the site, the city's Port Authority, and World Trade Centre leaseholder Larry Silverstein, are under no obligation to use Libeskind or his designs.

The architect said he had made minor compromises on previous projects, including the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, and was prepared to do the same again.

He said an architect followed a fine line in keeping faith with their original vision and responding to public concerns.

Libeskind emphasised that he would not consider walking away from the project. "I do not think I am a person who gives up that easily. I am now at the exciting part of the project. It's when the scheme really starts.

I am now at the exciting part. It’s when the scheme really starts

Daniel Libeskind

"I have always said architecture is the art of compromise. I've never said 'take it or leave it' in a project. It's about negotiating with all of the groups and stakeholders."

The architect's political and marketing skills have been brought to the fore in this project. He described the scheme's client as "New York and every New Yorker" and added: "This project cannot be done by being aloof and staying in a laboratory with a white coat on. I need to communicate with the city."

The main opposition to Libeskind's design is likely to come from Silverstein. He has publicly expressed fears that a Libeskind-style memorial to the victims would would put off commercial tenants. Libeskind envisages a memorial "pit" at the foot of the building, carpeted with rubble taken from the Twin Towers.

Libeskind, describing Silverstein as "a very nice man", said he had worked hard on the commercial element. He said: "There are not just symbolic elements in this scheme – there are offices, retail and infrastructure as well."

Libeskind said he expected some of the elements, including the memorial, the museum district and the subway station, would be in place within four years.

However, there is likely to be a long and complex set of negotiations before construction can begin. Nobody has agreed to fund the project yet, and a lot of preconstruction work will be needed before a practical design can be drawn up.

One US project manager said getting a feasible design was a "long, long way off". He said: "It's a preconcept; it's not even a concept at this point in time. At this point it's not about architecture, it's about the logistics of the site."

The project manager said Libeskind might have to amend his designs to allow for a bus station at the base of the World Trade Centre, side by side with the memorial that Libeskind envisages.