year and a half ago, death and destruction fell from the sky upon Manhattan's
World Trade Center, leaving behind thousands lives slaughtered, a gigantic
scar in the City, human beings forever broken by the loss of their loved
ones, and a universal trauma.
summer 2002, 6 proposals for a Rebuilding of the WTC Site were unveiled,
and rejected by the community of New Yorkers.
was very surprised, at that time, to see that none of those projects
expressed any rebuilding of the Twin Towers. Since the Program's anthem
was the Rebuilding of the World Trade Center, I expected to see at least
some projects showing the Twin Towers back.
A Rebuilding, announced this Program.
But the philosophy that guided those projects was clearly to build,
and not rebuild.
Besides, the Program Requirements asked for rationality in
urbanistic renovation, not for an expression of Meaning, or any Symbolism
linked to what had happened.
Therefore, Real Estate rationality is what the conceptors provided.
And it is what the New Yorkers rejected.
July 2002, the Lower Manhattan Development Council launched then a new
consultation, the result of which was due to be unveiled by late 2002.
that time, I was already sure that this second attempt would not meet
any better success if it ignored some very simple equation's parameters,
1- Remembrance and homage to thousands Lives destroyed and to thousands
pf People mourning and grieving.
2- Restoration of worldwide famous Manhattan's Skyline.
a first step, and before speeches and rational planning, I believe
this equation's terms constitute the only key considerations -if not
Program Requirements- that should have been given to anyone assigned
to the World Trade Center's rehabilitation.
Planning the exact number of square feet for retail and commercial facilities
and offices space could easily come after.
For this unprecedented and unique situation -the Rebuilding of a Site
so much charged with Emotion, Symbolism and Suffering-, obeys in fact
to some very simple general laws based upon common sense:
- First, an idea has to be found, a global concept
has to be established.
- Then these ideas and concepts can be tailored to all the practical
needs and requirements, eventually adapting to the Symbolic scheme,
assuming that if the latter is of any value, it would have to show flexible
for making all necessary adjustments possible for final implementation.
All said and done, this should be the only purpose, and the only concern:
make two separated, if not opposed parties, the Meaning and the Necessity,
the Rationality and the Spirituality, meet in symbioses.
course, the problem with that equation is that attempting to solve one
of its terms seems to automatically inflict injury to the other.
Making one side happy seems to result in dooming the other to frustration.
instance, let's take the equation's issue #2:
Restoration of worldwide famous Manhattan's Skyline.
As a matter of fact, Manhattan's
famous logo included the Twins' silhouette in place of the "H".
Factually, the Twins were everywhere. They represented New York, at
the same level as Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building do.
Throughout communication. Photography. Cinema. Literature. Music. Arts.
National scenery for the Americans. Everyday life for the New Yorkers.
They contributed to fulfill those extraordinary, unique moments of visit
of an extraordinary city, for the foreigners who came to New York.
The Twins, after almost three decades, had become New york.
How can one replace such a symbol?
common sense speaks out for itself: one simply cannot.
whatever different is proposed, as clever, as smart, as
beautiful as it might be, nothing radically different
will ever be able to match the Twins' presence in Manhattan's Skyline.
And this for a very rational and simple reason.
Indeed, what would one do if Cairo's three Gizah Pyramids did crumble
after a sudden blast?
Or imagine, Paris' Eiffel Tower suddenly gone. What are the requirements
that would be given to Urbanists and Architects?
I believe that those requirements would be very simple: rebuild the
Pyramids, because Egypt and Cairo would not be anymore what they used
to be without them.
Rebuild the Eiffel Tower, because is Paris still Paris without its major
And if one rebuilds, let's rebuild them as they were.
This is where it takes a bit of humility. The point here is not to display
creativity for one owns sake and glory.
The point here is to restitute.
Would we go for a caricature, a substitute for the Pyramids, or a caricature
of the Eiffel Tower in place of it?
Of course we would not.
We'd rather have nothing built instead.
Same law applies to the Twin Towers of Manhattan.
if they could not be rebuilt for any technical reasons, then let leave
grass grow there in peace, because does anyone want to see something
lesser stands where Greatness used to rise?
once the Twins' rebuilding rationally becomes an obvious assumption,
then difficulties begin, because one comes right up into the equation's
first term : remembrance and homage to thousands Lives destroyed
and to thousands of People mourning and grieving.
one has to admit that rebuilding the Twins just as they were means in
a certain way restoring the Skyline as if nothing ever happened.
then would mean that one deliberately ignores the memory of those who
died, neglecting to show necessary respect to the beings who lost someone
dear, someone loved, someone irreplaceable.
This would prove a lack of conscience, some sort of general amnesia
erected as a monument, pretending that september 11th never happened.
that under a sorcerer's surgery, the body is again intact, as it was.
But sorry, no surgery can redeem such a scar.
The body can be all right again, yes, but the scar is and has
to remain visible, for the sake of future generations to come, so that
they can never forget..
For September 11th did happen, and what the Manhattan Skyline would
gain in such a lifting, Mankind would lose in self-respect.
that point it became obvious to me that if the Manhattan's Skyline demanded
a rebuilding of the Twins, it was mandatory that the new buildings could
testify for the future and give evidence about what had happened on
September 11th, 2001.
this idea that had invaded my mind for a long, long time, and which
I had kept asleep, started to wake up.
