Rebuilding the Twin Towers?

New York - New York property tycoon Donald Trump on Wednesday unveiled his design for "bigger, stronger and better" twin towers to replace the World Trade Centre originals that were destroyed on September 11, 2001.

Denouncing the existing plans for rebuilding Ground Zero as "the worst pile of crap architecture I've ever seen", Trump argued that erecting two new, even taller twin towers was the only valid response to the terrorists.

The consummate self-promoter, known as "The Donald", showed off his proposal just weeks after the official master design was put on hold because of security concerns surrounding the centrepiece, Freedom Tower.

Describing the Freedom Tower as an "empty skeleton", Trump said its construction would be a capitulation.

"If we rebuild the World Trade Centre in the form of a skeleton, the terrorists win. It's that bad," he told reporters gathered in the lobby of his 5th Avenue Trump Towers headquarters on Manhattan.

The design put forward by Trump and his structural engineer, Kenneth Gardner, essentially offers a modified version of the original twin towers, erected in the early 1970s.

The replacements would be at least 1 475 feet tall, more than 100 feet higher than their previous incarnations. The new North Tower would also boast a 383-foot communications mast.

"It's bigger, it's stronger and it's better than the previous World Trade Centre, and it sets the right tone and the right attitude," Trump said, adding that some members of the public who had seen the model had been moved to tears.

Charles Wolf, whose wife was killed in the North Tower, was more circumspect in his appraisal of the model.

"It spooked me when I first saw it... the idea of the towers rising again," Wolf said.

"I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but it's an interesting idea," he added.

The Trump towers - he promised not to attach his name to the buildings - would employ a tube-within-a-tube design with improved fireproofing and larger stairwells.

Gardner said the structures would be able to withstand the kind of attacks that brought down the original towers on September 11, 2001, killing 2 479 people. - Sapa-AFP

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