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Architect Libeskind vows WTC rebuild will inspire

By Emma Thomasson

BERLIN, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Daniel Libeskind, the architect whose design won the competition for the redevelopment of "Ground Zero" in New York, said on Monday he was sure his vision would be realised despite wrangling over control of the site.

"The prospect is very, very good and there is a lot of commitment by everyone that this project will be implemented very closely to the model presented at the competition," he told journalists at his acclaimed Jewish Museum building in Berlin.

In February, New York officials chose Libeskind's design for a needle-shaped "Freedom Tower", 1,776 feet (541 metre) high to echo the year of U.S. Independence, for the site of the World Trade Center's twin towers destroyed on September 11, 2001.

But after months of feuding between Libeskind and site developer Larry Silverstein over the plans, another architect, David Childs, was made lead designer and project manager and Libeskind was relegated to "collaborating architect".

Silverstein wanted more office space than Libeskind's design envisaged and sources close to the developer said he was also worried the tall tower could not be evacuated easily. Libeskind said he would not compromise, but his design would evolve.

"There will be many new things that come into it... like a painting that starts as a sketch and as a first impression but then develops in time with all necessary detail," he told a news conference to mark the opening of a new exhibition of his work.


"What will come out of it is not a hodge-podge of eclectic mixtures and compromises but an evolution of a plan that was initially robust enough and strong enough and flexible enough to accommodate the evolving programme," he said.

"We will deliver to the public something the public expects: something fantastic, something inspiring, something which speaks about 9/11 and the heroes of the day, something which reasserts Manhattan as capital of the world and creativity."

Born in 1946 in Poland to Jews who survived the Holocaust in Soviet labour camps, Libeskind became a U.S. citizen in 1965 and spent most of his early career as an academic, teaching architecture rather than constructing buildings.

He shot to fame in 1989, when his controversial design for an aluminium-clad lightning bolt of a building was picked for Berlin's new Jewish Museum, only completed a decade later.

Hundreds of thousands visited the empty building before the museum's permanent exhibition opened two years ago. Since then, 1.4 million have flocked to the museum, and director Michael Blumenthal said many of them were drawn by Libeskind's design.

An accomplished accordion and piano player who initially studied music, Libeskind believes in architecture as art.

"I see in all the great buildings an effort to communicate across time, across the barriers of language in a kind of universal way something that is touching the soul and uplifting the heart," he said.

"Architecture as a constructive profession is something that is always about optimism. You can't build something if you don't believe in the future."

WTC designs revealed this week

Monday, November 17, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) -- The public will get its first look this week at the design proposals for what could become the most-visited memorial in the world -- the victims' monument planned for the World Trade Center site.

Officials on Wednesday will reveal the proposals of eight finalists competing to design the ground zero memorial to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, and at the 1993 bombing at the trade center.

Dozens of victims' groups have long been voicing their interest in the memorial's size, shape and design.

Many family members have said the towers' footprints -- where the two, looming buildings once stood -- need to be left empty, and say as large a space as possible is needed to separate the area from commercial development. Families of fallen firefighters and rescue workers want their loved ones' names listed as a group.

Others have expressed preferences on everything from the size of the inscribed victims' names to the need for play areas for children. But despite the intense interest, it's unclear how much public opinion will affect the selection.

The decision rests with a 13-member jury appointed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to choose the memorial. There will be no formal public comment process, and jurors have been instructed not to speak publicly about their deliberations.

Asked whether the public's views on the designs would matter, corporation president Kevin Rampe said, "Obviously the public will express their opinion and I'm sure the jury will hear them." But he added, "the jury will make the final decision."

They are expected to choose a design by the end of the year.

The process differs from the way officials chose the chief rebuilding plan for the site. Redevelopment leaders solicited public comment after finalists' designs were displayed, and said the decision was largely guided by those responses.

The corporation chose Daniel Libeskind's Freedom Tower design; leaseholder Larry Silverstein later appointed David Childs lead architect. The two architects are currently working toward a mid-December deadline to reach a compromise on the 1,776-foot (532.8-meter) tower's design.

Officials say they are using a different process for the memorial because it is public art, as opposed to urban redevelopment.

But many who lost loved ones at the towers feel it is more important to be heard about the memorial than anything else.

"The process is not being open to the public and it's despicable," said Bruce Decell, whose son-in-law, Mark Petrocelli, was killed.

