The 9/11 Memorial

 

 

My SIL Isabelle Paez sent me photos of the 9/11 Memorial. I haven’t been here yet. The first and last time I was actually in Ground Zero was 5 months after the attack. My husband and I were there as journalists. It was hard to describe what we were seeing. Then with every succeeding trip to New York, it wasn’t like we went out of our way to visit the site. In fact, the times I went to Century 21 to look for bargains, I purposely looked away. It was hard to be reminded of the horror. Our dear friend Joe Katanik walked down from the 56th floor of the South Tower when the second plane hit his building. He was able to get out and help people along the way. But he also saw a lot of people go back up. I cannot imagine the healing and understanding that had to and still has to happen.

This is what the 9/11 Memorial looks like now based on the winning design of architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker. An international design competition was held in 2003 for a national memorial to remember and honor the people killed in terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. Design submissions totaled 5,201 and were received from 63 nations. (Source: 9/11 Memorial)

There are two enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools, each about an acre in size, set within the footprints of the original twin towers. Based on the design overview, this conveys a spirit of hope and renewal, and creates a contemplative space separate from the usual sights and sounds of a bustling metropolis.

 

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North Pool of Memory. Behind is the 911 Memorial Museum’s entry pavilion designed by the Norwegian architecture firm, Snøhetta. Photo by Isabelle Paez.

 

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The nearly 3,000 names of the men, women, and children killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 are inscribed on bronze parapets surrounding the twin Memorial pools. Names are organized according to which tower and floor they occupied. Hence they are listed with whom they died. Those who died in the planes are also together. Photo by Isabelle Paez.

 

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Names are stencil-cut into the parapets, allowing visitors to look through the names at the water, and to create paper impressions or rubbings of individual names. At night, light shines up through the voids created by each letter of a name. Photo by Isabelle Paez.

 

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The South Pool of Memory. Isabelle’s insights, “It is quite beautiful. It has just the right tone of loss, memory and renewal.” Photo by Isabelle Paez.

 

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Aerial rendering of Memorial and Museum
Image credit, Squared Design Lab; Courtesy, National 9/11 Memorial & Museum; Taken, September 07, 2010.
This image appears in the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum set in the WTC Renderings gallery.

 

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Actual aerial photograph by Joe Woolhead. Courtesy, Silverstein Properties. Taken, October 01, 2011

 

Click “More…” to see photos and renderings of the 911 Museum

 

 

Isabelle also sent me photos of these two buildings called the West Vent Structures. They are part of the Memorial Plaza. They are visible in the upper right side of the aerial photos above. One of them houses a vent for the south PATH tubes. Both of them are vent shafts for the Memorial & Museum, they also include elevators and emergency stairs. Both will have a rainwater collection system on top.

 

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The West Vent Structures are wrapped in Cambridge Mesh woven stainless steel. And as it turns out, this is a project my SIL had been working on for the past three years. Her company IPNY is the exlusive sales representative of Cambridge Architectural Mesh in New York City. Davis Brody Bond Aedas is the architect of the West Vent Structures.

 

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Cambridge Mesh can also be used as interior & exterior curtains, screens, handrails, sunshading, fencing and more.

 

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Swamp white oaks (Quercus bicolor) were picked because of their durability and leaf color. In fall, the leaf color ranges from amber to a golden brown – and sometimes pink. The trees can grow to reach heights as tall as 60 feet in conditions similar to those on the plaza. The trees will never be identical, growing at different heights and changing leaves at different times, a physical reminder that they are living individuals. Source: 9/11 Memorial.

 

Aedas was chosen to be Associate Architect for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Reflecting Absence. Aedas is working with the Design Team of Michael Arad and Peter Walker in the realization of the design for the Memorial. Aedas is the lead architect on the Memorial Museum.

Visitors to the museum will experience individual and personal encounters at the site within the context of a historical narrative. The shell of the space is actually comprised of existing foundations – walls, columns, bases – these have become as much an artifact of 9/11 as the contents of the exhibitions. Here are some renderings I got from the World Trade Center website.

 

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Two of the original steel tridents from the Twin Towers will be enclosed within the Pavilion’s grand glass atrium, standing as references to the past, while signaling hope for the future.
Image credit, Squared Design Lab; Courtesy, National 9/11 Memorial & Museum; Taken, September 01, 2008.
This image appears in the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum set in the WTC Renderings gallery.

 

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Museum Design Study: South Tower Box Beam Columns
Image credit, Squared Design Lab; Courtesy, National 9/11 Memorial & Museum; Taken, September 07, 2010.
This image appears in the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum set in the WTC Renderings gallery.

 

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Museum Design Study: WTC site recovery efforts
Image credit, Thinc Design with Local Projects; Courtesy, Silverstein Properties; Taken, September 07, 2010.
This image appears in the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum set in the WTC Renderings gallery.

 

The 9/11 Memorial Plaza is now open. If you plan to visit, you must reserve visitor passes in advance.  The museum is expected to open in 2012.

My daughters saw these photos while I was working on this post. They both asked a lot of questions. It’s hard to explain a tragedy, an act of terrorism to a 5 year-old and 8 year-old. Here is a guide on how to talk to your kids about 9/11. There are also guides and lesson plans for teachers. I went through them. They’re very useful and healing. We can refer to them to help deal with any tragedy and emergencies. More importantly, it spreads the message of volunteerism  and kindness.

If you are a design professional or student of architecture or design, I encourage you to go through the 911 memorial website. It goes through an in-depth explanation of the architecture and landscape design. It couldn’t have been easy to create a memorial of such a horrific event. But I think they’ve succeeded in creating something right and beautiful.

 

 

 

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