National September 11 Memorial
New York, NY

16 ACREs • WITH MICHAEL ARAD & PETER WALKER

To honor those who were killed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the LMDC held a competition for the design of a memorial at the World Trade Center site. In 2004, the scheme “Reflecting Absence” by Michael Arad and Peter Walker was selected; and Davis Brody Bond was selected as the Associate Architect to execute the design of the Memorial Plaza. Our work on the Memorial shepherded this powerful design through numerous technical challenges. We applied our expertise to every aspect of the project, from the configuration of the bronze name parapets to the fountain geometry that creates the perfectly even waterfalls around the pools marking the absent towers. We were also responsible for coordination with adjacent projects, management of the diverse team of consultants, schedule, budget and delivery. Davis Brody Bond was later commissioned as the Design Architect for the Memorial Museum below the Memorial Plaza.

On the plaza, we collaborated on site fittings, materials, and lighting, and designed the mesh enclosures that integrate the large vent structures along the West Side Highway into the plaza. This program for these includes maintenance and storage workshop for grounds keeping equipment, Plaza security monitoring center, and security staff support spaces. It also provides a primary service entrance for the below grade spaces including the Memorial Museum, the Memorial mechanical spaces, and the World Trade Center site Central Chiller Plant. This entry point consists of security screening, staging area, and freight elevator access to all of the primary below-grade levels. In addition to the programmatic requirements, the structures also provide building egress from the below-grade occupied spaces and provide the for the technical requirements necessary for ventilating the 775,000 sf facility and meeting the stringent site wide security plan.

The geometry of the structures was driven by the need to meet the technical site security requirements while minimizing the visual presence of the structures on the Memorial. Rather than one large structure, the design separated the functions into two smaller structures. The prismatic geometries, deriving from the position and configuration of the ventilation ducts, further differentiate it from the orthogonal design of the Memorial. The concrete structures are shrouded in a woven metal fabric building skin.