Catching up: WTC

Thursday night, seven of us got together to discuss our questions and challenges for the WTC Memorial competition. [Here’s a sublog for the topic.] It was an extremely helpful and insightful couple of hours. The group included a journalist/weblogging guru, an architect, two artists, a designer, and me. Conversation was free-ranging; here’s Jeff Jarvis’s take(away), and here’s some of mine:

  • Take “performance pressure” off the Memorial, by limiting it to its Mission. Use the rest of the program at the site, e.g., the Tower, the Museum, etc. Don’t boil the ocean.
  • That said, meeting the needs of all the constituents/those who will be honored, is probably the single biggest challenge. It’s not something to approach blithely.
  • Excuse the language on a Sunday, but Libeskind’s a pain in the ass. His design has so many loaded elements in it, things that intrude on the memorial site, it’s not designated, so much as leftover; options that stay within the official site are severely constrained. The odd ramps, some mega-waterfall, trenches, glass walls, his cultural buildings; in order to pretend one cultural building doesn’t impinge on the footprint of the North tower, it’s being called a bridge. And sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I’ll never know. The right memorial has to correct aspects of Libeskind’s plan.
  • Practical notes: working back from the delivery deadline, factoring in production time for the board/images/text, leaves two weeks, max, from today to pin down the design. Unless you’re a 3D rendering master (and even if you are, but you don’t have infinite time/resources), adapted photocollage is the medium of choice. Of course, Maya Lin submitted a pastel drawing so abstract, one juror figured whoever the guy [sic] was who submitted it sure must know what he’s doing to send something so simple.
  • With over 13,000 submitters, you’ve also gotta factor in the amount of time your board will receive. Is it 15 seconds? 30? It has to be quickly compelling enough to make that first cut.
  • There’s more, but I can’t give away all my strategies…