Dutch towers design evokes 9/11 memory

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A design for twin tower apartment blocks made by Rotterdam-based architects MVRDV has triggered off a wave of heated reactions from the US, which claim the design is based on the New York Twin Towers just after the 9/11 attacks.

The apartment towers are to be built in the South Korean capital of Seoul and are due for completion in 2015. The two towers are connected in the middle by a “cloud” of irregular blocks, which many are now interpreting as an explosion. “Is this the new al-Qaeda headquarters?” wrote one US blogger.

The architects say they’re shocked by the negative reactions. “We didn’t make any association with the Twin Towers. Other external architects – including the designer of today’s Ground Zero – were present at the presentation. He didn’t make any comment about it either,” says Jan Knikker, spokesperson for MVRDV.

The bureau says the Korean company which commissioned the twin tower apartments needed additional facilities in the building. A number of options were presented to enhance the space. “We had another design with two elastic bands around the towers, but the one with the cloud was chosen,” says Knikker.

The architects are not sure whether the chosen design will now go ahead because of the public criticism. “I don’t know if Seoul will take the American criticism to heart,” said the spokesperson.


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