While the design team for the controversial mosque and community center near the World Trade Center site has not yet been named, the developer--who himself "wanted to be an architect"--has pointed to two recently completed (but very different) New York City buildings as possible models for his vision of what final shape his Park 51 might take.

Sharif El-Gamal told the Wall Street Journal that Thom Mayne/Morphosis's 41 Cooper Square [read RECORD's take on this project and watch our video tour with Mayne] and SOM's 7 World Trade Center [read RECORD's take on the project and watch our video tour] are designs he admires and which could serve as architectural guideposts for his project, which he said he wants to be "one of the most significant buildings in New York City."

While these choices clearly indicate El-Gamal wants a highly contemporary design, his statement doesn't make it easy to imagine just what form the finished project may take--as SOM's tower is sleek and Minimalist, while Mayne's building features sharp folds and a ragged gash in its facade:

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41 Cooper Square                       Photo by Iwan Baan        

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7 WTC                                         Photo by Ruggero Vanni               

All we have to go on for now is a rather generic, hazy rendering of a boxy tower with some Islamic decorative touches:

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Notes: The Wall Street Journal article exists behind a paywall; a free summary of the piece can be viewed here. ... One source tells RECORD that a leader of those supporting the mosque has suggested that Zaha Hadid would be a good option as the designer. ... RECORD has not been able to determine the name of the architecture firm that did the rendering ....