Monica Iken, who lost her husband in the 2001 attack, is concerned whether the memorial can accommodate the projected flow of visitors. Some have estimated up to 20,000 people already visit the trade center site daily.

Iken also wants the victims' families to have a private place to reflect and mourn.

"We have to share this with the world, we understand that," said Iken, founder of the family group September's Mission. "But we also need a separate place."

The finalists' designs, chosen from 5,200 submissions, will be displayed at the World Financial Center near where the towers stood. Corporation officials refused to discuss any details of the entries, saying only that the jurors have spent hundreds of hours deliberating and looked at each submission.

The jury is a diverse group that includes Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial; former college president and New York Library president Vartan Gregorian; Michael McKeon, Gov. George Pataki's former spokesman; and Paula Grant Berry, whose husband, David, was killed at the trade center.

Reflecting Absence

Designed by Michael Arad of New York




This design proposes a space that resonates with the feelings of loss and absence that were generated by the death and destruction at the World Trade Center. A pair of reflective pools marks the location of the towers' footprints. The surface of these pools is broken by large voids. These voids can be read as containers of loss, being close-by yet inaccessible.

The pools are submerged thirty feet below street level in the middle of a large open plaza. They too are large voids, open and visible reminders of the absence. The pools are fed by a constant stream of water, cascading down the walls which enclose them. Bordering each pool is a pair of sloped buildings. These buildings create a sense of enclosure, capturing the exposed outer corners of the memorial site and defining a path of circulation around each pool. They also guide visitors to the site into the memorial itself.

Visitors begin their descent into the memorial by entering one of these buildings. This descent removes them from the sights and sounds of the city and immerses them in a cool darkness. As they gradually proceed, step by step, the sound of water falling grows louder, and more daylight filters in from below. At the bottom of their descent, they find themselves behind a thin curtain of water, staring out at an enormous pool that flows endlessly towards a central void that remains empty. A ribbon of names surrounds this pool and the enormity of this space and the multitude of names lining it underscore the vast scope of the tragedy that took place at this site. Standing there at the water's edge, looking at a pool of water that is flowing away into an abyss, a visitor to the site can sense that what is beyond this curtain of water and ribbon of names is inaccessible.

The names of the deceased appear to be in no discernible order. The apparent randomness reflects the haphazard brutality of the deaths and allows for flexibility in the placement of names of friends and relatives in ways that permit for meaningful adjacencies; for example, siblings who perished together at the site could have their names listed side by side. Family members seeking out the name of a loved one are guided by on-site staff or a printed directory to their specific location. The location of the name marks a spot that is their own.

In between the two pools is a short passageway that links them at this subterranean level. At its center is a small alcove where visitors can light a candle. Across from it, a long corridor leads to a chamber that houses unidentified remains. This space is only open to family members and serves as a private contemplative space.

The end of a visit to the memorial is marked by an ascent back to street level. Visitors are again ensconced by darkness, but now the long and narrow passageway leads up towards daylight. As they emerge from the ramped enclosure, they find themselves back in the open plaza.

The western edge of the plaza is bounded by a cultural building that shelters the site from the highway. The remaining three sides are open and link the plaza to adjacent streets and neighborhoods. Tall pines punctuate the plaza's surface, softening its character and creating shaded areas within this large outdoor room. Designed to be a mediating space, the plaza belongs both to the city and to the memorial. It encourages uses that are both contemplative and everyday. It is a living part of the city.

Garden of Lights

Designed by Pierre David with Sean Corriel and Jessica Kmetovic of Paris.




There was a last hour, a last minute, a last second that 2,982 stars went dark. The instant there was this last light there was a first light, 2,982 stars were born. A new constellation expands across the entire site; a new garden expands across the entire site. Time and space slow as the lights from the constellation pass through the garden, through the earth, and create the new constellation below. Above there is the garden, below there is a new sky and 2,982 stars.

The garden of lights links the sky above to the new sky below.

A glass wall surrounds this garden of lights. When it opens everyday from 8:46am to 10:29am it is a breath, a new rhythm for the city. The seed of the garden is the courage of the past. A gardener is invited from a different part of the world each year to nurture this seed. The footprints teem with life, a prairie. Between the footprints the gardener raises an orchard. Each season we walk a new path through the prairie and new seeds grow on the old path. In September the orchard gives fruit, the gift of life nourished by light.

