by Valerie Lucznikowska
December 15th, 2010
The studio of Jonas Coersmeier, a professor at New York’s esteemed Pratt Institute School of Architecture, was the scene of a juried exposition of student designs for the Park51 Islamic Cultural enter in lower Manhattan, often fallaciously characterized as “the mosque at Ground Zero”, on Thursday, December 9, 2010.
Among the invited jurors attending was Valerie Lucznikowska, a long-time member of PT. Other jurors were Daisy Khan, Executive Director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and wife of the Center’s Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Noor Mousa, of Soho Properties, the site developer, Sayyed Nadeem Kazmi of the Cordoba Initiative founded by Imam Feisal (http://www.cordobamovement.org/about/imam-feisal/), Gisela Baumann, professor of architecture at Cornell University, and Pratt professors Karl S. Chu, Brent Porter, Muchael Su, Michael Chen, Eric Schoenenberger, Simone Giustra and Danielle Willems. Also attending was Pratt Architecture School’s Dean Thomas Hanrahan.
Under Coersmeier’s direction, the students were asked to develop designs for the project that has set off heated public debate concerning questions of Constitutional freedom of religion, the culpability of all Muslims for the attacks of 9/11, and the sanctity of the area near the New York City attacks. Peaceful Tomorrows holds that the site owners enjoy the Constitutional right to the proposed use of their property, as does the existing “gentlemen’s club” and numerous bars which are near or closer to the attack site where so many, including many Muslims, died. PT firmly upholds the Constitutional rights of all religions.
As reflected in the student designs, the Center is planned for the use of the public in an area that is in need of public facilities. Based on city’s popular YWCA at 92d Street, it will encompass a multitude of cultural, recreational and spiritual spaces open to the public. These include a bookstore, mediatheque, library, auditorium, restaurant, culinary school, childcare center, sports center, pool, spa, administration, conference facility, artist’s residence, workshop and ateliers, interfaith educational facilities, prayer room, and 9/11 memorial. For more, please see http://blog.park51.org/about/vision/ and for design images, http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixelprobe.