Daniel Kinkead

WTC Independent Study
Research framework proposal

Modern capitalist societies, their symbols
and consequences have been analyzed in
detail throughout the twentieth century.  
Given the recent terrorist events in the
United States these past analyses may
shed light on the contemporary and future
condition of the relation between the
signifiers and those things signified within
the modern capitalist society.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, two
terrorist attacks were brought to bear upon
the United States.  The targets were at
once people (predominantly American), the
World Trade Center Towers, and The
Pentagon (potentially the White House and
/ or Capital Building).  Many people say that
the attacks of September 11 were not only
attacks against those immediate targets,
but against the entire United States, and
ultimately the American way of life that they
represent.  Some have gone further
however, and declared that this is not just
an attack on America, but on all â
€˜freedom-loving peoples.’

These declarations or assumptions incite
certain questions.

The goal here, within the context of
architecture, urbanism and particularly the
World Trade Center, is to utilize the
analyses and theories of capitalism and
semiotics put forth by Marxists, neo-
Marxists, semiologists and social
geographers to determine what relation the
World Trade Center towers have/had to the
modern capitalist society and how that
society’s economy, within a fully
industrial-developed country, relates to the
undeveloped world.

Some questions to consider:
In exactly what way were the trade center
towers so representative of the United
States - or more largely capitalism - that it
would render them the ideal target of an
aggressor?  This then asks, is capitalism
the primary representative of the American
way of life?

Or, more pointedly, why not attack American
symbols such as CNN, Walt Disneyworld,
or the Statue of Liberty… has capitalism or
commerce in general, trumped freedom as
the symbol of America?

Is it fair to consider this an issue of the
modern capitalist society – or even state â
€“ or would the more accurate focus be on
the modern democratic capitalist state?

We understand through various critiques of
capitalism that the system itself, within the
metropolis at least, has the ability to not
only commodify most things, including
those cultural, but to also reify people.  With
those conditions in mind, what might the
penultimate symbol of capitalism be?

If modern thought can be directly linked to
capitalism, how does the WTC fit into
architectural history and in which ways is it
inextricable from modernism and

If modern capitalism had no relation to the
third or undeveloped world, would the WTC
still be a valid symbol of that economy to
both small trans-national groups and
nation-states in the undeveloped world?

It is essential that the scope of this
research be focused as to allow adequate
immersion in the subject matter.  Put quite
simply, one could write several books
about the goal as described above, not to
mention the relative questions also listed
above. In consideration of that given, more
subtractive frames and methods of
research will be deployed to ensure a
timely completion of the project.  While one
would be remiss not to include certain
issues of American foreign-policy, the
research emphasis described thus far
must maintain a rigorous examination of
the relation between symbols and modern
capitalist society vis-a-vis the terrorist
attacks of September 11th and the World
Trade Center.  To preempt any distraction
of focus, foreign policy and militaristic
considerations around the strike against
the Pentagon will be forgone.  This is no
way intended to belittle what has
happened; to the contrary it is intended to
allow for more in-depth and thorough
research and analysis.
Mitch Joachim

Doing the Glee:
The Fantasy After the Missiles Are All
Cleaned Up

A Clairvoyant approach to why this project
What if Tomorrow arrived a day or so early
for a brief second and revealed an awfully
tidy account of our prospering future?

Ladies and gentleman the drama unfolds:
Hundreds upon hundreds of leather faced
vagabond terrorists belly upped.  Out of Bis!
No more does the world fear the cultural
melee between Third world activism and
capitalisms’ dominating homogeneity.  
We can stand knee high in a perfunctory
political swill that dispels notions of
inequality at the kick of a Nike.

Our howling halls of Americanism report
incredible dispositions of glee from the
world’s representative forums.   Unite!  
They scream before reticent masses,
Unite! In Americas grand ballet -the ugly
Returning from a tele-epistemological field
study our reigning president has indicated
all bets are on.  The world is united, that is
more correctly stated the world of man, as
we know it is united.  All other recognizable
species to do not readily partake in the
drama of the human will and therefore have
been subsequently sidelined.

