September 11 Memorials - Architecture of Remembrance

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September 11 Museum Pavilion

Salvaged tridents from the destroyed Twin Towers are prominently displayed at the entrance to the National September 11 Memorial Museum
Salvaged tridents from the destroyed Twin Towers are prominently displayed at the entrance to the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images News Collection/Getty Images

Can stone, steel, or glass convey the horror of September 11, 2001? How about water, sound, and light? The photos and renderings in this collection illustrate the many ways architects and designers honor those who died on September 11, 2001 and the heroes who helped with the rescue efforts.

Beams salvaged from the World Trade Center ruins are the focus of the National 9-11 Museum Pavilion at Ground Zero.

The September 11 Museum Pavilion by the architecture firm, Snøhetta, is an entry to the underground Memorial Museum. The design centers around trident-shaped columns salvaged from the World Trade Center towers that were destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This artist's rendering shows a close-up view of the salvage beams.

The National September 11 Memorial Museum opened to the public May 21, 2014.

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National 9/11 Memorial

Aerial view of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on September 8, 2016 in New York City
Aerial view of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on September 8, 2016 in New York City. Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images News / Getty Images

Plans for the National 9-11 memorial, once known as Reflecting Absence, included basement-level corridors with waterfall views. Today, from overhead, the outline of the Twin Towers brought down by terrorists is a haunting site.

In early renderings of Memorial Hall, tumbling waterfalls form liquid walls. Light sparkling through the water illuminates bedrock-level galleries. Designed by Michael Arad with landscape architect Peter Walker, the original plan saw many revisions since it was first presented. A formal ceremony marked the Memorial's completion on September 11, 2011.

Learn More:

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The Sphere by Fritz Koenig

9-11 Memorial Sphere in Battery Park, NY The Sphere by German sculptor Fritz Koenig once stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center
9-11 Memorial Sphere in Battery Park, NY The Sphere by German sculptor Fritz Koenig once stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center. Photo by Raymond Boyd / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

The Sphere by German sculptor Fritz Koenig stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center when the terrorists attacked.  Koenig designed the Sphere as monument to world peace through trade. When terrorists attacked on September 11, 2001, the Sphere was heavily damaged. Now it rests temporarily in Battery Park near New York Harbor where it serves as a memorial to the 9-11 victims.

Plans were to move the Sphere to Ground Zero's Liberty Park when reconstruction is completed. However, some families of September 11 victims are campaigning to return the Sphere to the World Trade Center plaza.

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To the Struggle Against World Terrorism

To the Struggle Against World Terrorism 9-11 Memorial
9-11 Memorial in Bayonne, NJ 'To the Struggle Against World Terrorism' Memorial in Bayonne, NJ. Photo © Scott Gries/Getty Images

The memorial To the Struggle Against World Terrorism depicts a steel teardrop suspended in a cracked stone column. Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli designed the memorial to honor victims of 9/11. 'To the Struggle Against World Terrorism' is located on the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, New Jersey. It was dedicated on September 11, 2006.

The monument is also known as The Tear of Grief and The Teardrop Memorial.

Learn More: To the Struggle Against World Terrorism

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Postcards Memorial

The skyline of Lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center is seen from the Staten Island 9/11 Memorial
Postcards Memorial - 9-11 Memorial in Staten Island, NY. Photo by Gary Hershorn / Corbis News / Getty Images (cropped)

The "Postcards" memorial in Staten Island, New York honors residents who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

 

Formed in the shape of thin postcards, the Staten Island September 11 Memorial suggests the image of outstretched wings. Names of the September 11 victims are engraved on granite plaques engraved with their names and profiles.

The Staten Island September 11 Memorial is set along the North Shore Waterfront with scenic views of the New York Harbor, Lower Manhattan, and the Statue of Liberty. The designer is Masayuki Sono of the New York-based Voorsanger Architects.

