seek stability, embrace change

Hands of Honor
Garden of Memories
Eternal Flame

The Illumination

Memorials should not be forgotten or ignored. While the Libeskind plan is very powerful -- sensitively preserving the "bathtub" and tower footprints -- its impact remains muted away from the World Trade Center site. And, a static monument in the midst of a commercial plaza quickly fades into the background over time.

We can honor the spirit and the meaning of the World Trade Center Memorial by harnessing the purifying power of light -- a nearly universal, cross-cultural theme. The WTC footprints and 1776 Towers face nearly due south. By replacing some of the windows in the towers with movable mirrors, light from the sun or moon can be steered to the South Footprint [5] - continuously tracking these orbs during their daily traversal of the heavens.

A beam of light, illuminating the normally shaded South Footprint (partially hidden by the bathtub walls and waterfall), conveys the possibility of hope for a better future. Five times every day, at the moments or each attack, the mirrors reverentially shift position- lifting the footprint of light from the ground, towards the site of each event, and up to the sky. And so releasing the lost soul's spirits.

Visitors will congregate at the Memorial waiting for the Illumination to rise skyward. Millions of inhabitants with a clear view of the new towers will see its façade ripple in color as the mirrors make their daily transit. At other times, the ramps on the South Footprint Ascent will be suffused with a remarkable glow -- one that changes with the seasons and the weather.

In this way, every day, the Memorial is an ever-present, ever-changing reminder of the events of September 11th , and a true icon on the Manhattan skyline.

The only sure thing in life, is change.


Side-View of Heliostat Wall   

Illumination Times
8:45 am North tower hit
9:03 am South tower hit
9:38 am Pentagon attacked
10:37 am Flight 93 falls
12:18 pm 1993 WTC bombing
(note: no two sources agree on all times)

Illumination Design Details

The three goals are safety, simplicity and effectiveness.

Each mirror is approximately 3-4 feet on a side. The mirrors are mounted on reliable, commercially available solar cell tracking actuators. The mirrors are curved slightly, so each mirror projects a 100x100 foot illuminated square on the ground. They are also coated to prevent reflecting UV light. In this way, sunlight is diluted by each mirror, ensuring eye safety- yet their combined power can illuminate the footprint as brightly as a beach on a summer day.

This concept was tested manually on a 30 story building, and works as described. There are typically 200 sunny or partially sunny days in NYC each year- but even with cloudy skies the footprints will glow subtly, yet powerfully.

Approximately 200 mirrors are required, covering 2000 ft2 windows in the tower. Preferably, the mirrors are the windows, so the actuators reside within the body of the towers for easy installation and maintenance.

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