We owe our new found interdependency
not to undermining theories of connection
or ecology but to a single pharaodian
project.  The New World Trade Center
encapsulates the very pulse of our nations
enduring constitution.  A marvel of all
creation it easily separates man from his
maker in a very “Planet of the Apes�
like sensibility.  This colossal form
embodies perfection fused with a lucid
programming where the inside is outside
and third worlds problems devolve into
smoking anywhere at frozen yogurt shops
playing 80’s hits.  
Tomorrow has brought a new symbol of
freedom and liberty to the forefront, an
impeccable image of the not to shabby
American capitalism.

Those responsible for this grand ignoble
achievement have been deservedly
honored.  Trappings of suspect design
citations adorn their respective studio
walls.  Circles of Ivy League faculty pat
each other on the back knowing that
accomplishment is “oh so easy.â€�  
Organizations such as the Unscrupulous
Institute of Munificent Vacuous Art herald
the projects lucid vision. Critics applaud the
undergriding stratagem of building with
plastic buckets and damp Afghanistan
sand.  However the salient feature of our
new center is the memorial.   A massive
reminder of the wrongs man has done to
man.  Picture a kind of blackened seething
primordial soup of corruption and war
turned into an abstract bouquet of flowering
doves.  It single handedly deploys a sense
of closure while sustaining a posture of
dignity for those innocents who perished.  It
also diligently recounts via electronic
compunction the blind tribunals of justice
brought on terrorists and their harboring

Injected at the base of this universally
accepted project, a mosaic tile
encompasses the poetry of an eleven-year
boy form Paterson, New Jersey.  As the first
place winner of a Nation wide contest, his
scripted words of naiveté fossilize the turn
of the millennium.
Sebastian Schmaling

It is understandable that the destruction of
the World Trade Center has triggered the
human impulse to immediately come up
with concrete, physical proposals for an
instant remedy against the literal vacuum in
the heart of America’s most important
city.  But the mass media’s trivial
reduction of this exercise to a “to-build-
or-not-to-build� question has become a
sad statement of the banality of today’s
architectural circus whose contemporary
protagonists are frighteningly eager to
formulate their respective positions in
empty five-line paragraphs.
I am less interested in the future of that
particular piece of valuable real estate in
the middle of the financial epicenter of the
world; my pessimistic nature doesn’t
allow me to believe that there is an
alternative to the highest economic use of
this property: for the developer, a token
memorial will do.  Instead, I am more
interested in the long-term consequences
of this tragedy for the future of American
cities, their relationship to the rest of the
United States, and the resulting effects on
the physical and spatial evolution of the
entire country.   I am considering two broad
themes (which will be combined into one

1.   Was the attack an assault on inherently
American symbols, an attack on values, or
simply a strike against an American city?  If
it was an attack on symbols, why do we find
what is perceived as inherently American,
in the city and not in the countryside, or
even better, within the vast fabric of that
mythical yet innately American “middle
landscapeâ€�?  If America’s strongest
symbols are located in the large economic
centers of the United States, does it make
the metropolis a dangerous place to be?  
Consequently, do terrorist attacks have the
power to re-introduce, to substantiate the
anti-urban sentiments deeply rooted not
only in the intellectual history of the United
States, but also in America’s popular
psyche?  Have the attacks demonstrated
the vulnerability of cities from outside
forces, thus adding a significant element of
fear to urban life’s already existing self-
inflicted unpredictability and inherent
instability?  Then again, is the perceived
security of suburbia a legitimate
alternative?  Consider that the alleged
terrorists all took advantage of the
anonymity of the suburban void; ironically,
but maybe not coincidentally, they studied,
lived, and spent the last hours of their lives
in the conformist environment of the
American Dream.
Finally, what will come after today’s
presumably fragile solidarity pact between
city and country evaporates, after the
miraculous spiritual unity of town and
country, making one temporarily forget
about the great mutual resentments (or
ambivalent feelings at best) between the
urban and the non-urban America,
dissolves?  In the long run, will America be
gentler in her judgment of the big city - or
could the attacks, instead, destroy forever
the magic lure of the metropolis?  After all,
is it possible to argue that the reactionary
antipathy of Middle America toward the
metropolis as a den of iniquity is closer to
Islamic fundamentalists’ resentments
of western society at large than to the
values of the big city?  The story of

