Portfolio :
Ground Zero/World Trade Center Competition
New York, New York

Description: Project Statement

The memorial takes the form of two truncated elliptical cones; the larger cone is oriented axially to the WTC towers, the smaller oriented on the north south axis. The steel structural members of the fallen WTC towers are to be melted and formed into plates that will clad the cones. All visitors will thus be able to touch the steel that permitted the evacuation of thousands before succumbing to the inferno. Rematerializing the steel as a pair of cones, geometric forms that have an inherently strong material distribution, is to make a statement about the resolve of the survivors, victims' families, and Americans alike after the terrorist strikes. The cones also provide a rooted counterpoint to the jagged and dynamic lines of the Libeskind project. The visitors proceed from the outer cone and discover the unseen inner cone and the dramatic ambulatory space that compresses and expands between them. A continuous perimeter trough covered in glass planking will incorporate lighting in order to light the cones from below at night and dematerialize them. The inner cone of the memorial is a spiritual space that shields a visitor's link to city and provides a frame to the heavens. Here the visual, sensual, aural, and tactile qualities of the refashioned WTC steel meet to heighten the spiritual experiences of the visitor. The only earthbound aspects of this otherwise scale-less space are the names of the victims of the terrorist strikes that are inscribed on the inner walls. Firemen, police officers, and other rescue and emergency workers' names show their affiliations to honor their exceptional and heroic sacrifice.

The Burial Mound

The earth mound is highest at the cones. Underneath the sloped surface of grass are various unprogrammed ancillary spaces, the most important of which is the repository for unidentified remains that emerges from the mound, partially buried. Accessed from the circulation ring around the outer cone, the repository could be a crypt-like skylight space. It should also be available to the families and loved ones of the victims for personal contemplation. In this metaphoric burial mound we inter remains, the lost lives, the towers, but in larger sense we bury a moment and also an epoch in American history. Like the ancient burial mounds--the precursors of the pyramids-the mound will provide powerful testimony to future generations of what happened at ground zero, and permanently hallow its land.

The WTC Tower Footprints

The cores of the WTC towers were where lives were saved and lives were lost. They were the heart, nervous system, and part of the skeleton of building. The south tower core is expressed as a void within a bosque. This void is framed & enveloped by carefully pruned & sculpted American Sycamore trees on a regular grid in what was the free plan of office space. This plane is raised four feet above the memorial site grade and is fully accessible to visitors. The flooring of the bosque would be finely ground Manhattan schist, the very bedrock that makes Manhattan possible. At the north tower footprint, some trees are replaced by 3-foot wide by 6-foot high parallelpiped water sculptures. Here, the water is the metaphoric stand in for life and time. At night, the water sculptures are light from below and provide and dynamic and luminous display in the partially enclosed space. Family members can thus go to the cores for quiet contemplation and possibly stand on the footprint where a loved one was taken from them. The Glazed Wall of the transportation concourse would have a continuous stream of water delicately dripping from above in order to give the memorial an ethereal appearance from within. It will also provide the needed privacy for visitors to the sacred north tower core. The memorial is reflected in a narrow reflecting pool from this point.

The Liberty Wall is a portion of the memorial site that that is reserved to honor the surviving, firemen, police officers, and rescue workers and construction workers. It would also have a pedagogical function to briefly describe the construction, destruction, and deconstruction of the site.

The accessible portion of the Slurry Wall would have a highly polished stainless steel mirror opposite the slurry wall to visually expand the space and enhance the architectonic and "Piranesian" power of the wall.

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