Over the weekend, the design for two soon-to-be-built monstrous apartment buildings in Seoul, Korea caused quite a stir. Apparently, the dual towers connected by a cloud-like walkway looked to many like the smoke-filled and burning Twin Towers during the September 11th terrorist attacks.
As soon as the images hit the ‘net, many began to cry foul. Gawker wrote that Dutch design firm MVRDV “ERECTED A TERRIFYING MONUMENT TO THE NIGHTMARES OF 9/11!!!” and others felt the towered apartment building looked suspiciously close to the former World Trade Center.
Of course, MVRDV is denying it drew inspiration from the attacks and released a statement saying it didn’t “see the resemblance during the design process.” Hmm…really?
According to the Los Angeles Times, the firm claims the Korean media didn’t see any similarities either and blamed the comparison on the U.S. press.
The LA Times reports:
The firm said the South Korean press at first did not report any resemblance to 9/11 and instead “hailed the project as a great innovation.” The negative connotations came from the U.S., according to press reports.
The designers say The Cloud “was designed based on parameters such as sunlight, outside spaces, living quality for inhabitants and the city.”
The firm’s website also includes hundreds of mostly-negative comments about the project.
The company’s belated apology came after a Dutch newspaper last week published a front-page architectural rendition of the project and the headline: “Inspired by Twin Towers?”
One 911 victim thinks so. The NY Daily News quoted a retired New York City deputy fire chief, a father of four firefighters who lost his son during the attacks, who doesn’t by the Dutch firm’s apology.
“I think it’s a total lie and they have no respect for the people who died that day. They’re crossing a line,” he said. “It looks just like the towers imploding. I think they’re trying to sensationalize it. It’s a cheap way to get publicity.”
Despite not seeing any resemblance in their design to the World Trade Center, MVRDV released an obligatory apology.
“MVRDV regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud projects evoke regarding 9/11,” the company said in a press release. “It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt.”
So are Americans just too sensitive or did this design firm cross the line?