Karen Hawley Juday, as told in one of The
New York Time’s daily “The
Victims� section, only starts to suggests
the fantastic complexity and the personal
implications of people’s attitude
towards urban life:

It might be an unfair question, but an
unavoidable one nevertheless:  Was it
worth to leave the bad life in a mediocre
town with a population smaller than the
Twin Towers’ workforce, for the
promise of a better life in the big city, only to
ultimately die there?  You can hear the
locals whisper:  â€œWe told her…â€�

2.   The ultimate question, then, is not so
much if there is a safe alternative to urban
life, but if there is a demand for an
alternative to the urban life as we know it.  
The end of the economic boom of the last
decade might have already weakened our
belief in the perpetual power of Americaâ
€™s urban renaissance, but I would like to
argue that there was an equally important
phenomenon that triggered the new
interest of Americans in their cities: the end
of the Cold War.  It is interesting that the
supposed rebirth of America’s cities
coincided with the collapse of the East
Block.  While the past economic boom was
an important tool in reclaiming the
metropolis, it wasn’t the empty nesterâ
€™s artificially inflated stock portfolio that
paved the way back into the (gentrified)
heart of the city; instead, it was the sudden
loss of anxiety that enabled a generation,
which grew up with the fear of an
immediate nuclear attack, to experience the
myth of urbanity that until then had been
forbidden territory.  Conversely, it would be
interesting to examine if and to what extent
the post-war mass-suburbanization was
not only a result of federal loan programs,
the construction of a vast network of
freeways, and all the other usual suspects
we are so eager to blame today, but also a
direct response to the global political
environment of the Cold War: was the urge
to live in the country side measurably
influenced by the desire to live as far away
from the potential targets of a nuclear
attack as possible?
If the thesis that the nuclear threat of the
post-war era played an important role in the
tragic fate of urban America, what
consequences will today’s terrorist
threats have?  It would be interesting to
review the notion of “city� within the
rhetoric and political discourse of the 1950â
€™s and 60’s and to speculate about
recent and future parallels.
Walter Meyer

WTC Regeneration
Contextual Speculations

After the Yamasaki Twin Tower
catastrophe, one can imagine a void
eclipsing the site, and on the periphery of
this void are the frayed ends of an urban
fabric.  This contextual fabric is a measure
of both physical element and intangible
forces.  It is this context dangling on the
edges of the site, an abyss of frayed
infrastructure, lost souls and anti-
semiotics; that will influence any future
Immediately following September 11 there
were many solutions proposed, “build
higher,â€� “build shorter,â€� “donâ
€™t build at all;â€� "erase the erasure.â
€� In speculating an approach to
researching the World Trade Center Project
one must first ask the right questions and
understand that there is an existing
framework to explore and identify, as well
as possible new civic opportunities that
arise from the dislocation of large scale
structure.  A Research initiative, that if asks
the right questions, can establish a
reference for someone embarking on a
thesis, or actual site implementation.
Subsequent to the demolition of damaged
buildings, the waterfront will play a more
significant role on the site via an open an
axis to the Hudson River. Possible
intangible parameters for context
exploration include: Ecologic systems like
littoral and tidal flows, macro and micro
climate, migration patterns of local
species, bathymetry and topography.
Cultural relationships like demographics,
population, heritage, users, and commerce.
Considering one of the many disconnects,
there is an opportunity for correlation with
the adjacent Battery Park grid,
complementing interaction with the water in
the next project.  Some potential physical
parameters for context analysis include:
parcelization, rights of way, circulation,
infrastructure, program, land use, density,
and site history.
Frank Ruchala Jr.

