The New National 9/11 Memorial

Interview

Friday, September 09, 2011

Ten years ago, Lower Manhattan was the epicenter of the most shocking, upsetting day in many Americans' lifetimes. But today Ground Zero is bustling with construction workers, cranes, and other building equipment.

The site is still a work in progress, except for the new national memorial to the victims of 9/11. At the center of the memorial are two giant, square pools — each about an acre — standing almost exactly where the two towers stood. Each pool is a four-sided waterfall, about three stories deep.   

Bronze panels border the pools at waist height, engraved with the names of all of the victims in New York, Washington DC, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania — as well as those who died in the 1993 terrorist bombing at the World Trade Center.

The Israeli-American architect Michael Arad designed the memorial. “This is the built equivalent of a moment of silence,” he explains, “it was this idea of absence, of making visible and present what is no longer here.”

Arad wanted to make the memorial a place where people could gather, much like the parks where New Yorkers gathered in the days following the attacks. Arad was among them: “They were places that we gathered so that we would not be alone in the face of that attack,” he remembers, “so that we could find meaning in the company of others, in trying to confront the brutality of that day. … I felt a tremendous sense of kinship.”

The memorial opens to the public this weekend.

 

Video: Kurt Andersen Visits the 9/11 Memorial with Designer Michael Arad

Michael Arad National 9/11 Memorial
Michael Arad

Even before the design competition was announced, National 9/11 Memorial designer Michael Arad sketched out his first idea for a memorial design: two square voids floating in the Hudson River.

Washington Square Park

Arad also wanted to make the memorial plaza a place where people could gather, much like Washington Square Park (above), where New Yorkers gathered in the days following the attacks. Arad was among them: "They were places that we gathered so that we would not be alone in the face of that attack," he remembers, "so that we could find meaning in the company of others, in trying to confront the brutality of that day. … I felt a tremendous sense of kinship."

Michael Arad National 9/11 Memorial
Squared Design Lab

A rendering of an aerial view of the The National September 11 Memorial Plaza. Arad ultimately incorporated both ideas — twin square voids and a gathering space — in his final design.

Michael Arad National 9/11 Memorial
Liz Faiella

Studio 360 host Kurt Andersen and Arad walk towards the South Pool.

Michael Arad National 9/11 Memorial
Michele Siegel

While waterfalls will eventually flow 24 hours a day at each pool, the South Pool was dry on one of the days we visited. The pool's massive scale is more obvious when you spot the neon-vested workers in the far corner of the floor. Panels (seen in foreground) engraved with the names of victims outline both pools.

Michael Arad National 9/11 Memorial
Josh Rogosin

View of the south pool with the 9/11 Memorial Museum on the north side (right). The shiny glass-clad pavilion which serves as an entrance to the museum building sits between the north and south pools. The trees immediately surrounding the pool create a kind of envelope, Arad says, marking the actual border of each tower's footprint.

Michael Arad National 9/11 Memorial
Michele Siegel

A view of the North Pool looking west toward the World Financial Center's glass atrium, Winter Garden. The waterfalls have a 30-foot drop.

Michael Arad National 9/11 Memorial
Michele Siegel

A view of the North Pool looking east. The cranes on the construction site for the new transit hub border the east side of the memorial. The trees extend into a formal grove on the plaza — 400 oak trees are part of the Memorial Plaza's design.

Michael Arad National 9/11 Memorial
Liz Faiella

(left to right) Studio 360 engineer Josh Rogosin, memorial architect Michael Arad, and Kurt Andersen look at a corner name panel on the edge of the North Pool.

Michael Arad National 9/11 Memorial
Liz Faiella

A view of the construction site that borders the south side of the Memorial Plaza. Because there is so much construction on all sides of the memorial, it will be years before it is fully stitched into the city's everyday life, as Arad hopes.

Guests:

Michael Arad

Comments [3]

Vic from .

Seriously, Kurt...
Where are Rocky & Bullwinkle now that we really need them ?!
Our minds were open to the sky, exposed, then attacked, & systematically "stupified" by The New World Order into Manufactured Landscapes.
Where are we now..., & how do we contact Frostbite Falls ?

Sep. 11 2011 02:58 PM
Keith Peden from Elkridge, MD

I was disappointed to hear you refer to the 9/11 hijackers as "lunatics". Such language does not progress any debate and ignores what they really were. Far from being lunatics, the nineteen were barbaric religious extremists. I have also seen them (and other suicide terrorists) referred to as "cowards". To give ones life for a cause is not cowardice, however much we might disapprove of the cause or the action. Religious zealotry leading to brutality is not restricted to Islam, although it is interesting why this religion seems to have produced so many terrorists to do so many barbarous acts.

Sep. 10 2011 04:19 PM
patty barwick from weeki wachee, FL

I went to the NYC museum and there was a composite poem writtn by many writers on a long roll pf.paper. I just lovedit--it talked about the twin towers as frat boys. I hope someone or many haved already mentioned it.

Sep. 09 2011 10:12 PM

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