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Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia

The Pentagon Memorial and the Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia
The September 11 Memorial at the Pentagon The Pentagon Memorial and the Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia. Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images News Collection/Getty Images

The Pentagon Memorial has 184 illuminated benches made of stainless steel inlaid with granite, one bench for each innocent person who died on September 11, 2001 when terrorists hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed the plane into the Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington, DC.

Set in a 1.93 acre lot with clusters of Paperbark Mable trees, the benches rise up out of the ground to form flowing, unbroken lines with pools of light radiating from underneath. The benches are arranged according to the victim's age, from 3 to 71. The terrorists are not included in the death count and do not have memorials.

Each memorial unit is personalized with a victim's name. When you read the name and look up to face the flight pattern of the fallen plane, you know that person was on the crashed plane. Read and name and look up to see the Pentagon building, and you know that person worked in the office building.

The Pentagon Memorial was designed by architects Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman, with design support from the Buro Happold engineering firm.

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Flight 93 National Memorial

September 11 Memorial Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Final Resting Place for United Airlines Flight 93
September 11 Memorial Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Final Resting Place for United Airlines Flight 93. Photo by Jeff Swensen / Getty Images News / Getty Images

The Flight 93 National Memorial is set on a 2,000 acre site near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where passengers and crew of US Flight 93 brought down their hijacked plane and thwarted a fourth terrorist attack. Serene overlooks offer peaceful views of the crash site. The memorial design preserves the beauty of the natural landscape.

Plans for the memorial hit a snag when critics claimed that some aspects of the original design appeared to borrow Islamic shapes and symbolism. The controversy died down after groundbreaking in 2009. The redesign is bold concrete and glass.

The Flight 93 National Memorial is the only major 9/11 memorial run by the US Park Service. A temporary memorial area allowed visitors to view the peaceful field for a decade while land rights and design issues were resolved. The first phase of the memorial project opened on September 11, 2011 for the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center and Complex opened on September 10, 2015.

The designers are Paul Murdoch Architects of Los Angeles, California with Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Husband and wife team Paul and Milena Murdoch became famous for their winning 9/11 design for the Flight 93 National Memorial. In southern California the couple is well-known for their designs of civic and public areas, including schools and libraries. The Shanksville project, however, was special. Here's what architect Paul Murdoch had to say:

"I've seen through the process how powerful a vision can be, and how challenging it can be to carry that vision through a process. And I know every architect out there knows what I'm talking about. That what we do is unreasonable. It's trying to bring something positive through so many barriers to them, that I guess I would just want to tell architects that it's worth it. It's worth that effort."—Flight 93 National Memorial video, AIA, 2012
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Tribute in Light

Tribute in Light, September 11 Memorial Event in New York City, September 11, 2016
Tribute in Light, September 11 Memorial Event in New York City, September 11, 2016. Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images News / Getty Images

Haunting reminders of the destroyed New York City Trade Center Twin Towers are suggested by the City's annual Tribute in Light.

The Tribute in Light began in March 2002 as a temporary installation, but turned into an annual event to memorialize the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Dozens of search lights create two powerful beams that suggest the World Trade Center Twin Towers that were destroyed by terrorists.

Many artists, architects, and engineers have contributed to creating the Tribute in Light.

  • Architects John Bennett and Gustavo Bonevardi of PROUN Space Studio proposed a "Project for the Immediate Reconstruction of Manhattan's Skyline"
  • Artists Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda proposed a light sculpture called "Phantom Towers"
  • Architect Richard Nash Gould proposed the Tribute in Lights memorial to the Municipal Art Society
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Craven, Jackie. "September 11 Memorials - Architecture of Remembrance." ThoughtCo, Sep. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/september-11-memorials-architecture-remembrance-4065282. Craven, Jackie. (2017, September 7). September 11 Memorials - Architecture of Remembrance. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/september-11-memorials-architecture-remembrance-4065282 Craven, Jackie. "September 11 Memorials - Architecture of Remembrance." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/september-11-memorials-architecture-remembrance-4065282 (accessed November 18, 2017).