The World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition

Our scars of the incidents on February 26, 1993 and on September 11, 2001 are deep.

One could understand the site in Lower Manhattan, where once the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center stood, already as the very memorial due to the absence of the towers, the absence of the plaza and the absence of the people:
VOIDS OF LIGHT appear in front of the visitor, while descending into the site of Ground Zero. Where once the Towers stood, is now void. Here, reflective pools mark the original foundations and reflect the witnessing sky.

The SCARS OF MEMORY of the unforgettable events in 1993 and on September 11, 2001 are deeply carved into the footprints of the VOIDS OF LIGHT. Taking a path from the plaza, one descends to the reflective surface of water, until, when coming lower and further down, the reference is lost – the surface no longer visible, until a state of meditation can be reached away from the vivid plaza. Among the walls, only the sky remains as it was. The inclined surface of the sunken paths seems to distort the horizon into an oblique illusion; the preconceived understanding of the world is questioned.

The SCARS OF MEMORY, caused by the tragic events themselves, are even more engraved by the personal loss of relatives and family members, friends and helping heroes. In respect for each individual, who gave his or her life, the walls of the SCARS OF MEMORY bear all their names in the most unifying and personal way: without hierarchy and established orders. Every name should have an individual and special place within reachable areas of the sunken paths. The names are engraved into the white marble of the walls. A curtain of water flowing over the edge of each basin and down every wall will create an environment of peace - away from the noise of the city.

When ascending from the SCARS OF MEMORY onto the plaza, the scars slowly turn into hardly noticeable paths crossing the plaza in a wide reaching network. All locations, dates and times, which are related to the tragedies, are inscribed on these PATHS OF SOLIDARITY. The unforgettable minutes of the indescribable events at Ground Zero, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, “which changed the world forever”, united the hearts of many around the world. This network of the PATHS OF SOLIDARITY is rendered visible across the sunken plaza at this hallowed ground.

At 10:30 a.m. on September 11, 2001 the South Tower cast its last shadow. The FOREST OF THE LAST SHADOW signifies this moment. The shaded area, composed of young trees, which are indicative of rebirth, gives more intimate spaces to reflect, away from the busy and open plaza.

Project Type: Memorial
New York, New York, USA
LMDC / Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
Service: Architectural Design
June 2003

Lars Gräbner, Christina Hansen