Between the garden above and the new sky below are two rooms the expanse of the footprints. The south room of light is pure light filled with all of the sky above and below. The family moves with their tears in between lights, memory, and life. Leading to the north room of light is an offering path, a stream lined with roses. They give a rose, and the floating petals bring them into the north room of light. A steel wall forged from the salvaged metal of the towers occupies the length of this room. The family passes along its thickness. On the other side of this wall glow 1,275 lights. This is the resting place of the unidentified remains.

Beneath the garden, beneath the rooms of light, we are under the constellation of 2,982 stars that shine down on 2,982 altars. The eight year-old daughter has hand-written the name of her father. Her handwriting is engraved in the alabaster of her father's altar forever. Light shines on each engraved name for eternity. Each visitor has a map of the new constellation and they navigate their path through the stars. The light for those we have lost is with us, at our hands, on our faces. In the distance, the slurry wall accompanies the light down to reveal bedrock. The slurry wall holds the garden, the new sky, and the bedrock below.

In the garden of lights we can look down the path of each light. We see the name inscribed in stone and the light from the shining star. A cloud passes over the city; it is a shadow on the garden, a sparkle in the stars below, a glimmer on the altar, a flicker in the soul.

Suspending Memory

Designed by Joseph Karadin with Hsin-Yi Wu of New York.




The memorial at the World Trade Center site gives the victim's family members a chance to tell the story of the ones that they have lost. It will give each and every person who witnesses the memorial a chance to learn something about the people who perished and the family members who continue mourn the loss of their loved ones.

The lives lost on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 collectively form the foundation of two memorial gardens rising from where the WTC towers once stood. Each victim is manifested as a symbol of strength, a single column helping support one of two island gardens. As the columns extend through the garden surface at varied heights they transform from concrete into glass. Each unique glass column is a timeline of a victim's defining moments beginning with a birth date and culminating at September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. It is an object biography that gives visitors a glimpse of the persons who perished on both days. By sharing the victim's birth date and life story, it enables visitors to relate and form a personal bond which otherwise would not have existed. The memorial column becomes a glowing beacon of each victim; their defining moments shining brightest at night.

In passing between the ever-changing gardens, the visitor is made aware of two other tragic events bridged in time; Somerset County, Pennsylvania and Arlington, Virginia. The memorial bridge is composed of alternating bands of stone and glass, epitomizing the past and the present, the enduring and the ever changing. The name of each victim from Pennsylvania and Virginia is etched into a glass plaque suspended over a pool of reflected azure.

Upon entering the North garden, visitors are greeted with a natural stone wall inlaid with 2982 randomly protruding polished squares. This wall spans the length of the island, shielding it from its frenetic surroundings. Water trickles from an opening at the base of each square into a pristine reflecting pool. The Pool of Tears enfolds the entire memorial site forever preserving Ground Zero as hallowed ground. The expanse of this pool is a metaphor of the collective tears shed by millions around the world.

The memorials become the embodiment of each victim representing them as a summation of time; a collection of moments recorded in each life. Together they form a place of hope and tranquil beauty suspended in a sea of calming motion.

Votives in Suspension

Designed by Noaman Lee and Michael Lewis of Houston.




In their absence, the World Trade Center Towers have attained a greater degree of symbolic significance, their meaning instantaneously transformed on September 11, 2001. As monumental buildings, they were symbols of American capitalism, as voids, they now represent a concept of loss unparalleled in both scale and complexity. Our proposal for the WTC memorial aims to transform the towers' footprints into dual sanctuary spaces that resonate profoundly with a sense of both individual and collective loss.

The memorial sanctuaries will be set into the earth and semi-enclosed from the outside. Only narrow gaps that outline each footprint will allow sunlight to penetrate into these sacred areas. Austere and minimal, the exteriors will give no indication of their interior space. From street level, the sanctuaries' monolithic expanses will invite contemplation and suggest absence.

Once on the memorial grounds, the sanctuaries will only be made visible to visitors by long parapet walls that surround the footprints of the original towers. Most of this area will be kept as green park space providing a versatile venue for memorial ceremonies. Visitors will also be visually drawn to the exposed slurry walls on the western edge of the site as well as the Liberty Wall located on the southern side. The Liberty Wall will be engraved with monumental text that provides a didactic historical timeline of the World Trade Center site. A large part of this story will focus on the heroic efforts of brave rescue workers who worked tirelessly, many of who made the ultimate sacrifice, to save lives on September 11th.

