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Harpur Forum begins 30th season

Fredric Bell, executive director of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, talks about the World Trade Center memorial project during a Sept. 26 Harpur Forum breakfast program.

Rebuilding at the site of the World Trade Center is a project like no other on earth, with more office space than is available in many American cities and a 9/11 memorial that may draw 5 million visitors a year.

That’s what Fredric Bell, executive director of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, told members of the Harpur Forum on Sept. 26.

His lecture launched the 30th year of programs for the group, which focuses on uniting community and campus.

“Remembering the people who died, not the buildings that fell, is the starting point,” Bell said as he began a presentation that featured photographs of the World Trade Center site taken throughout the past six years.

Bell has been a founder and spokesman for New York New Visions, a coalition of 20 architecture and planning firms providing pro bono technical advice at Ground Zero.

“The site itself is a memorial,” he said, which complicates the work of architects trying to design new skyscrapers and other features of the complex.

“There are people who regret that the towers will not be built exactly as they were,” he said. “I’m not one of those people.”

Bell said he likes the mixed-use plan for the complex, which includes offices, a memorial, a park, retail space and a transportation hub. Celebrated architect Frank Gehry is designing a performing arts center that may also become part of the complex.

The memorial to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is expected to attract millions of visitors, but planners are looking for ways to ensure the World Trade Center site will once again become an integrated part of Lower Manhattan, someplace where people can once again feel comfortable working, eating and shopping.

The Harpur Forum’s next breakfast program will be Monday, Oct. 22, at the Binghamton Regency.

Terry A. Michalske, director of biological and energy sciences, Sandia National Laboratories, will be the speaker. Michalske’s talk is titled “Nanotechnology: What Is It and Why You Should Care.”

Call 777-4390 to RSVP or for more information.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08