DAVID MICHAEL LIEB, AIA , NCARB. WTC MEMORIAL COMPETITION 2003. Memorializing human life has been a challenge throughout history. In the late 18 th Century, monumental structures became the language of identifying and remembering fallen soldiers and even great scientists.
WTC MEMORIAL COMPETITION
Memorializing human life has been a challenge throughout history. In the late 18th Century, monumental structures became the language of identifying and remembering fallen soldiers and even great scientists.
The WTC memorial site has presented numerous challenges as any structure or structures proposed must somehow reconcile the events of 9/11 but also speak to the current masterplan of Studio Daniel Libeskind which itself offers many opportunities for memorializing the victims of 9/11, for example, the Liberty Wall, the waterfall feature, the slurry wall feature, September 11th Place, and the new structures that span the North and South Tower footprints.
Two square walls adjacent to the demarcation of the North and South WTC footprints define a cenotaph to the towers themselves and to the thousands of victims killed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The two walls are steel framed with colored, brushed aluminum panels, and translucent colored, glass panels defining a collaged surface and a mosaic by which visitors can reflect on the diverse peoples killed and affected by the collapse of the WTC. The walls width is in-line with the existing width of the WTC towers, the height matching the width. The walls will stop light and allow colored light to shine down on surfaces of the site untouched by natural light for decades. The complex shadow patterns will be ever changing allowing visitors and family members to experience and contemplate around the walls.
The LMDC has asked that the unidentified remains of victims of the 9/11 attack be brought back on site and contained for family members to visit and contemplate in a private setting. A cubic structure penetrates a tilted wall, representing scar, but elevated to indicate the lifting of spirit. A broken circle acts to support the wall and allow a unique place for contemplation. The cubic structure acts as a tomb allowing access only to family members and survivors. A skylight allows light to enter into the tomb by day and illuminate the inner chamber. At night light from within the structure shines up and out of the tomb serving to signify re-birth and remembrance.
Steel cables span from the corners of the two walls and are anchored at the top of the Wall of Freedom to indicate the resiliency of the human spirit. At special occasions and on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, membrane panels can be fastened to the cables allowing the site to be shrouded and for special contemplation.
The existing footprints of the North and South WTC towers are respected in the design for the memorial site. Each footprint would be paved in unpolished gray, granite pavers, square in shape, with split faces. The intent of the split faces is for visitors who venture onto the footprints to be conscious of their experience through feeling the surfaces where the Twin Towers once stood.