Visitors will descend down a stairway or lift system into each sanctuary, emerging into a darkened, serene environment. Here they will witness an expansive field of votive lights suspended in mid-air creating a sublimely beautiful downpour of loss. The votives, each representing a victim of the terrorist attacks, hang down on cables from the sanctuary ceiling just above a reflecting pool. The cables will function as capillaries that channel liquid fuel into the votives to sustain the symbolic flames. The age of each victim is used to determine the height of the suspended votives creating an irregular field of light that both breaks apart into fragments and coalesces as an entirety. This reinforces the memorial mission to convey both the overall magnitude of loss and pay tribute to individual lives. As a part of the memorial's creation, victims' families and friends will be invited to light the votives that represent their lost loved ones. Each flame, therefore, will be created by an individual act of remembrance.

The name of each victim will be listed horizontally in alphabetical order on the parapet walls that define and encompass each sanctuary space. The procession of names will begin in the sanctuary devoted to the North Tower, where the first plane hit, and conclude in the sanctuary dedicated to the South Tower. A somber underground passageway will connect these two sanctuaries as well as provide access to a burial space located at bedrock for the unidentified remains of victims.

Dual Memory

Designed by Brian Strawn and Karla Sierralta of Chicago.




The memory of an individual and the combined memory of the community as a whole are embodied by the footprints of the former World Trade Center Towers and the new future for the area. On a personal level, and as members of our larger communities, we were all affected by the terrorist attacks on February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001. The footprints serve as healing points for our great losses.

Elements of water reflect light and memory.

2,982 light portals shine over the "Individual Memory Footprint", where the North Tower of the WTC once stood. Each light glows with individual intensity, honoring all of the victims who died. Elements of water embrace and reflect memories related to those we lost, those who survived and the selfless actions of those who aided in rescue, recovery and healing. The journey to the emotional center of the footprint is a personal experience. Evolving images are reflected as water flows down the walls that support the plane of water above. On glass and stone, the names are revealed. Here, as stories are shared, they become part of our collective. A final resting place for the unidentified remains embraces a private area for family members and loved ones. This space, at bedrock, becomes the most sacred.

Elements of earth create spaces that frame the sky.

92 Sugar Maples trees stand on the "Shared Memory Footprint". The space, where the South Tower of the WTC once stood, is devoted to the shared loss of a community, a city, a country, and the world. These native trees of New York grow as a symbol of new life in the soil of each of the 92 nations brought together by the great tragedies. A shared path guides visitors through bands of nature that form around the emotional center of the footprint. Stone walls that carry messages of hope from each of the countries and a bed of wild roses surround this quiet space for meditation and contemplation.

The emotional centers of each of the footprints resonate at a different pace. The constantly evolving stories of the individual inform the more slowly developing shared perspective of the collective. These encounter one another, exchange their composition, and form landscaped patterns allowing for intimate and public gatherings. Although the intensity of the lights changes during the course of day, and the trees weather with the passing of the seasons, the footprints will act as a constant reminder.

Inversion of Light

Designed by Toshio Sasaki of Brooklyn, N.Y.




As a human being and a witness to the great tragedies of September 11, 2001, and the 1993 terrorist bombings, I seek a way to remember and honor the thousands of innocent lives that were lost and the courage of the heroes. I seek to address this project as a challenge to inspire the human mind and to reaffirm respect for life, to strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and to bring about an end to hatred, ignorance, and intolerance.

The work I envision for the site will consist of the universal elements of light, water, air, and earth. Light, which is eternal and which emanates from the beginning of the universe; water, from which life came; and earth and air, which nourish life and the living. I propose to create a street-level park that will preserve the twin towers' footprints and the slurry wall. The park will signify the renewal of life and offer a place for public ceremonies and days of remembrance. The below-grade level beneath the park where the unidentified-remains area is situated, gives both the victims and their families a serene place for visitation, contemplation, and rest.

To enter the underground area of the memorial, one descends a ramp leading to where the victims are represented as light, water, and air. Within the north tower's footprint, a representative floor plan, based on those of the ninety-fourth and ninety-fifth floors, is illuminated from below; the light is blocked in the central area of the plan. On the north wall of the memorial, where the first plane hit, an extended curtain of clear glass will be etched with the names of the lost individuals. The victim's names will be sorted in two main categories, designated by 2001 and 1993. The 2001 category will be organized by locations: World Trade Center site, Somerset County, Pennsylvania and Arlington, Virginia. The victim names within these locations will be organized by civilians and non-civilians (military personnel, NYPD, NYFD and other groups). Behind the glass and along its length and height, water will trickle continuously, representing the eternal movement of life through time. The black-granite east and west walls will be etched with the memorial mission statement and the heroes' insignias; the east wall with the history of events.