Disaster and the Grand City Plan

The debate on the rebuilding of the World
Trade Center has split into two camps
based on scale. On one end, there is the
site-scale debate which deals with issues
of monument vs. building, taller towers vs.
contextualism and issues of safety on the
16-acre site. On the other, there is the
debate on what I would call “the grand
city plan�. In effect, this group deals with
the issue of how to create an opportunity for
the improvement of the New York City
region out of the disaster while taking
precautions against further calamity. As an
urban planner, I tend to gravitate to this
larger scale.

As such, it is interesting to me that much of
the energy going into rebuilding New York
is being spent outside of the 16-acre site of
the World Trade Center on a vision for all of
New York in a time in planning’s
history when the idea or the very need of
the grand city plan is seriously questioned.

My topic of study is the “grand city planâ
€�, the sparkling document which forever
shifts the fortunes of a city leaving an
indelible mark on its structure, culture and
memory. Plans such as the 1811 plan for
Manhattan and Wren’s (unbuilt) plans
for London after 1666 come to mind.

However, for every grand city plan there are
uncountable forgotten works left as curious
footnotes in planning’s history. What,
then, are the factors that turn a normal
planning document into the grand city plan
on the scale of Burnham’s Plan for

I believe the there is a correlation between
disaster (impending or passed) and the
grand city plan. Seemingly, only at a
moment when the city is faced with its own
mortality can it collectively work together
and formulate plans which not only deal
with the issues related to the disaster but
also greatly affect the city itself.

I intend to study this correlation more
clearly using historical as well as more
recent examples such as plans for Paris
during Haussman’s time (the disaster
here being possible rebellion) and Kobe,
Japan since 1995. Beyond this, I will
attempt to understand what other factors
effect the creation and realization of the
grand city plan with a focus on what is the
role of the grand city plan in today’s
planning and urban climate.
Kjersti Monson

The events of September 11, 2001 have
clearly transformed the way that the World
Trade Center site will be understood and
the way it will be used. The degree to which
this transformation will affect new
development on the site is not yet
determined. I propose to study the strange
new hybrid that has been born of the
competing forces that will shape
development in this new urban void­a
hybrid which I will call functional
commemoration­in relation to the newly
exposed circuitous edge within lower

Edge. The destruction of the World Trade
Center has left a void in New York City. This
is not only an emotional void (the
disjunction of this episode from the normal
continuum of time), it is an urban void. This
void has created an entirely new circuitious
edge in the urban fabric of New York. In
many ways this scenario is absolutely
unique in the history of America. In some
ways, however, from the perspective of
planning, it's not so unique: As in the age of
the Moses brand of urban renewal, a tabula
rasa has been violently called into being
through the destruction of a patch of living
urban density. The city has been wounded.
Systems that we equate with normalcy
have been interrupted. There is a
conspicuous absence of that which once
defined the geopsychological space of the
city. What is left are naked edges around a
hole. These new edges­perhaps shying
from exposure at first­will eventually offer
anchors to the void, providing opportunities
for reconnection. The buzzing around these
edges will provide insight to the
designer/listener, as new relationships are
forged across the abyss and new desire
lines are plotted. The activation of the new
edge is one factor to consider.

Site. In purely practical terms, the World
Trade Center site is high-buck real estate
in a heavily circulated and particularly
dense part of Manhattan. The site is
subject to immense market and real estate
pressures, and will undoubtedly be
redeveloped in part in accordance with
these pressures. Other, newer, pressures
on the site come from the obvious role of
commemoration that the site will now
rightly embody. Anything that is built or
developed there will, by no formal virtue of
its own, be perceived as highly iconic. The
site is charged with intense local and
regional relevance from the perspectives of
circulation, infrastructure, real estate,
commemoration, economy, open space,
and politics. This radical new void has
emerged out of violence in direct
contradiction to the market forces that have
shaped lower Manhattan. Violence begets
commemoration. Therefore, a radical new
relationship between memorial
(art/ephemeral) and function
(site-planning/corporeal) will be implicit in
any new development effort.

