seek stability, embrace change

Hands of Honor
Garden of Memories
Eternal Flame

The Ascent

The Ascent represents the Future and our Hope for a better world. The Ascent is the last destination completing a visit to the Memorial. It is illuminated by reflected sunlight in daytime, and reflected moonlight at night. While the Ascent is a place to contemplate [2] the Memorial's message before transitioning back to our daily lives, it is also a destination unto itself.

The Ascent is part of the new World Trade Center's daily rhythm. People will bring their lunch and sit a quiet and thoughtful environment. Children, perhaps bored or unmindful of the significance of the Memorial, have room to run. The space can be used for public events and ceremonies, acting as a reviewing stand facing the more formal PAST. The lower wall beneath the Culture Museum cantilever can double as a projection screen supporting those public events, or as a display surface (hidden and distinct from the Garden of Memories).

The Ascent also represents change. Most importantly, the Illumination changes five times each day on the moments of the four attacks- the 1993 bombing, when the planes hit each tower, the Pentagon building and when Flight 93 fell from the sky over Pennsylvania.

Its use varies with time and the seasons. Inserted within each ramp are a swirling mass of triangular planting beds. Initially, these beds will be filled with flowers and bushes, while their lips serve as additional seating. Over time, perhaps once a decade, artists will be commissioned to design a sculpture reinterpreting the meaning of these events. Slowly, decade by decade, each planting bed will capture, in stone or steel, those moments in time.

The Ascent protects the South Tower Footprint [5]. Surrounded by grass on one side, and the Waterfall on the other, it is made from concrete aggregate infused with green and grey stone. At the lower corner is a 40x40 ft reflecting pool, fed by a stream from the Waterfall. The Ascent's perimeter is demarcated by inset squares of frosted glass every 1 meter, on the same period and size of the structural columns of the WTC. These squares will be softly illuminated at night. The overall shape is a dihedral series of ramps, rising toward the southeastern corner of the site, with the uppermost ramp parallel to the ramp off Liberty. The ramps, steps and seating are all oriented towards the Illumination.


World Trade Center Memorial Submission by Greg Blonder, Copyright August 2003