In footprint of the south tower, a reflection pond will serve as a tribute to the spirits of the victims; at night, it will be illuminated from beneath by a circle of lights projecting into the sky. In winter, the heat of the lights will vaporize the water and create the image of flames on its surface.

The centrally located unidentified-remains area is enclosed in two semicircular glass walls, unified above by a circular skylight that emerges in the curvilinear park. From this central column ripples out a horizontal configuration that incorporates all elements of the memorial and its surroundings-all columns, the main ramp, all lighting, the museums, the footprints and elements within, and the geography of the surrounding urban grid, extending to the Statue of Liberty and, perhaps, beyond. From this column a blue laser light shines into the universe, connecting the geometry and geography of the earth with the geometry and eternity of the universe.

The proposed memorial, conceptually called Inversion of Light, is a living memorial. Dedicated to world peace, it will ensure that future generations never forget this great tragedy. We, as human beings, hope that we can serve this memory well and lead ourselves toward peacefulness, tranquility, and purity of contemplation. We, as part of the greater universe, hope to transcend the suffering of any single generation and come to an understanding of the authenticity of eternity and the vindication of truth.

Passages of Light: Memorial Cloud

Designed by bbc art + architecture, Baurmann Brooks, Coersmeier Gisela Baurmann, Sawad Brooks, and Jonas Coersmeier of New York.




Through "Passages of Light : The Memorial Cloud," we wish to create upon a site scarred by a terrifying loss, sorrow, and grief, a work of shared and individual mourning, as well as a gesture affirming our hopes, common dreams, and ability to rebuild.

Our intention is first to recognize and honor the victims of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 within a special, shrouded, spiritual space, protected from the noise and pace of the city by a crystalline "cloud." The cloud's top surface is a translucent bandage healing a wound. Level with "Ground Zero" (street level) and permitting traversal, it reconnects the urban fabric of downtown. On the ground beneath the cloud each of the 2,982 victims is represented by a radiating circle of light embedded into the floor, which illuminates the engraved name of the individual victim but also projects a subtle ray of light upward into the cloud. During the day, the cloud, like an undulating veil, a sinuous surface forming cathedral-like vaults, channels daylight downward onto the field of names.

Together, the names form a design that we term the "Pompeii Scheme," because it represents individuals equally in the course of their lives, cut short by the attacks. A name appears near those of the people with whom he or she died. For example, the approximately 1400 individuals who perished in Tower One define the largest field of lights. This field is continuous with the group of approximately 600 who died in the second tower. The design's appearance reflects the cloud's topology of cupolas. A "Line of Rescuers" runs through both groups, where Firefighters, Police, and ordained and medical people can be represented.

Our design is guided by our respect for the sacred ground. Accordingly, we limit the cloud to touching the ground for support on only five points; we judiciously open the earth beneath the World Trade Center Tower footprints only to provide visitors access to the symbolic "bedrock" level, creating thereby a processional passage of light and subterranean darkness. The procession that carries visitors beside the repository for the "unidentified remains" connects both footprints with the channel along the exposed slurry wall.

Through the Memorial Cloud we hope to elicit two more responses, one highly physical, the other imaginative, both of awe. One recovers a sensation associated with the World Trade Center Towers when we recall standing in their presence: the urge to look skywards, a vertical gesture associated with hope. With the second gesture we seek to give expression to a relation between those we mourn and those who live on affected by the tragedy and repercussions of the attacks. This is a relation between the finite and the sublime. The cloud's design as a bundle of 10,000 vertical conduits for light which support each other structurally, distributing forces of tension and compression, figuratively represents our shared responsiveness to crisis and our cumulative strength.

Lower Waters

Designed by Bradley Campbell and Matthias Neumann of Brooklyn, N.Y.




Water and light symbolize life, rejuvenation and rebirth. By using water and light as key elements of the design and by bringing people directly to the site of the attacks, we hope that visitors will remember not only the loss of life but also the sanctity of life that we live each day. These elements point to the passing of time, and speak to us of emotion and transcendence. The site is designed to provide a place in this city and within each of us where we may find peace in experiencing the challenging, often painful cycle of death, grief, rebirth and life.

