Dezeen Magazine

Freedom Tower is a "missed opportunity" says Ian Schrager

The skyscraper that replaced the Twin Towers represents a missed chance to create great architecture, according to New York hotelier Ian Schrager.

Schrager described One World Trade Center, the 1,776-foot-high (541 metres) tower designed by SOM, as a "missed opportunity".

"I'm not trying to diminish the architecture of the Freedom Tower, but I just think that it was just a wonderful opportunity to do something really great, and we missed the opportunity," Schrager told Dezeen.

"Because I think in cities like New York, it's so complex to build, and it's so politicised, that a lot of the time architects have chosen what they know will navigate the system, rather than the most inspired project".

Ian Schrager
The skyscraper that replaced the Twin Towers is a "missed opportunity" says Ian Schrager

Schrager spoke to Dezeen ahead of the opening of Public, his latest hotel venture in New York, which opens tomorrow.

One World Trade Center, also known as Freedom Tower, is visible from the roof terrace and most of the floors of Public, which is located inside a new Herzog & de Meuron-designed building at 25 Chrystie Street in the Bowery.

The tower, the tallest in the western hemisphere, is the centrepiece of the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, which was devastated by the terrorist attack that destroyed architect Minoru Yamasaki's original World Trade Center on 11 September 2001.

The first tenants moved into the tower in 2014. It has since been joined by other buildings including Snohetta's National September 11 Memorial Museum and the Santiago Calatrava-designed transport hub.

215 Chrystie in New York City by Ian Schrager
One World Trade Center is visible from the roof terrace and most of the floors of Public, Schrager's latest hotel venture in New York

Schrager, 70, co-founded the legendary Studio 54 nightclub in 1977 and then went on to open Morgans, the world's first boutique hotel. He later collaborated with designer Philippe Starck on iconic projects including the Hudson Hotel in New York and the Delano in Miami Beach.

More recent Schrager projects include the Edition hotels, designed by various architects, and Herzog & de Meuron's 40 Bond, an apartment development in New York's NoHo district, where Schrager himself lives.

Schrager is also teaming up with the Swiss firm on another New York project, a "curvaceous and sexy" condo building on the Hudson.

"I think when you work with someone like Herzog, you're going to get that practical approach but you're also going to get something inspired, not just something one has to build," he said.

Schrager added that his view of the Freedom Tower from his apartment has now mercifully been blocked by Herzog & de Meuron's 56 Leonard apartment tower in Tribeca, which has just completed.

Photograph of One World Trade Center is by Anthony Quintano.