wtc memorial winner

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wtc memorial winner

Postby what? » Thu Jan 08, 2004 11:23 am

The World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition jury yesterday announced that this scheme by Michael Arad and Peter Walker has won the commission.
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Postby FIN » Thu Jan 08, 2004 3:39 pm

is that nothing similiar to what libeskind designed??
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Postby what? » Thu Jan 08, 2004 4:03 pm

yeah i thought they were to work inside libeskinds framework but i acnt see any sign of the slurry walls that he proposed.
you can get a better look at the scheme herehttp://www.wtcsitememorial.org/fin7.html
i think it is a nice scheme though, i wonder how the underground passages will work as places of reverence in newyork city
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Postby alan d » Thu Jan 08, 2004 5:18 pm

Halfway between the World Trade Site and Pier 17 there is the memorial to those killed in the Vietnam War, you may have seen it What ?and Fin.

There are no reflective pools or passages and it is a non architectural event, certainly in relation to what's just been posted.

Anyway, cast into glass bricks are snippets of letters from soldiers to their relations back home and it is the most moving memorial I've ever seen. No fuss either.
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Postby alan d » Thu Jan 08, 2004 5:22 pm

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's content over form that's important, in my view.
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Postby what? » Thu Jan 08, 2004 5:31 pm

i never came accross that one sounds interesting, another great memorial is for the parisian jews. its hidden in a garden behind notre dame. you go down stairs into it and it feels very opressive. i think this scheme was the clearest of the finalists. it doesnt seem to have that classic feel of mya lin's vietnam memorial but i think it could work well for the reality of such a busy site. the plaza is kept for the city with those wanting to mourn or whatever allowed a more peacful space below. i'd give it the thumbs up
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Postby Hugh » Thu Jan 08, 2004 7:06 pm

This is the Parisian monument to the Deported, that what? mentions. One of the best such memorials I have come across and anticipates Libeskind by decades. By Georges-Henri Pingusson.

Photos don't do it justice of course: it's the immersive experience of looking down the black tunnel to nowhere, flanked by thousands of dimly glowing bulbs, each one a lost soul.
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Postby FIN » Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:00 pm

that looks very eerie. i shall have to visit next time i am over there. memorials nowadays seem to me getting more and more extravagent ( not that it's a bad thing) than previously. i agree with alan there that it's content rather than context.
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Postby what? » Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:21 pm

im not certain that i fully agree, im sure that the memorial alan is talking about was highly evocative and done with great taste but if this sort of strategy was deployed on every monument i think many of them could fall into the realm of sentimentality, which is dangerous territory. also the vietnam war was a completely different context of tragedy than the wtc, which was unexpected and sudden (i.e. there are no letters to loved ones).
what i think alan was getting at (correct me if im wrong alan) is that you dont need formal gymnastics to create a profound memorial. which is true. but i also think its true that, in the right hands, and done with skill understanding and restraint, a purely architectural experience (physically) has a great potential to be evocative and noble. which i think the paris example and mya linns washington memorial prove.
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Postby alan d » Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:48 pm

Just thinking about it, I realise I have been to a number of memorial structures and buildings, mostly in the USA.

What resonates and remains memorable is not the abstract but is personal experience on record, the story of those who lost or have suffered told in the most immediate and direct way without barriers and if you are receptive, your empathy or association, putting yourself in their shoes, if that is not to crass.

Design should not get in the way of that.
What's memorable and indeed evocative What? about mya lin's memorial is the flowers placed by relatives or comrades beside the names or people taking rubbings from the wall
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Postby space_invader » Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:49 pm

unfortuantely, this memorial will metamophose into a commercial operation rather than anything truly meaningful re: 9/11.

It will be impossible to have any kind of reflective experience on this site.

The more I think about it, the more I think something small, subtle and merely factual may have been the best solution.
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Postby FIN » Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:50 pm

oh! i'm not trying to say it's a bad thing but i feel they are getting more pronounced. maybe it's cos i wasn't around for any of the other ones. and of course different circumstances and also location...berlin for the big jewish monument and wtc and the attack on civilisation require pronounced memorials but in other cases it may over take the actual event if not careful in future years.
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Postby alan d » Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:59 pm

I agree S.I something small and factual.

For me, the most distressing and immediate part of the world trade disaster was the living commentary of those who experienced it.