Elements of the puzzle gathered.
I understood that this idea could represent a possible key to an apparently
is why and how:
1- This idea does justice to the ones who lost their lives.
Because the memorial to their suffering would be inscribed in the flesh
of the buildings, at their very core, and could not be ignored.
2- This idea does justice to the ones who lost their loved ones.
Because it offers an immense and imposing space of silence, meditation,
contemplation to the mourners, at the very symbolic location where the
3- This idea does justice to the Manhattan Skyline.
Because it restores its silhouette, but at the same time pays a visible
homage to the 9/11 tragedy, visible from afar, during day and
at night, just like Rudy Giuliani has expressed it in his Time magazine
of Giuliani, I would have certainly kept all those considerations for
myself if two things had not occurred that summer of 2002, almost simultaneously.
September, I read Rudy Giuliani's essay in Time magazine, september
Some of the words and thinking of that man hit me straight into the
heart (see this site's section "The Manifesto Painting : Meaning
Almost at the same time, I saw on French TV the film directed by Jules
& Gédéon Naudet and James Hanlon, about the firemen
of Engine 7 / Ladder 1, a NYFD unit based on 100 Duane Street, a place
very near the former WTC site, where Hanlon worked and still works as
a fireman (he is also an actor, both on TV on stage).
spoke at the end of that film, and his words were a huge -even the major-
impulse in my following action. James Hanlon's words made me move on
(see this site's section "The Manifesto Painting : Meaning
far, I just had a concept on my mind. I knew then that I had the right
to make it real.
is what I did. I started implementing three paintings.
The first one was to express the concept, the whys and therefores of
the thinking process. This one I called the "Manifesto" painting.
The two others were to show the reality of the concept, what it looked
like by day, and at night.
the time, I had not the faintest idea of what the new requirements imposed
to the new teams of architects could be.
I only heard that the chosen conceptors were supposed to unveil their
projects by the end of 2002. This deadline I took for myself just as
well, because I felt that my idea had to be displayed before everything
was over, that is before a final project was ever chosen by the New
Starting early September, I spent almost three months working upon those
By early December, they were finished.
I came to New York on December 16th, bringing the canvases with me,
had them stretched at Baobab Art Framing, and had them delivered as
a gift to James Hanlon, at his Duane Street Fire Unit's address.
I told James Hanlon in a note that I offered him those paintings because
of the statements he had made in his film, suggesting that we could
work together at showing this concept and what it looked like to the
New York citizens, since it was for them that I had created those works.
Staying in New York for a couple of days, I had confirmation by Gédéon
Naudet that James Hanlon had received the three paintings, and appreciated
Unfortunately, it was apparently not possible for us to meet during
the very short time that I spent in the City.
have no idea whether this concept will ever be seen by the New York
Community through the medium that I had originally chosen, a triptych
set of paintings.
But what matters is that those paintings are in New York.
I returned to France, I went to see the 9 new projects unveiled at the
World Trade Financial Center's Winter Garden.
Upon the Rebuilding issue, I have already expressed my beliefs and my
deepest convictions through this very simple equation that I mentioned
In my opinion, none among those 9 projects answers this equation's terms.
additional comment needs to be made upon their relevance or aesthetic
merits, this being a matter of very personal and subjective taste.
I come to a conclusion,
I would like to clarify one thing.
Having failed to meet James Hanlon, I have no idea whether this concept
will ever be accessible to the New Yorkers through the original medium
that I had chosen -a Triptych of paintings-, or not.
This is why I created this site.
If you read these lines and find the new Twin Towers concept interesting,
please bring to your New York friends and relatives' knowledge the existence
of this site.
Being a painter, and not an architect or an urbanist submitted to the
official Program requirements, I have elaborated my concept as a whole,
and in total freedom.
Therefore I was not obliged to make a separation between the Rebuilding
issue and the Memorial issue.
two issues were and still are, in my view, totally in dissociable.
They should be led frontally.
This is why I have conceived this monumental sculpture at the new Twin
Towers' feet (see this site's section "The WTC Paintings, a
Vision for a True Renaissance").
I felt the necessity to create a huge landmark on what had become Ground
Zero (at the time I had not heard yet about the "Foot Prints"
requirement), a vast plaza at the towers' feet, which in my view should
remain totally free of any construction but for a structure that would
mean something definitely simple, an homage of Love to the
dead, a vibrant manifesto of Hope in the future and a determination
For expressing that, I carefully avoided to create an art form understandable
only by three people on Earth.
I tried to find a symbol that everybody would and could understand.
I am totally aware that this may not be the smartest, hipest, cleverest,
most sophisticated symbol ever created.
This, most probably, will even be considered as being the weakest of
clichés by some.
But destruction came from the sky on September 11th.
And it seemed important to me, as a symbol, that in their Renaissance,
the Twin Towers could rise again and take flight, carried by the symbol
of a Bird of Peace and Life, towards the very skies from which death
pounced on Manhattan, on September 11th 2001.
January 3rd, 2003