WTC Memorial Competition: Spiritual and Material PresenceDesign Intent:
The design intent was to create a uniquely sensory, sublime and surreal landscape on the site, which allows the viewer to reflect on the tragic events of September 11th in a dynamic way. The issues and emotions involved in these events are extremely complex. The design responds to this by being experientially rich and formally stimulating. The resulting project contains two major formal moves acting as foils to each other. The experience of these oppositions is integral to our contemplation of the tragic events of September 11th.
The stoic, perspectival abstraction of the fallen buildings plays on the memory we have of being at the base of the towers. The tectonic nature of the spaces relate to the rationalizing aspects of human nature in the face of infinite causation.
The memorial walls hold the organic sculptural element which provides emotive experiences by partially reflecting the names of the victims as well as the people and objects around it. The twisting elements provide a gateway to thoughts about infinity and chaos as well as our relationships to them.
Design Origins and Process:
Using the former towers’ intense presence as viewed from the base as inspiration, the columns and walls around the tower bases slope up and act as a horizon to abstractly mimic what we once saw vertically. These elements are then cut with openings relating to the original column grid. These cuts interact with the sloping plane to create experientially complex framed moments and shadows that will poetically crawl in time. A reflecting pool also windows this area to intensify these picturesque effects.
The twisting element was arrived at after many investigations based mostly on the manipulation of sacred geometries. The final form’s main datum is based on a helical spiral whose cross section is a self-intersecting circle. This form is then cut to reveal and suggest the inner workings of an interpretation of time.
The formal moves of the pieces adjacent to the towers’ base allow pieces of the program to be nestled into them. The main enclosures are contained in the triangular spaces under the planting. The trees in the planters frame the site while projecting a layer of nature into the discourse our structures share. The vectors of these planes also pull pedestrians in from street level and visually bridge the streetscape and sacred sight below.
The spiral form is cut and held by stone walls containing the names of all the victims of September 11th. These walls bisect the sinuous form and create a corridor along which participants can stroll. Throughout this journey we can remember the dead, pay homage to the survivors and contemplate the future. We can do this on a personal level as well as in relation to history and culture through the experience of spaces working together to evoke thoughts surrounding time and space.
We honor the site by descending to its elevation and partaking in a spatial journey based on sacred geometries. As our senses and memories are aroused through the memorial corridor, we also pay tribute to the bravery of the human spirit walking amidst this heroic monument. The set is ever changing, as people watch each other through dynamic frames. Spatial experiences awaken all of our senses, while our minds wander through the memories and ideas excavated in the tragic events of September 11th.