Memorial. Historically, the physical
expression of memorial has been
understood as a contemplative destination,
often in the form of a discrete object. As we
know, Maya Lin redefined memorial in
1980, expressing commemoration in the
language of place (not object) with her
controversial design proposal for the
Vietnam Memorial (construction completed
1982). Even as subsequent memorials
have increasingly evolved as places that
relate to us spatially, they have largely
remained in the realm of the contemplative
destination. Frequently, these destinations
do not physically occupy our everyday
path­they are special destinations,
existing at a point in time and space that is
separate from the merely common. Their
sacredness seems to rest in their solitary
purpose: commemoration. In the case of
the World Trade Center site, this cannot be
so. Market forces will not allow this land to
remain undeveloped. Too, there is a
general feeling of defiance and resistance
against allowing the site to remain strictly
open­strictly void­as passive recreation
space. Instead, this commemorative
destination is likely to be a combination of
horizontal and vertical elements, a
conglomeration of multi-use spaces in
which market forces and physical planning
have a formative voice, impacting and
being impacted by the desire to
memorialize. The likelihood of a
contemplative memorial emerging as the
sole use of this place is unrealistic. So we
are faced with the interesting challenge of
defining functional commemoration.

Function. Function can be defined on many
levels. Circulation, infrastructure, urban
ecology, real estate, markets, and public
open space can all be defined
geographically and in terms of function.
These conditions can be physically and
conceptually mapped in a way that allows
us to glean the functional relationships this
site engages (or in some cases neglects)
within its context. Relationships between
functions cannot be determined without an
essential exercise of excavation through
critical mapping. Understanding the site on
its own terms will reveal dynamic
relationships and necessary
interconnections, providing the necessary
tools (and limits) for a meaningful,
functional, and visionary intervention.

This project does not propose to construct
a design proposal. It does propose to
expose a series of relationships or
contradictions through physical and
conceptual mapping of the site, its edges,
and the conditions that have impacted it. It
is as much concerned with cultural and
political forces (and fractures) as with
physical forces in the representation of this
site. It is intended as a study in layers. At
this stage, it is as much about defining the
questions as seeking the answers.
Early Images
Mitchell Joachim               

GSD 9204-00 Preparation of Thesis Proposal for MAUD        
Advisor: Alex Krieger

World Trade Center Regeneration: An Urban Memorial   

“It is a contradiction in terms. If it is a monument, it is not modern,
and if it is modern, it cannot be a monument." - Lewis Mumford

1) Intention:
This is an inventive proposal to regenerate the New York Downtown and
World Trade Center site.  Consider it an open platform for discussing
the program implications of designing, researching, and planning in the
wake of a crisis.  The overarching proposition is to create an analysis for
public review and deliberation based on humanist criterion not pure
economic gain.
The undertaking of such a potentially massive academic project is
clearly in need of an equal distribution amongst multiple concerned
students.  Therefore it is necessary to divide the almost innumerable
aspects of the project into a group effort.  Every student would then
concentrate on his/her own facet; no single design solution is expected.  
Perhaps it is best thought of as kind of book with a myriad of chapters
on the future World Trade Center site.  Ultimately, in this case,
proposing an integrated urban memorial is only one such chapter.

2) Responsibilities:
The principal segment of the overall study involved a multitude of
accomplished tasks. The following comprises of the bulk of work
engaged for the entire stated agenda: Participated in a student-initiated
effort to inform and assist New York City in establishing a framework for
rebuilding the devastated downtown area.  Created, published, and
updated periodically a website for student group dissemination (www.
archinode.com/wtc).  Organized and presented an extensive survey of
exemplary modern memorials and architectural monuments.  Traveled to
document and photograph prototypical memorials in the New England
and Washington areas (Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial, Salem Witch
Trials Memorial, and Washington, DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial).
Contributed in forum discussions, compiled literature, data, and lecture
information from the Cambridge and N.Y. area (Noam Chomsky, "The
New War Against Terror", Peter Eisenman "Memorial and Memory: The
World Trade Center and After", William LeMessurier "World Trade
Center Discussion", Joseph B. Rose "Rebuilding Lower Manhattan", and
The History Channel Special on WTC).  Also submitted a design
schematic for the GSD student charrette competition and exhibition of
ideas.  In addition numerous other tasks, including but not limited to;
faculty meetings, gallery negotiations, newspaper interviews, and
maintaining connections with interested groups etc. were fulfilled.      

