Category:world trade center memorial

The NY Observer's Blair Golson reports on conflict brewing around Michael Arad's design for the WTC Memorial. Apparently, he doesn't want to be the malleable vassal the Jury and the LMDC had in mind when they chose his proposal. Some accuse him of pursuing "unlimited control [over the Memorial design], without any checks on his responsibilities." They also say Arad threatened to take his displeasures public to gain negotiating leverage. This, coming from an anonymous LMDC source involved in the rebuilding process.

Meanwhile, somehow, the Observer also learned of complaints by Arad's original proposal team members, who say he hogged all the credit on their group design. Someone's trying to make a point that Arad doesn't play well with others.

Fred Conrad's photo of SHoP's Rector St footbridge,

Read David Dunlap's evocative account of the "temporary" architecture--the PATH station, footbridges and viewing wall--that surrounds and inhabits the World Trade Center site. These structures, "erected in a hurry," are utilitarian first, Dunlap notes, but they still sometimes "approach the sublime."

While I stayed consciously uncommitted on the exact form they would take, Dunlap's experience sounds like a reasonable approximation of what I imagined the paths of my own memorial proposal would be like. Fred Conrad's picture of SHoP's Rector Street pedestrian passage is similar to some concept photos I used on my submission, which makes sense; SHoP's passage was among my inspirations.

[Thank Hugh] "Memory and the Monument after 9/11: Deliberations at Ground Zero" is the title of the presentation by WTC Memorial Juror, Prof. James Young, at Dartmouth College. Young is as close as we've got to a professional memorialist; he's a veteran juror and adviser to memorial design processes around the world, and he is the author of several incisive books on remembering the Holocaust, including The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning.

You'll be hard-pressed to find an opportunity for a more articulate account of the WTC Jury's experience.

Young will speak Tuesday, March 2, 5:30 PM, at Dartmouth's Loew Auditorium.

Get this man a graphic designer. The LMDC has released scanned images of all 5,201 Memorial Competition submissions, browsable by country and state, or searchable by last name.

Mark Wahlberg's proposal is here, and here is Ross Bleckner's. John Bennett's and Paul Myoda's separate proposals (they did the Tribute in Light). Mark Dion, Brian Tolle (he did the Irish Hunger Memorial in BPC).

Here's Antoine Predock, Arquitectonica. Peter Walker (who got it anyway, just not with this proposal). Marc Quinn (whose show just closed at Mary Boone, and the last Englishman to hear of Olafur Eliasson).

Here are proposals by Valerie Atkisson, Kara Hammond, and Jeff Jarvis, original members of our competition charette last June. I'll be surfing for a while, it seems.

[update: In Friday's NYT, David Dunlap talks to jurors about revealing all the submissions.]

World Trade Center Transportation Hub, concourse, by Santiago Calatrava, image: PANYNJ powerpoint

That could be a reference to John Cage, but it's actually Santiago Calatrava discussing his design for a transportation hub at the WTC site. The dual-winged design will be unveiled today.

For images and details, see the Port Authority press release and Calatrava's PowerPoint presentation, David Dunlap's reporting or Muschamp's free verse reaction in The Times, and a pile of images from Yahoo News.

The NY Times profiles Peter Walker, the dean of modernist US landscape design (and ex-dean of Harvard and Berkeley arch. schools). Not a lot of news, but he does cite Donald Judd and Carl Andre as artistic inspirations. 2 pts for taste, but the problem with Arad's original plaza was its unremitting Andre-ness. His own firm's memorial proposal was "a glassy wall with the victims' and heroes' names etched within."

The NYT's Glenn Collins and David Dunlap have a transfixing and revelatory article about details of the WTC Memorial Jury's deliberations and process for the first time. Twelve of the thirteen jurors spoke with the reporters.

It turns out even the jurors were underwhelmed by the revised designs their finalists came up with. And Martin Puryear's dismissal of Michael Kimmelman's call for elitism to save us is right on.

