Art: The Road to Xanadu

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of New York and New Jersey, the center will house anyone and anything connected with world trade: U.S. Bureau of Customs, customs brokers, freight forwarders, foreign consulates, exporters and importers, trade associations, chambers of commerce, banks, insurance firms and finance agencies, now scattered blindly about the city. There will be trade fairs, steamship, air, truck and rail carriers, foreign trade publications, commodity exchanges, a hotel, shops, restaurants, a world trade institute and library, and a bewildering assortment of information agencies. Yamasaki will do the design, while the Manhattan firm of Emery Roth & Sons — an office noted more for its concern for costs than for producing beauty — will turn out the working drawings. If Yamasaki can keep a firm control of the job, it will be one of the greatest opportunities ever presented to an architect, "an opportunity," says Yamasaki, ''for new methods, new systems, new building ideas." What form the project may be taking in Yamasaki's inventive mind is his secret, but simple arithmetic shows that the vast space needs and limited site could force him to record heights or bulk. One thing the center will not be is harsh or cold. In taking the road to Xanadu, Yamasaki has turned office buildings, schools, churches and banks into gentle pleasure palaces that are marvelously generous in spirit. He shuns monuments. He is suspicious even of masterpieces, which he feels often better serve the ego of their creators than the well-being of those who use them. He may have committed some architectural heresies, but if he has, it is largely because he is a humanist with enormously appealing aspirations. He wants his buildings to be more than imposing settings for assorted clusters of humanity; they should also recall to man the "gentility of men." should inspire "man to live a humanitarian, inquisitive, progressive life, beautifully and happily." However the Trade Center turns out, it will have that ideal— and it will be built with the ultimate degree of loving care.

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