The WTC Memorial project was a competition submission to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. It was one of over 5000 entries. Below is the concept statement.
When two opposing sides are recognized, their abstract distinctions can be explored. Communication, education and change emerge from having these two sides in opposition to each other and we begin to search for meaning in what lies between. To understand white, black must exist as it’s opposite. It is through these simple oppositions that we acknowledge, understand and remember.
The constituents of our nation questioned their security once an opposing threat became real on 9/11. Thoughts that did not exist one day suddenly consumed us in the face of opposition. Within a physical context, the stability of the WTC Towers was revealed in their fragility. Their vertical presence defined the towers as pillars of democracy and freedom. Presently their void, expressed in a horizontal plain, define both their structural frailty along with these principles tenuous nature. Life, death - order and chaos. Individual and totality. Static and dynamic. Peace and conflict. The mission and program of the WTC Memorial will be approached through a presentation of simple oppositions.
Derived from this concept, the memorial site is established as a field condition within the figure/ground context of Lower Manhattan. To create this field condition we examined a world in mourning. The site itself mourns. In reaction, a veil will be placed over the site. A transparent material with 92 slots of light (representing the 92 countries involved in this mourning process) punched into its middle section. This light will penetrate the World Plaza, a public visitation space below. This shadow and light duality creates a perpetual reminder of the juxtaposition of these opposing forces. Upon approaching the Memorial, the void created by the “veil” also provides the visitor a visual reminder of the vacuum left by the destruction of the towers.
In an effort to celebrate the World Trade Center’s international relationship, each year a worldwide competition will be held to redesign this veil. The first year will be the design provided in this scheme addressing the events of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001. Every year thereafter, a new veil will be revealed on 9/11. This annually held competition will be guided by a hope that all submissions confront a pressing world issue. In the face of the tragic events that occurred on this site, at the Pentagon and in Somerset County, Pennsylvania; we will oppose this horror by inspiring an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance.
Within the concept of the duality of the opposing sides, the 2 footprints of the towers
In addition to the vertical nature of the WTC Towers, its 43,600 windows participated heavily it its iconic stature within the New York skyline. Life existed behind those windows. Perhaps family members could even pinpoint the exact window behind which their loved one worked. At night, those windows allowed for a random pattern of light to shine from the 4 sides of each Tower, a sign of freedom, prosperity and growth. The 92 slots of light will exist symbolically as these windows.
The pattern seen on the scheme of the original veil will be used on the walls that line the perimeter of the Tower’s footprints. At a reduced scale, 3,022 perforations (representing each victim) will occur. This group of scattered light will appear more dense on these ‘floating’ walls. Extending the veil’s pattern to these walls will preserve the symbolism once the original veil is removed.
Life will be explored once again in the footprints of the Towers. The absence of what is missed is only understood through observing what is present. Through a celebration of the future, we will remember the past; the lives lived and the selfless acts performed. As we meditate within these footprints, let all that has occurred within their boundaries reaffirm a respect for life.