Our physical movement throughout the site, the inclined park and the various levels of memorial and museum, represents our emotional movement through the experiences of memory, grief, discovery, hope, and rebirth. We descend to the memorial spaces, the literal and figurative centers, and to the Museum of September 11. Our contact with the names of the victims, their final resting place, the original slurry wall, and bedrock level of the World Trade Center causes us to contemplate the profound loss suffered on September 11 and to be grateful for the many that were saved. As we ascend, we come back to the city and ourselves transformed by the emotional and historic magnitude of that day.

Materials have been carefully chosen to support the concept, symbolism and emotion of the memorial. The memorial space of the North Tower is clad in black granite - solemn, strong, stable - a reference to living memory and to the foundation of the towers. The private area for families of the victims and the intimate area for the public are made of thick walls of earth, to suggest comfort and stability at the depths. The fa

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On World Trade Center Memorial, Criticism Outstrips Praise


November 23, 2003

It must be clear by now that New Yorkers do not lack for opinions. This was certainly the case yesterday at Pace University, where dozens of ordinary New Yorkers showed up to offer their views on the eight finalists for the World Trade Center memorial design competition.

The experts having already weighed in voluminously on the subject, the Municipal Art Society asked ordinary people to give their perspectives in a handful of small sessions that seemed to blend the give-and-take of a creative writing workshop with the raw emotions of a 12-step meeting.

Over all, the eight proposals flunked

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This is one of those places that has so much bad vibe associated with it that nothing is going to make it feel right. I would go with a very simple design, a place to remember in peace without any pretense or fancy architecture.

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By WILLIAM NEUMAN - December 7, 2003

The eight design finalists for a Ground Zero memorial have been met with fierce criticism and a call for the jury to take a second look at some of the 5,193 submissions that didn't make the cut - but a review of dozens of these also-rans helps to underscore how difficult the judge's job has been.

The Post looked at over 60 memorial submissions - barely more than 1 percent of the total - many of them posted on the Internet and other solicited from their designers, including artists and architects.

They show both ingenuity and sameness, fresh ideas and predictable repetition of motifs.

There are flags and sculptures - monumental- and human-sized - there are pyramids and spires, replicas of the Twin Towers and fragments of their shattered remains.

Looking at the also-rans helps in understanding what the jury weeded out. There are no sculptures in the eight finalists, no replica towers, no World Trade Center relics.

But there are also similarities between the finalists and their competitors that tell a story about the shared difficulties of creating a memorial at Ground Zero.

Almost none of the designs viewed by The Post found a way to integrate the exposed slurry wall into their schemes.

Instead they ignore it, or work around it - and as a result, find little justification for keeping the trade center pit open. Most of the designs at the base of the pit would work just as well at street level.

In contrast, nearly all the plans treat the tower footprints with reverence, but often in a way that seems to handcuff their designs, rather than liberate them.

Many designs can be found online at the Web site www.eternalwtc.org.

"Infinite Spire and Fallen Headstone"

Brian McConnell, San Francisco


"Infinity is a potent concept, a metaphor for death, for eternity, for the human mind. The focus of our memorial is a slightly convex metallic spire that is shaped ... to project the illusion of infinite height... When viewed from the footprints, the spire's walls are vertical at ground level and appear to rise up to an infinite vanishing point overhead."

"A Golden Tree"

Jean Luc Comperat and Minouche Waring, New York


"A colossal 80 foot high tree trunk and branches will be constructed out of a metal skeleton dressed in resin that is gold leafed." The tree will hold 3,022 gold plated leaves, representing the victims and 92 flags representing their native countries, that "will bristle in the wind, humming into eternity."


Sarah Lavery, New York

The footprints are occupied by a forest of 3,022 soaring carbon fiber poles up to 80 stories high, arranged so visitors can walk among them at the base. "Each individual [victim] is simply represented by a pillar of varying height, slightly angled; each different than another. No heirarchy, no names. They are all arranged in a democratic grid."

Endurance Memorial

Stuart Gosswein, Washington, D.C.

Replica 20-story high Twin Towers rise inside a double-decker glass pentagon that serves as a fountain, with water cascading from one level to the other. Victims names are inscribed on a plaza surrounding the fountain. Fragments of the original Twin Towers fa

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Revised 9/11 Memorial Is Unveiled


January 14, 2004

The finished design for the World Trade Center memorial site will build on the original concept of twin voids marking the location and outlines of the twin towers, but it will add lusher landscaping, create an underground center to house artifacts from the attack and establish a cultural center at the recreated intersection of Fulton and Greenwich Streets.

