precedent: Reflecting Absence_World Trade Center Memorial

Title: Reflecting Absence: World Trade Center Memorial

Architect: Michael Arad, Peter Walker (landscape architect)

Location: New York, New York

Year Complete: 2011

Description: Two large, recessed pool on the footprint of the Twin Towers, clad in Jet Mist granite. (192′ x 192′)


In September 11, 2001, two hijacked planes were crashed into the Twin Towers, causing serious infrastructure damage in lower Manhattan. The terrorist attack resulted in extensive death and destruction. It killed 2,996 people, including 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers. Numerous people lost their friends and family in this attack. And the attack still has huge effects on American’s life.


Michael Arad, the Israeli-American architect, won the competition to design the memorial in 2004. The purpose of his design is to create a space that resonates with the feeling of loss and absence that were generated by the death and destruction at the World Trade Center.


The whole World Trade Center site covers 16 acre, which include a Museum, a Visitor Orientation Center, a new PATH train stations, a Subway station, an underground retail concourse, an underground road network with security screening areas, five new office towers and a Performing Arts Center.

“This should be about creating a profound site for contemplation and memory, but it should also be something that’s part of the city.”

The Memorial covers occupies about 8 acre, the two identical pools, which take place of the footprint of the Twin Towers, are clad in Jet Mist granite. Water has been pumped up to the edge of the pool and falling into the void, sound of the falling water focusing the visitor’s attention to the memorial and forbidding the noise of the city. The oak trees on the site screen the contemplative memorial and border the 212 foot by 212 foot perimeters of the original Twin Towers.

A Callery pear tree can be found in the middle of those oak trees, which is known as the “Survivor Tree”. It has been discovered in Ground Zero after the attack severely damaged.


Names of the victims have been inscribed on the bronze panels around the pool, and each name is illuminated from within at night.



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