seek stability, embrace change

Hands of Honor
Garden of Memories
Eternal Flame

"Seek Stability, Embrace Change"

The attack on the World Trade Center signaled the beginning of a war on international anarchy, in much the same way the attack on Pearl Harbor signaled the beginning of a world wide battle against Fascism.

And this is the unique challenge facing a Memorial designed not at the conclusion, but in the midst of battle- how to honor the past before its history has been written? Memorials by their very nature are static - indeed, memorials seek closure with the past, allowing the living to move on, and society time to absorb the lessons of history. But those lessons are still being written, and the losses have only begun.

This Memorial Submission embraces change with respect, stability with inclusion. Visually, the site is split between the "past" and the "future", between loss and hope, between public and private, between concrete and grass, between static and dynamic, and between the immutable and transitory. The design extends beyond the footprint of the WTC to the NYC skyline, changing with the day and the decade- the most vibrant city in the world sustaining a monument that is both alive and responsive to its environment.

But the Memorial will always recall these tragic events with grace and power.


Goals: This proposal integrates the stated goals of the commission with the additional theme of change and stability. The memorial can accommodate large crowds and special occasions, yet is filled with numerous private niches for personal reflection. In addition, the design makes tangible those images burned into our collective subconscious during the iconic, short history of September 11th. Such powerful images include the tortured envelope of the original WTC rising from the ashes, the somber empty bathtub with its simple geometric ramp, the "Missing" posters and the passionate focus on individual loss. The slurry walls are kept free of ornamentation, the bathtub left starkly open, the footprints preserved for a new mission, and the monument arranged as a story through time and space.



[1] Recognize each individual who was a victim of the attacks
[2] An area for quiet visitation and contemplation
[3] An area for families and loved ones of victims
[4] Final resting-place for the unidentified remains from the WTC site
[5] Make visible the footprints of the original World Trade Center towers
[6] Acknowledge all those who aided in rescue, recovery and healing



Narrative and Circulation:
Although the Memorial can be accessed from more than six directions, the primary entrance and the first chapter in the story of September 11th is along the ramp on Liberty and West, called the DESCENT. The Descent passes along and through reclaimed exterior panels and rubble from the WTC towers- reminding the visitor of the horrible destruction on that day. The ramp leads down and along the exposed "bathtub" wall- and is directly aligned with the corner of the north footprint of the Trade Center containing the memorial case for the youngest of the victims. Visitors can circulate on the bare concrete floor to the left, taking the stairs to bedrock, or enter the GARDEN OF MEMORIES [5]. Within the Garden are memory cases for each victim [1], containing personal items bringing their lives and our loss into focus. At the center of the Garden is the ETERNAL FLAME, guarding the TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN's remains [4]. The Garden is both the formal and personal center of the Memorial [2] [3].

Leaving the Garden, the visitor follows the Descent back to the HANDS OF HONOR Memorial, recognizing the professional guardians and volunteers [6] whose bravery and dedication counterbalanced the despair over the terrorist attacks. Those visitors who desire more detailed information on the history of the event and recent progress against anarchy, can take the escalators up to the Museums of Culture. Then, with the story of the destruction, loss and renewal complete, the visitor returns to the memorial and walks across the concrete floor to a grassy area dedicated to the future. Here, they can visit the SANCTUM, where family members may gather [2] [3] in a quiet and supportive environment. Finally, they can pause to contemplate the meaning of their visit by resting on the ASCENT [5] beneath the waterfall and above the reflecting pond- looking back into the "past". The Ascent is illuminated by the 1776 Tower mirrors. Five times daily, at the moment of each attack, reflected light is passed from the Memorial, across the horizon, and into the sky.


Final selection of materials, colors, lighting placement, etc. must be coordinated with Libeskind design. Grooves cut in the concrete slab delineate patterns of activity and memorial directions. Paths through the grassy area will be constructed to match the wear pattern from actual traffic flow.

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