Of course, Felix Salmon's analysis is also right on, that it was essentially the jury that designed--and continues to design--the Memorial, and that Arad's design was picked because it was the most amenable to their impending directives.

Slightly unauthorized rendering of the WTC Memorial, image: lmdc, nytimes.comAfter a German press agency forgot to attach an embargo notice to them, the NY Times published images of the heavily revised Arad/Walker design for the World Trade Center Memorial a day early. There are quite a few changes.

Perhaps the most significant is the addition of a large (60-100,00SF, 1.5-2.5x the tower footprints themselves) underground space to house artifacts from the attacks.

But that's not all: Access to the 30' high space is via a ramp along the exposed slurry wall. From within the space, visitors can look down 40' to the foundations of the towers. That puts the newly treed park at street-level. Most of Libeskind's original cultural buildings have either been eliminated or relocated. And it's not finished yet; jurors describe this design as but "one more stage of memory."

It's worth waiting to examine the design in detail, but it feels like it's trying to accommodate almost every criticism that arose during the guideline and selection process. Which may be why the jury picked Arad's design in the first place: only the most pared down concept could support all the additions they foresaw. Nice idea, but can it work?

January 6, 2004


According to Herbert Muschamp, he has discovered the way to "liberate the site from the clutches of politicians, architects, their publicists and other unqualified figures who have presumed to speak in history's name. And it could slow the breakneck redevelopment timetable imposed by Gov. George E. Pataki." That, or he's completely lost it.

On the day when the LMDC Jury is set to announce the "winning" Memorial design, Muschamp waxes poetic--without any actual facts or reporting to back up his excitement--over what's called a Section 106 Review, a federally mandated evaluation of the WTC site's historical significance. Part of the National Historic Preservation Act, the review must be completed before federal money can be spent on the site. Muschamp sees this as a saving act: "Architectural preservationists are coming to the rescue one more time," he says. [Q: Are you counting the Main St USA-style streetlamps on the West Side Highway as the first time, Herb?"]

Here are some Section 106 facts, from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which administers the law:
1. There was already at least one WTC-related Section 106 review, which dealt with a damaged landmark 1905 office building by Cass Gilbert. The ACHP case study praises the way in which the Sec. 106 process was adapted and "streamlined" so as to not get in the way of other activities on the site.
2. When Section 106 was invoked to preserve the 18th c. Negro burial ground discovered during the construction of the Foley federal courthouse in lower Manhattan, GSA listened politely, then ignored ACHP as it built. It then declared itself in compliance with Sec. 106.
3. I'm sure it means nothing, but the two presidential appointees of the ACHP are from Houston--and Albany.

If the Times were the 1/9 train, Muschamp would be the guy who gets on at 103rd, whose jabberings scare the passengers boarding downstream into other cars.

January 6, 2004

Ugh. Maya Lin Strikes Again

Reflecting Absence, Michael Arad,

The worst design of the worst set of finalists was just chosen for the World Trade Center Memorial.

Michael Arad's barren, sunken pools, "Reflecting Absence," was a favorite of Maya Lin, according to an unnamed LMDC source who was heavily spinning the NY Post's William Neuman against the design Sunday.

The only positive aspect of the proposal: it was the only finalist to call for alterations to fellow Israeli Daniel Libeskind's proposed cultural buildings, including eliminating that one museum from above the North Tower footprint. The LMDC says there'll be extensive changes to the design, which I hope renders it essentially unrecognizable.

Ultimately, I'm troubled that I, a fervent fan of minimalist art--including Michael Heizer's works at Dia: Beacon which this is most reminiscent of--am so put out by a half-baked minimalist memorial.

[update: at my WTC discussion page, I added a follow-up on Peter Walker, the just-announced-today new partner in the WTC memorial design. He's a veteran minimalist landscape architect who'll probably fill the barren plaza with grids of "teeming groves of trees," as one juror put it.]

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Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

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