State and city officials unveiled the design today to a public that has waited anxiously and eagerly for the architectural gesture that might help bind the wounds of Sept. 11, 2001, in the place where they run deepest.


Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

A rendering of the plaza level design for the World Trade Center memorial, "Reflecting Absence" by Michael Arad and Peter Walker.

"It is a powerful memorial," Gov. George E. Pataki said as the unveiling ceremony began at Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan.

Both the tree-filled landscape and the voids, with pools and cascading water, were crucial elements in winning over the 13-member jury last week, after a nine-month international competition that drew 5,201 entries. But the winning design has since been elaborated upon by Michael Arad, the original architect; Peter Walker, the newly arrived landscape architect; and Daniel Libeskind, the master planner working for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

They have proposed an underground space called the Memorial Center, perhaps two acres or more in extent, according to those who have seen the design. It is there that the twisted, resilient, evocative vestiges of the attack, fire trucks, steel columns, maybe even Fritz Koenig's sculpture `Sphere for Plaza Fountain' can finally return.


Lower Manhattan Development Corporation

An artist's rendering of visitors at the bedrock level of "Reflecting Absence," the World Trade Center memorial.

Visitors to this center will enter by walking down a ramp that will take them past exposed remnants of the slurry wall, almost as if they were departing the bustle of Lower Manhattan and piercing time. This journey into memory would begin where the World Trade Center ended, at the rugged slurry wall that defined and preserved the towers' foundations.

At the end of the long descent will be an underground space some 30 feet high. Forty feet deeper below ground, at the bottom of the building foundation where the north tower stood, and open to the sky through the void above, will be a stone container to hold the unidentified remains of victims of the attack.

The effort to refine all the elements and to produce models and renderings that will reflect the final intent of the jurors and the memorial designers has taken the architects from one coast (Mr. Walker's office is in Berkeley, Calif.) to the other (Mr. Libeskind's office is three blocks from ground zero).

Perhaps the most emotional moment in the weeklong redesign occurred on Friday when Mr. Arad arrived at Kennedy International Airport on a flight from San Francisco and was taken to Hangar 17, where trade center artifacts are kept by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Several of the people who accompanied the young architect on this visit said he was deeply moved.

The question of how such objects, including police cars, fire trucks, steel columns and parts of the television antenna, might meaningfully be incorporated into a memorial was unresolved in Mr. Arad's original design, which centered on two square voids, 30 feet deep, marking the outline and location of the twin towers.

It remains to be seen whether the public will embrace the solution of an underground Memorial Center of 60,000 to 100,000 square feet at the southwest corner of the memorial site, bounded by West and Liberty Streets. The plan also calls for about 250,000 square feet of additional cultural space above ground, at the northeast corner of the site, Fulton and Greenwich Streets.

Among the first people to see the finished design on Tuesday were members of the jury. "We do not view our selection of a winner as the end of the memorial," they wrote in a statement.

"Rather, we see our selection as one more stage of memory," they said. ` "Reflecting Absence' has evolved through months of conversation between the jury and its creators. This is why the jury is confident that whatever further issues this memorial may need to address over time (such as artifacts and the narrative history of that day) will be made part of the underground interpretive center."

Before the revised memorial was completed, several members of the memorial program drafting committee that was formed last year by the development corporation expressed concern that Mr. Arad's design did not "convey historic authenticity," as the competition guidelines had specified. They had suggested the possibility of including surviving original elements from the trade center.

The Port Authority has decided to install dehumidification within the next week for certain parts of Hangar 17 at Kennedy Airport, including areas that contain the last column removed from the site.

It also intends to build additional wood and tent containment areas for the vehicles and sensitive, important objects like sections of the tower floors that were compressed and burned into molten, meteor-shaped objects.

Last month, when asked about the condition of some of the objects, the Port Authority said that it would install dehumidification equipment by spring and that there were no immediate plans to create additional containment areas.

"We had additional discussions," Steve Coleman, an authority spokesman, said on Tuesday "As a result of those discussions, we decided to get things moving." The Port Authority, he said, is also looking for ways to patch the roof in areas where it is leaking.

Mr. Coleman said the authority had decided to form an advisory board of leading conservationists in the United States to advise it on how to protect objects. "The more advice we can get about what we can do, the better able we will be to protect the artifacts we have out there," he said. "As we get advice from additional experts, we will continue to do more."

