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Park51 designs revealed

Visitors to the upper floors of the Muslim community center planned for near ground zero would walk through lofty spaces – for art exhibitions, for contemplation and prayer, for programs on interreligious dialogue, for a 9/11 memorial – as sunlight streams through irregularly shaped windows between white crisscrossing beams.

That is the image presented in the tentative architectural renderings that the planners of the center, called , have been showing at community meetings in recent weeks, and which were revealed to the wider public for the first time last week.

A sketch of the façade shows a latticework of white starlike designs, echoing patterns that can be seen in Islamic architecture and decorative tiles across the Middle East.

The design was meant to show “hints of tradition,” while the use of modern materials and glass panels would give an impression of translucence and “moving toward the future”, Sharif el-Gamal, the project’s developer, said in an interview last week.

An image of the façade has been in circulation since early this year, but last week the planners revealed renderings of how some interior spaces might look and how the center’s many amenities — including a restaurant, theater, day care center, gym and pool – might be stacked in a building of up to 15 stories.

There would also be a 9/11 memorial and a space open to people of “all faiths and of no faith” for prayer, contemplation and meditation, Mr. Gamal said.

New York Times, 2 October 2010

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