3) Proposal for Thesis Research:
"I really believe we shouldn't think about this site out there, right behind
us, right here, as a site for economic development.â€�   "We should
think about a soaring, monumental, beautiful memorial that just draws
millions of people here that just want to see it.â€�  "If the memorial was
done correctly, you'll have all the economic development you want, and
you can do the office space in a lot of different places." - Mayor Rudolph
W. Giuliani

The idea of a memorial seems to consistently resonate amongst
governing powers and the munificent public in the city of New York.  It is
the overwhelming consensus of American citizens that space should be
set aside to memorialize the victims of September 11th.  Any urban or
architectural solution enacted that does not resolve the presence of a
memorial will certainly be disregarding this general will of the public. The
site of the previous World Trade Center needs a place of remembrance
for those events, but should not be entirely limited to one program.  
Although an entire solution for the former WTC is necessary, mitigating
the issues of a memorial is the constraint dealt with herein.  The criterion
of the location, energy, and typology for a memorial fitting into the site is
the bounds of this project.  Considerations of other relevant projects in
congruence with a memorial do not fall within the scope of this
document.  That is to say whatever interventions, built edifices, or
landscape environments deemed worthy of this location should be
discussed as complimentary elements in relation to the memorial.  What
is or is not appropriate for the site and a memorial, and how can this be
determined?  Therefore no-designed memorial per se¢ is being
proposed but instead a coded list or theory of immanence, possibilities,
and integrations.
First, dealing with when to take action is paramount to a successful
design process.  Notice the rapidity with which the Oklahoma City
memorial to the people who died in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah
Federal Building in 1995 was undertaken.  Also the momentum of the
Aids Quilt was applauded for its’ timely endeavors. It wasn't until
1922 that the United States got around to building a memorial to Lincoln,
and even then it was controversial.  But in our media blitzed times, the
impulse to memorialize tragedy is instantaneous. It is as if an
architectural designed memorial is the express resolution for whatever
appalling event occurs and a swift way to move on. The transition is
crucial.  The coming together of fundamental ideas in a sometimes
apprehensively diverse society, through a presumptive communal or
national bereavement, is what the monument embodies.
The collective impulse to memorialize is immediate.  When first arriving
at a design in Oklahoma the process was arduous because the wounds
were still fresh. Everyone involved with the event expressed their
respective contributions to the design. The process was elective,
fascinating and sufficed. First concepts were to destroy the Murrah
building and to obliterate evidence of the tragedy, erase its memory,
and also avoid the site's becoming a pilgrimage spot for lunatic
sympathizers with Timothy McVeigh.  John Wayne Gacy's dwelling in
Chicago and Jeffrey Dahmer's apartment building in Milwaukee had
been destroyed for these reasons.
Eradicating the fragments is not always forgetting.  In a very dissimilar
context, that is what the Nazis attempted to do to the Jewish peoples.
Obliterate and displace all memories. It is the quandary that faces the
custodians of every Nazi death camp: is Dachau (Auschwitz, Majdanek,
and others) currently a deterrent narrative or a tourist attraction or
possibly both?  Jean Baudrillard, in a remark also relevant to New York
now, discussed how "forgetting the extermination is part of the
extermination itself," but obliterating what the terrorists performed might
also be a way of exterminating them. The willful desire among Oklahoma
survivors to eradicate McVeigh (by executing him) was about attempting
to erase his ethereal presence.
That was one of many public discussions.  It was overwhelmed by
designs to construct something where the Murrah building stood. The
initial memorials, spontaneous, were similar to the haphazard shrines
that have surfaced in New York: flowers, letters, quilts, clothes, and
The public overtly expected a memorial to include everything: a site to
pry; a site that warned against future terrorism; a symbol that the