The Port Authority already has an architectural firm and a conservationist advising it, but some conservationists said it was allowing objects to rapidly degrade because of poor humidity and temperature control. "It is our goal to preserve those things as best as we possibly can," Mr. Coleman said.

He also said that while the Port Authority was prepared to consider requests for future use of these items which were collected to be possibly displayed in memorials or a museum so far it had not received any.

A presentation for 35 relatives of the attack victims was given on Tuesday night by Mr. Arad at the development corporation.

"We fought really hard for access to the bedrock footprints at both towers, and we are happy that they are incorporating many of the original artifacts," said Patricia Reilly, a spokeswoman for the Coalition of 9/11 Families, who attended. Her sister Lorraine Lee died in the south tower. "We are excited that we were listened to, but we asked him to bring some of those artifacts aboveground, so that passers-by can have a visual connection with the enormity of that day."

Glenn Collins and Sabrina Tavernise contributed reporting for this article.

From The New York Times

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A view from the southeast looking north with the Freedom Tower in the background.


Michael Arad's revised design for the memorial site builds on his original concept of twin voids marking the location and outlines of the twin towers, but it adds lusher landscaping designed by Peter Walker.


Cultural buildings, right, will be at the northeast corner of the site.


The underground spaces overlooking the pools will be large, dark and quiet areas with names of the victims printed on the walls. Another underground area will house artifacts from the attack.

Images From Lower Manhattan Development Corporation

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Online exhibit showcases 5,000 WTC memorial designs


More than 5,000 designs entered in the World Trade Center memorial competition from around the world can be viewed in an online exhibit that opened on Thursday.

The winning design, reflecting pools that mark the twin towers

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Wow. Some of the designs are quite complex. A lot of people have put a lot of time and thought into these designs. It's too bad I just don't have the time to look at all of them.

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It is good that the towers are kept alive like that. They still are such an improtant part of our history and I will not forget what happened. PS- What about a tribute to the towers this weekend commemorating 9-11?

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I hate to sound crass here, but I also feel the funerary design element is overdone, and that in 15 years visitors will "drift away" as a citizen commented on the original 8 winning designs.

For those that died this will always be the gravesite for their loved ones, and that should be honored, but as many design submittals have proven, you can both properly honor those that died and also rebuild fully on the central WTC block. I think eventually it is important to rebuild fully on the site, and once we are past the mourning phase, that will be the better testament and honor to those that have fallen. That is in addition to a permanent memorial that is incorporated into the design, but does not itself dominate the central block or preclude further development.

I lost no one in the attacks, so do not want to condescend or make light of the devestation, but that said I do feel that leaving the WTC footprint permanently vacant is at some point an admission of defeat, not resilience, bravery, or a proper way to honor those that died. This is a sensitive issue I know, and that is said with the utmost respect.

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I don't know....people still visit the USS Arizona site with frequency, as do people visit Auschwitz.

I think that as humans, we have a tendancy to drift towards moridity, but perhaps not.

I do think that maybe they went a bit too somber, to the point it looks like a life-less green area that can't be enjoyed in a recreational way, but then, again, should it be?

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^OK, I suppose that is not what I really meant, yes people still visit those places, just as with the Vietnam War Memorial, Normandy, the examples you mention, etc., but for some reason I see the towers as a different situation, perhaps since they were symbols, and ultimately structures, that were destroyed along with countless lives, but were not places of suffering as in Auschwitz, or a place designated to commemorate soldiers in a war, etc. I think any example is different in some way. I personally think it a better monument, and further symbol of our indomitable spirit, to rebuild and do so with gusto, not set aside the footprint as the current design does.

Maybe it's something in my American ego, but I would consider it a finger in the face of the attackers to construct an even bigger monstrosity of a building right on top of the previous two towers, and let that be the monument to honor those who died. The morbidity will fade, and I think we should look beyond it. The egyptians built pyramids, the largest structures of their age, to honor their dead, I see this as no less fitting. Let their be a memorial of vast scale, yes, there are many examples, just not one that leaves the footprint vacant or otherwise changes the character of what is the heart of the greatest American city.

Anyway, I am rambling now, to tell you the truth I'm not sure what bothers me about the current design(s). Several friends in NYC have said that there have been several alternatives talked about probably too much by various groups, including Trump, some of which include rebuilding the twin towers as before (though structurally better), the essence being that no one likes the new design any more, not the least of which because it has itself changed. I had hoped this thread would have more comments from New Yorkers on this as I am curious to know what they are thinking.

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