of Light: Memorial Cloud
By bbc art + architecture Baurmann Brooks Coersmeier Gisela Baurmann,
Sawad Brooks, and Jonas Coersmeier
Click these thumbnails for enlarged views of the Passages
of Light proposal.
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In this design, a translucent canopy at
street level covers a below-ground memorial. Under the “cloud,” an
individual circle of light extending upwards encircles
the name of each victim.
During the day, sunlight also
enters from above. The names are grouped according to
whom they were closest to at the time of their deaths. A
line of the names of rescue workers extends through the two
distinct groups, one for each tower.
Gisela Baurmann, Sawad
Brooks, and Jonas Coersmeier are all designers and teachers
living in the New York area.
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"Through "Passages of Light : The Memorial Cloud," we
wish to create upon a site scarred by a terrifying loss, sorrow,
and grief, a work of shared and individual mourning, as well
as a gesture affirming
our hopes, common dreams, and ability to rebuild.
is first to recognize and honor the victims of September
11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 within a special, shrouded,
spiritual space, protected from the noise and pace of the
city by a crystalline "cloud." The
cloud's top surface is a translucent bandage healing a wound.
Level with "Ground
Zero" (street level) and permitting traversal, it reconnects the
urban fabric of downtown. On the ground beneath the cloud
each of the 2,982 victims is represented by a radiating circle
of light embedded
into the floor, which illuminates the engraved name of the
individual victim but also projects a subtle ray of light
upward into the cloud.
During the day, the cloud, like an undulating veil, a sinuous
surface forming cathedral-like vaults, channels daylight
downward onto the field
Together, the names form a design that we term
the "Pompeii Scheme," because
it represents individuals equally in the course of their
lives, cut short by the attacks. A name appears near those
of the people with whom he
or she died. For example, the approximately 1400 individuals
who perished in Tower One define the largest field of lights.
This field is continuous
with the group of approximately 600 who died in the second
tower. The design's appearance reflects the cloud's topology
of cupolas. A "Line
of Rescuers" runs through both groups, where Firefighters, Police,
and ordained and medical people can be represented.
is guided by our respect for the sacred ground. Accordingly,
we limit the cloud to touching the ground for
support on only five points; we judiciously open the earth
beneath the World Trade
Center Tower footprints only to provide visitors access to
the symbolic "bedrock" level,
creating thereby a processional passage of light and subterranean
darkness. The procession that carries visitors beside the
repository for the "unidentified
remains" connects both footprints with the channel along the exposed
Through the Memorial Cloud we hope to elicit
two more responses, one highly physical, the other imaginative,
both of awe.
One recovers a sensation associated with the World Trade
Center Towers when we recall
standing in their presence: the urge to look skywards,
a vertical gesture associated with hope. With the second
gesture we seek to give expression
to a relation between those we mourn and those who live
on affected by the tragedy and repercussions of the attacks.
This is a relation between
the finite and the sublime. The cloud's design as a bundle
of 10,000 vertical conduits for light which support each
other structurally, distributing
forces of tension and compression, figuratively represents
our shared responsiveness to crisis and our cumulative
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