NEW YORK - Skyscrapers even taller than the 110-story World Trade Center towers, and memorials ranging from twin reflecting pools to a "Park of Heroes," are among the newest round of proposals for rebuilding ground zero.
"These are designs not only for our time, but for all time," John Whitehead, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., said as the new plans were unveiled Wednesday. "They must transcend the present, to speak to our children and to their children ... to send an immortal message."
The nine new proposals — the second round of plans to redevelop the site where 2,800 people died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack — take a variety of approaches to the 16-acre site in lower Manhattan.
Four of the plans proposed creating the tallest building in the world, topping Malaysia's 1,483-foot Petronas Twin Towers. One recommended a 2,100-foot skyscraper, while another called for a 1,776-foot tower topped with a spire.
The plans for rebuilding the site and surrounding neighborhood came from seven teams of architects from Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles, and were selected from 407 submissions. A choice is expected by Jan. 31.
A first group of plans, released in July, was derided as boring and overstuffed with office space.
The presentations began with Daniel Libeskind, the Berlin-based architect who designed that city's Jewish Museum. His plan included a museum at the epicenter of ground zero and a 1,776-foot tower.
"A skyscraper rises above its predecessors ... restoring the spiritual peak of the city, creating an icon that speaks to our vitality in the face of danger and our optimism in the aftermath of tragedy," he said to applause. "Life victorious."
Architect Richard Meier, who designed the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, said his team's plan includes a floating "memorial plaza" on the Hudson River and a park with 2,800 small lights for each victim of the Sept. 11 attack.
"The most important aspect of our plan is the way in which all of the thinking is integrated into the memorial," Meier said.
A plan by Foster and Partners proposed a "twinned tower," a skyscraper that would divide into two parts but "kiss" at three points to create public space and observation decks.
United Architects opted for a proposal with five futuristic, connected buildings creating "a veil" surrounding the space containing a memorial. Observers would go below ground zero and look up into the sky as part of the memorial.
Each plan includes a memorial. One places it on top of a building, while another incorporates a formal, sunken garden. A specific memorial design will be chosen after a separate international contest next year.
"It's been the most remarkable undertaking of my career, and I've worked on very large, controversial projects before," said Frederic Schwartz, a New York architect on one of the teams.
The designs will be on public display in the city's World Financial Center and posted on the development corporation's Web site.
The proposals must include 6.5 million to 10 million of office space on the trade center site — plus a hotel and mall — and up to 3.5 million of commercial space at its perimeter.
Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, said that is still too much commercial space at the trade center site.
"It's not a disagreement about architecture at this point," Yaro said. "The question is, what's inside the buildings? And is this the best thing for lower Manhattan?"