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PR- 350-04
December 16, 2004


Design Includes a Vast Landscaped Civic Plaza, Cascading Voids with Deeply Recessed Pools and an Area for Those Lost but Never Identified

New Schematic Design Features Gathering Spaces Above and Below Ground, Historic Access to Bedrock and Box Beam Columns, View of Exposed Slurry Wall, Memorial Hall, and Family Area to Provide Space for Reflection

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor George E. Pataki today joined Architects Michael Arad, Peter Walker and Max Bond today to unveil the schematic design for a memorial at the World Trade Center site. Reflecting Absence will honor all those lost in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993.  In January of 2004, a 13-member jury selected Reflecting Absence as the design for the World Trade Center Memorial, and for the past several months, the design team along with Associate Architect Max Bond, embarked on the schematic design process to develop the physical and programmatic elements of the memorial.  The memorial features a lively landscaped civic plaza with two massive voids aligned with the footprints where the twin towers once stood.

"The memorial designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker was selected among many outstanding designs because of the way it captures the depth of the attacks on our City, while also giving shape to New York's spirit and our unshakable hope for the future" said Mayor Bloomberg. "This design provides for places for reflection, for quiet retreat and for prayer.  I believe that as a City, as a nation and as a global community, we need to be able to make these physical, personal and spiritual connections to the events of 2001 and 1993, and that need is most intense for victims' family members and their friends.  I thank Max Bond for helping to give shape to Michael and Peter's vision, and everyone who has contributed to this important process."

"As we move forward with the rebuilding, the memorial continues to be our first priority and the centerpiece of our efforts," said Governor Pataki. "Michael Arad, Peter Walker, and Max Bond have created a moving and fitting memorial to those we lost at the World Trade Center site. The memorial will help tell the story of September 11th and the lives we lost, so that future generations will understand the enormity of what happened here. The memorial captures our sense of loss, as well as the courage and hope that prevailed in the face of tragedy. The design also includes a special place for family members to reflect on their loved ones, while ensuring that there will be access to the bedrock and box beam columns of the original World Trade Center site. I want to thank our team of architects, our Memorial selection jury, and all those who have worked together to create this powerful and enduring design."

Elements of the design include a large ceremonial one-and-a-half acre clearing on the plaza level and a gallery on the second memorial level where the names of those lost on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 can be viewed while water cascades behind them.  Between the two pools, Memorial Hall offers a space for visitors to sit and reflect, and serves as a gathering place that orients visitors through the use of a directory to help loved ones find the names of those lost those fateful days.  It also offers the opportunity for future programming for remembering all who we lost.  On the lowest level, history is preserved.  The very foundations of the World Trade Center, the original box beam column remnants can be accessed along with the exposed slurry wall.  A contemplation room provides a space for the remains of those lost and never identified and an adjacent area offers a sacred space for victims' families.

Through the schematic design process, an intense period of investigation and design advancement, a more precise and poetic design has developed.  The design allows for visitors to enter the memorial between the footprints descending down two 200-foot ramps, first to the west and then to the east, and landing on the memorial level.  The memorial level includes Memorial Hall connecting the two viewing galleries that surround the reflecting pools and whose exterior walls delineate the original footprints.  Between the two pools, and off Memorial Hall, visitors can travel down to the lowest level of the memorial where the Contemplation Room, family area, and space for the medical examiner are found.  On the lowest level, the exposed box beam remnants can be seen and touched and in the northwest quadrant, visitors will see and touch the massive edifice of the exposed slurry wall. As visitors return above ground to the plaza level, the surrounding trees mediate their return to daily life.

By working with the adjacent projects, the design team established an elevation for the Memorial plaza which minimizes steps and walls surrounding the plaza.  To further increase accessibility to the Memorial, the truck ramp once envisioned for location on the southern portion of the memorial site has been relocated to the south of Liberty Street, making the memorial area a completely pedestrian experience and an integral part of Lower Manhattan.

"Today, we take another important step forward in the memorial process," said LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead.  "In doing so, we advance swiftly toward the day when the original memorial idea - 'Reflecting Absence' - will be fleshed out in stone and steel, water and light.  On behalf of both the LMDC and the Memorial Foundation, I want to congratulate architects Michael Arad, Peter Walker and Max Bond.  Through the evolution of your work, your inspired concept has become an even more inspirational and complete design."

"The design team should be commended for their efforts," said LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe. "Working with the LMDC, they have created a tremendous memorial experience that will resonate with generations to come.  With this memorial design, we fill the final void in our site and help fill the void in our hearts.  The schematic design has fulfilled our collective expectations for this memorial - a design which will convey the magnitude of the loss we suffered, while also reminding us of the inspirational heroism we witnessed."

"We have taken the powerful concepts on which the design is based and working together and listening to countless numbers of people to whom the success of the memorial is of the utmost importance, we have refined the design and reinforced its intent," said Michael Arad, Partner at Handel Architects. "The memorial will honor all and give us a place to gather, reflect, and find meaning in the loss that we have all suffered."

"We have accomplished a great deal in a very short period of time," said Peter Walker of Peter Walker and Partners. "With this schematic design, we have created a great canopy of hundreds of oak trees to form the memorial grove, creating a memorable and spiritual green space apart from the busy city and embracing the memorial pools. In the southwest quadrant of the grove, a grass paved glade provides a home for the September 11th ceremonies and other family gatherings."

"Our collective goal throughout the schematic design process was to make the visitor's experience as meaningful, informative, and comfortable as possible," said Max Bond of Davis Brody Bond LLP.  "We are very pleased with the provision of a range of choices now available to visitors to the Memorial.  Some may simply experience the Park and view the pools from above.  Others may choose to descend to the Memorial Hall from which they might visit either or both pools.  Upon returning to ground level they would again experience the park, a symbol of renewal."

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) launched the international World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition in April of 2003.  Guidelines for the competition were developed based on the memorial mission statement and program.  These guiding documents were developed by two separate volunteer committees, comprised of family members, residents, survivors, first responders, arts and architecture professionals and community leaders.  The documents were shaped by thousands of public comments generated at public meetings in every borough, Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey, as well as comments received from around the world through letters and the LMDC's website.

In what became the largest design competition in history, 5,201 submissions were received from 63 nations and 49 U.S. states.   All 5,201 proposals were evaluated by a 13-member memorial jury comprised of individuals representing various points of view, including world renowned artists and architects, a family member, a Lower Manhattan resident and business owner, representatives of the Governor and Mayor, and other prominent arts and cultural professionals.  The jury evaluated proposals in a two stage process based on how well each design expressed the mission statement and program, as set forth in the competition guidelines.

The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation ( has been created to construct, own, operate and maintain the memorial.  The design competition and exhibition were made possible by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is funded by a Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For more information on the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and renderings of the memorial visit


Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Lynn Rasic   (Governor)
(212) 681-4640

Joanna Rose   (Lower Manhattan Development Corporation)
(212) 587-9339

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