By Norman Lee and Michael Lewis
Click these thumbnails for enlarged views of the Votives
in Suspension proposal.
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This design creates two underground indoor spaces, one
for each of the twin towers. The rooms will be dimly
lit by votive candles - one for each victim of the terrorist
attacks - that hang suspended over a reflecting pool. The
height of each candle will be determined by the age of the
victim. The names of each victim will be also be listed in
alphabetical order on walls of the space.
An underground passageway will connect the two rooms
and provide access to the bedrock where unidentified remains
were found. Most of the space above ground will be open space
and provide an area of memorial services.
Designers Norman Lee and
Michael Lewis both work as museum exhibit designers
in Houston, Texas.
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"In their absence, the World Trade Center Towers have attained a greater
degree of symbolic significance, their meaning instantaneously
transformed on September 11, 2001. As monumental buildings, they were
of American capitalism, as voids, they now represent a concept
of loss unparalleled in both scale and complexity. Our proposal for
the WTC memorial aims to transform the towers' footprints into
dual sanctuary spaces that resonate profoundly with a sense of both individual
and collective loss.
The memorial sanctuaries will be set into the
earth and semi-enclosed from the outside. Only narrow gaps that
outline each footprint will
allow sunlight to penetrate into these sacred areas. Austere
and minimal, the exteriors will give no indication of their interior
space. From street level, the sanctuaries' monolithic expanses
invite contemplation and suggest absence.
Once on the memorial
grounds, the sanctuaries will only be made visible to visitors
by long parapet walls that surround the footprints
the original towers. Most of this area will be kept as green
park space providing a versatile venue for memorial ceremonies.
will also be visually drawn to the exposed slurry walls on
the western edge of the site as well as the Liberty Wall located
on the southern
side. The Liberty Wall will be engraved with monumental text
that provides a didactic historical timeline of the World Trade
site. A large part of this story will focus on the heroic efforts
of brave rescue workers who worked tirelessly, many of who
the ultimate sacrifice, to save lives on September 11th.
will descend down a stairway or lift system into each sanctuary,
emerging into a darkened, serene environment. Here
they will witness
an expansive field of votive lights suspended in mid-air creating
a sublimely beautiful downpour of loss. The votives, each representing
a victim of the terrorist attacks, hang down on cables from
the sanctuary ceiling just above a reflecting pool. The cables
capillaries that channel liquid fuel into the votives to sustain
the symbolic flames. The age of each victim is used to determine
the height of the suspended votives creating an irregular field
of light that both breaks apart into fragments and coalesces
as an entirety.
This reinforces the memorial mission to convey both the overall
magnitude of loss and pay tribute to individual lives. As a
part of the memorial's
creation, victims' families and friends will be invited to
light the votives that represent their lost loved ones. Each flame,
therefore, will be created by an individual act of remembrance.
The name of each victim will be listed horizontally in alphabetical
order on the parapet walls that define and encompass each
sanctuary space. The procession of names will begin in the sanctuary
devoted to the North Tower, where the first plane hit, and
the sanctuary dedicated to the South Tower. A somber underground
will connect these two sanctuaries as well as provide access
to a burial space located at bedrock for the unidentified
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