Ground Zero Viewing Wall
New York, NY
Pentagram, New York, NY
Michael Gericke (Principal in Charge), Don Bilodeau The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Robert I. Davidson, FAIA, Robert Eisenstat, AIA, Russell Kriegel, AIA Voorsanger Architects PC Bartholomew Voorsanger, FAIA
York Sign Industries
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
The designers created a viewing wall at Ground Zero, the former site of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. The 13-foot-high wall, the most visited historic site in the U.S., is expected to be in place for the next five to eight years.
To the visiting public, the wall offers safety, accessibility, and sensitivity. To the government agencies charged with the site's redevelopment, it offers transparency (of process) and flexibility.
The wall is made of a screen-like grid of galvanized steel that allows visitors to see directly into Ground Zero. It supports a series of large, weather-resistant, Fiberglas panels displaying the history of the World Trade Center, the historical context of the site and its place within Lower Manhattan, and a listing of the names of the people who perished in the 9/11 attacks and the earlier attacks in 1993. The modular design is flexible, allowing panels to be added or moved as redevelopment continues.
The wall is not intended to be a memorial, but to offer a place of reflection while a permanent memorial is developed. It presents an appropriate response to a highly emotional subject, with materials and graphics conveying the significance of the site.
"This highly effective solution confidently brings together the history of the site, the history of the area, and acts as a temporary monument by listing those who lost their lives on 9/11. The scheme juxtaposes delicate and sophisticated graphics with a rugged galvanized steel barrier, which is of bold enough scale to act as a frame for viewing the ongoing construction work within. Considering the emotionally charged nature of the context, the jury was particularly impressed by the no-fuss, straightforward approach. This emotionally neutral attitude makes even more poignant the tragic circumstances being honored."