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Foster loses design contest to replace the World Trade Centre

The British architect Norman Foster has been nudged out of the competition to rebuild the World Trade Centre site in New York. The committee overseeing the redevelopment said they had chosen two finalists from nine designs submitted by architects from around the world last month.

Instead, the panel favoured two plans that feature structures that would rise higher than any in the world. One, by a design team known as Think, includes a striking pair of open lattice-work towers that have been likened to a 21st-century melding of the old Twin Towers and the Eiffel Tower.

The second design comes from Berlin-based Daniel Libeskind, who opted to leave exposed some of the foundations of the original towers and build a soaring needle that would be filled with a vertical garden.

The panellists now face the task of choosing between the finalists before the end of this month. Officials said the eventual choice might not be built exactly as conceived but would provide inspiration for what eventually rises.

Lord Foster of Thames Bank proposed a pair of sky-piercing towers that stood beside one another, touching at different points as they rose, as well as an extensive ground-level park with two square voids, or pits, on the footprints of the fallen twin towers.

"From the outset our project has consistently topped all opinion polls and was still leading at the end of the consultation period," Lord Foster said in statement. "We are obviously surprised and disappointed not to be asked to continue to work on the project."

The Think team, led by the New York-based architects Rafael Vinoly and Frederic Schwartz, would place their towers on the same footprints. The towers would hold structures at various levels, including large performance spaces. They would rise to 1,665ft, higher than the world's tallest structure, the 1,483ft Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia.