Sunday, March 3, 2013

9/11 Memorial: The North and South Pools

The South Pool

Yesterday I visited the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan... it's breathtaking.  The recessed pools, in particular, are profoundly moving.  There are two of these, each at the foundation of the original towers.  At the center is a second drop into a seemingly bottomless pit.  While I stood in contemplation of one and then the other, I felt as though each droplet of water cascading into the "black hole" were the lives affected by the tragedy of 9/11... falling together and rising together only to plunge again... forever.  Peter Walker (landscape architect) and Michael Arad (architect) were the two that designed this minimal masterpiece.  According to their winning design statement... 

Computer generated graphic of the Memorial's design
This memorial proposes a space that resonates with the feelings of loss and absence that were generated by the destruction of the World Trade Center and the taking of thousands of lives on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. It is located in a field of trees that is interrupted by two large voids containing recessed pools. The pools are set within the footprints of the Twin Towers. A cascade of water that describes the perimeter of each square feeds the pools with a continuous stream. They are large voids, open and visible reminders of the absence.
The surface of the memorial plaza is punctuated by the linear rhythms of rows of deciduous trees, forming informal clusters, clearings and groves. This surface consists of a composition of stone pavers, plantings and low ground cover. Through its annual cycle of rebirth, the living park extends and deepens the experience of the memorial.
Surrounding the pools on bronze parapets are the names. The enormity of this space and the multitude of names underscore the vast scope of the destruction. Standing there at the water's edge, looking at a pool of water that is flowing away into an abyss, a visitor to the site can sense that what is beyond this parapet edge is inaccessible.
The memorial plaza is designed to be a mediating space; it belongs both to the city and to the memorial. Located at street level to allow for its integration into the fabric of the city, the plaza encourages the use of this space by New Yorkers on a daily basis. The memorial grounds will not be isolated from the rest of the city; they will be a living part of it.

Below are photographs and a few videos I took with my phone.  I hope they give you an idea of the kind of experience you'll have at the Memorial.

The North Pool

Thirty-foot waterfall cascading into The North Pool

The "Survivor Tree" secured to the ground... I suppose
so that no storm can uproot it like it did in 2010?


A witness to the tragedy

Construction continues...

Just a reminder that you're being watched!

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