A Plea to Jamie Dimon for Great Architecture

Memo to JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon: The tower you’re proposing

to build at the World Trade Center site, designed by Kohn Pederson Fox, is a


which will drage down both your reputation and the WTC site as a whole. Understood

that the site is a difficult one. And yes, big trading floors will necessitate

a big cantilever over the St Nicholas church. But here’s the thing: cantilevers

don’t need to be this ugly. In fact, most cantilevers are really quite

beautiful and impressive.

So after reading David Owen’s piece on Arup’s Cecil Balmond

in the last New Yorker (slide show here),

I have a proposal for you: fire KPF, who clearly have the imagination and verve

of a flaccid haddock, and hire Rem Koolhaas/OMA instead. You

want a cantilever? Check

this out. Come up with something half as impressive as that, and you’ll

leapfrog the HSBC and Bank of China towers in Hong Kong to nab for yourself

the status of being able to call home the greatest bank headquarters in the


It’s quite sad that for all Wall Street’s wealth, no New York bank has in living

memory managed to build an architecturally distinguished building. Indeed, many

bank buildings are breathtakingly ugly, including 85 Broad Street (Goldman Sachs)

and 390 Greenwich Street (Citigroup). Don’t follow in those dismal footsteps,

Jamie. Rather, be bold!

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