The new World Trade Center memorial

I traveled last weekend to New York, where I went to see the World Trade Center Memorial.

The WTC memorial is well done and very powerful. Michael Arad, a graduate of the Georgia Tech’s architecture program, along with Peer Talker, have done a great job designing the landscape, which is very supportive of the emptiness of the architecture.

The simple geometry of this space is by far the very best gesture.

The fountains are amazing as they disappear into the void below. The museum under construction above grade is, sadly, a non event. In fact, it’s kind of annoying with its dysfunctional geometry, appearing to have fallen into the ground. It reminds me of some of the spiky buildings originally planned by Liebeskind. It isn’t worthy of this space. A better choice would have been a Renzo Piano creation.

The new buildings appear non-descript, reflecting nothing but their neighbors. The message is surreal emptiness. The architectural presence in the area is going to be nil except for the drama of the upcoming Santiago Calatrava project–it will be the architectural hero of the space.

The names of the remembered are engraved through a three quarter piece of bronze cut with lasers throughout the entire plate of metal. The spray of raindrops is eerie but spirited. The names float on the plates like Maya Lin’s Vietnam memorial.

The site is very very secure. One has to get an entry pass a few blocks away with a time stamp and then wait in another line near the construction site.

I assume the security will not be as rigorous once everything is finished. Now, however, I can see embedded cameras in the very lovely light poles.

The simplicity of the landscape surrounded by the non event buildings and the power of the memorial is unforgettable and very appropriate to honoring those who died in this tragic American event. I look forward to this space being open for all to enjoy in the future.

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