911 MEMORIAL COMPETITION - NORTH, MIDDLE & SOUTH REFLECTING POOLS

The World Trade Center Site Memorial must both remember the lives of those lost on September 11 and also celebrate the tenacity and rebirth of life, the wonder of humanity and the triumph of the human spirit.  This memorial is made up of two large circular reflecting pools and one smaller circular reflecting pool with a sculpture in its center. Each pool is inscribed in a square perimeter.  

The large reflecting pools are inscribed within the square perimeters of ivy-covered columns that match the footprints of the twin towers in size, scale, height and location of the towers’ bases.  This perimeter of columns serves not only as an echo of the towers that once stood there but also as a living permeable enclosure that provides places for quiet reflection, remembrance and refuge from the normal bustle of the city.

The circular reflecting pools within these enclosures are formed by two closely spaced concentric walls of glass block.  The inner circular glass block wall serves to contain the water of the pool. The top of this inner wall slopes down from its outer edge toward the center of the circle.  The water of the pool will gently spill over the outer edge forming a crisp line at the edge of the water.  The water will run down the outside face of the inner glass block wall.  The outer glass block wall consists of the lowest course and the top course of 10” high unadorned blocks.  Engraved in the middle four courses of 5” high glass blocks shall be the names of all those that perished at this site except for the emergency first responders, who are honored at the third

reflecting pool. One name is inscribed in each block.   Light will pass through the pools and the glass block walls and will illuminate these engraved names.  This light will be modulated and enlivened by the rippling horizontal surface of the pools as well as by the water washing down the face of the inner glass block

The third circular reflecting pool is centered precisely between the two larger pools and serves to link and join the separate pools and surrounding enclosures into one unified whole.  This center reflecting pool has a sculpture of two hands that embrace a glass globe with an engraved depiction of the earth’s surface. Within this globe burns a single eternal flame.  This third smaller reflecting pool is similar to the larger pools with two concentric walls of glass block.  The inner wall contains the water and the outer wall has the names of the emergency first responders engraved in a similar way to the names in the walls of the larger pools. 

From the air one is immediately cognizant of the footprints of the twin towers formed by the square perimeter walls and the three reflecting pools.  These primary shapes occur within a forest of natural trees.  Two bird’s eye images, one from the northwest and one from the southeast from a closer perspective provide an overall view of the memorial.  Every year on September 11 for twenty four hours, lights on the top of the columns forming the square perimeters projected straight up are lighted as a remembrance of the towers that stood there.