The phone calls recorded on home machines from those on the planes, read them and you'll weep.
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Postby what? » Fri Jan 09, 2004 1:07 pm

what i am referring to is the "pysical" design of these memorials. the abstract in these cases allows the individual expression to happen (like the leaving of flowers,or rubbing of names as you say alan). were they to be designed with a particular experience in mind the multitude of different expressions of mourning (both overt and personal) may be stifled. with this in mind the more i think about the wtc design the less i like it. i think it may be far too proscriptive and become a conveyorbelt-like disney attraction. i have heard that since the announcement of the winner the relatives of the victims said they were outraged by the choice of design. the cynic in me says it was chosen because it makes a good corporate square with two ponds, as well as being a memorial (where some of the others did not).

just on the point of the transcripts of phone conversations from people in the planes/towers. i have heard these too and they are very moving but i dont think they have a place in a memorial. it would become some kind of gratuitis form of theme park where you can see how it feels to know you are about to die, for some teenager who is the product of fox news, who crave camcorder footage of a rampaging gunman to boost ratings. these things are personal. i think they should remain that way and leave the dead with their dignity
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Postby alan d » Fri Jan 09, 2004 1:22 pm

Take your point, What?

I'm just trying to say I suppose that is not about DESIGN
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Postby FIN » Fri Jan 09, 2004 1:43 pm

this is a very hard subject to judge. if they were too low key they would be accused of trivalising the event. i would however agree that it is probably too commercial. if they left it at just the two views of the wreckage(which i presume it still is) and had the square a living breathing entity then it would in my opinuion be a worthy tribute. i don't think a simple name plate would suffice here as in generations people will not know what it is for and the attack on our way of life that it symbolised. but it needs to have the emotional attachement and that is something a disneyland type attraction would not convey.
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Postby notjim » Fri Jan 09, 2004 2:16 pm

the best war memorial i have seen is in beruit, it is a tower built from wrecked weaponary encased in concrete, it is very powerful. it is quite hard to get to because it is in a military base a few miles from the city centre, but if you are in beruit, do go.

i agree with alan d re the vietnam memorial, the sense of reverance, the silent mourning, the rubbing and so on are very moving. interestingly, there was some nervousness in the us that an abstract design wouldn't be acceptable, before mia lin american memorials tended to be very representational. anyway, there is a more traditional vietnam memorial overlooking the wall, it has figures of soldiers in a herioc pose etc; it is nothing like as moving and is certainly not a site of pilgimage.

maybe the most poinyant (sp?) memorial i have seen was in a graveyard in vilnius, it commerates soviet solidier who died liberating vilnius from the germans, but, because that was then followed by a soviet occupation of lithuania, it is now untended and the eternal flame is no longer burning.
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Postby space_invader » Fri Jan 09, 2004 5:46 pm

the Beirut concrete tower with tanks trapped within is truly awesome: still - unsure what it actually says about war (perhaps it says war is embedded within our notions of civilisation, which ultimately makes it a grisly celebration of sorts) and the fact that it sits within a military base, as you say, notjim, tends to skew any interpration towards what I have suggested in brackets.

Back to the WTC: FIN - you said:

I don't think a simple name plate would suffice here as in generations people will not know what it is for and the attack on our way of life that it symbolised.

I understand your sentiment but just as Robbie Williams seems to top polls such as the 100 greatest single of all time, it seems as if general societal events are considered only in the short term.

I'm not promoting a debate here on which atrocity is worse than another, but I would say empires come and go and we shouldn't worry too much about how the future will remember us. The future has rules we don't yet know and the future will decide what 9/11 meant for itself. If anything, a small, factual account and secular tribute to 21st Century life may help whoever's in charge in the future to accurately interpret what the hell happened and what it meant to the world at large.

To quote the great comic book scribe Alan Moore:

See Babylon fall, see Egypt thrive,
'Til Alexander's Greeks arrive,
Then, next, the Romans come to town.
The Wheel turns, we go up, else down.

Yet Empires still bemoan their lot,
As they're churned under and forgot
'Oh Time', they cry,
And fear the new,
But times change,
Whatcha gonna do?
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Postby FIN » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:13 pm

yea..i agree. civilisations and empires historically do all come to an end. see the thread on space architecture and our slightly distorted view of the future:-)

the public in general seem to look to the present and the future and the past is quickly forgotten or well maybe not forgotten but assigned to the back of the mind. this is why i believe the square should become a thriving public space again as soon as possible.
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Postby notjim » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:29 pm

what the beruit monument expresses is the horror of war. it is an interesting monument because it doesn't attempt to communicate a sense of loss.

when i was photographing it an army guy stood beside me to make sure i pointed the camera at the monument and nothing else.
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Postby FIN » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:37 pm

sounds like a monument with a difference..
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Postby mike s » Fri Jan 09, 2004 10:49 pm

this is very interesting with excellent comments and observations did any of you enter the competition?
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Postby space_invader » Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:24 pm

I didn't enter Mike S - how about you?

notjim: any idea as to why they've put a war monument in the middle of a military base?

bit weird, no?
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Postby mike s » Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:37 pm

i've just come back from new york and although i hated the towers its strange not to see them specially from the statue of liberty. it must be more like the original shorefront skyline now the image seen by the visitors in the 40's as they arrived on the queen mary.
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Postby mike s » Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:43 pm

did not enter myself interested in architecture but no talent. bit of a drawback can't draw but can make a good curry
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