terrorists hadn't triumphed; a history museum; a place to which locals
could come to listen to music and tourists could meditate on American
values (and spur the local economy).
The final concept called for a grid of bronze and glass chairs in a field,
the chairs representing the 168 people who perished. When it was
complete, many survivors said the process, although sometimes verbally
acidic, was constructive — it wrought them together to create
something that might enlighten humanity, somewhere they could occupy,
something benign that came from the ruinous, a spectacle of fortitude by
The kinds of solutions and questions being asked here for all intents
and purposes dictate an approach to designing a memorial.  Qualities
and measurements of data extruded form the pre-existing structures will
hope to reveal insights for a finer calibration of humane concerns.  What
did those buildings mean in terms of humanity and the domain in which
we thrive?  How can this be measured and contrasted to a mitigating
alternate solution?  Of course we can perform better today at planning/
designing solutions, but how can we prove this here ardently?  Where
did the WTC construct fail at providing humanly scaled benefits and
conviviality for the people of the city?  Will exploring the life support
systems of those prior structures reveal an undergid of mistakes that
lead to their demise?  A visual model expressing the differences in the
needs of old and the needs of today could stridently appeal to the
ultimate designers of the entire site.  Modeling an analysis of per-
existing volumes of space, energy, and density will reveal the gross
miscalculation of humane agendas needed to successfully fit a project to
the surrounds.  Also a second model of required goals to be met would
offer precursor design solutions.  For instance, can you possibly
imagine designing a second new structure that moves nine million cubic
feet of air per minute to cool fifty thousand office workers on a sunny
day one thousand three hundred feet in the air?  Should such
conditions exist again or can these satanic mills of industry be
reconfigured to address future generations?  How would a memorial
recognize both the horror of 911 and of the past symbolism those
buildings represented to the whole of humanity.  Why is it appropriate to
ask these design questions, whom are we ultimately concerned for?  
Does design need to again formalize a style or to radicalize historicist
Modern memorials today seem to invoke the use of forms with a â
€œless is moreâ€� conviction. Maya Lin's Vietnam memorial in
Washington is an obvious example of Minimalism. Peter Eisenman's
Holocaust memorial in Berlin for the Murdered Jews, originally conceived
with Richard Serra, is a minimalist field of plain concrete pillars, akin to
headstones. Rachel Whiteread's Holocaust memorial in Vienna, a
massive eggshell-colored box designed to resemble an inside-out room
with shelves of books, is yet another. And Oklahoma City, with a grid of
chairs lined up similar to Donald Judd boxes, symbolizing the victims of
the terrorist bombing there, is the most germane example for New York.
Even the temporary viewing platforms at the former Trade Center site
are in a Minimalist vein.
The practice of style is usually a matter of who wields authority at a
given moment.  A rigorous debate over the World War II memorial on the
Mall in Washington, the most conspicuous non- Minimalist memorial of
recent years, claimed to privilege the inclinations of the war veterans, as
if veterans were a monolithic group.  Hundreds of years before, when
public art was commissioned by royalty, aristocrats and the church,
official taste was synonymous with high art. Democracy and the modern
era of design altered all that. Official art in a democracy requires
consensus, an aesthetic common denominator.  Not the always the ideal
requisite for good design.
But modern art (used in the fundamental sense) is about an individualâ
€™s vision. The idea of a consensus, or compromise is antithetical to it.
Its values and directions are often entirely formal: line, color, mass and
weight. Memorial art, on the other hand, is therapeutic, redemptive and
educational. These are different things and not always complementary.
Memorials should not just simply encapsulate the past but bring resolve
and offer consolation.  They are not places for radicalism or political
agendas.  They are moments of solitude, peace, and evocation.  Today
the traumatized WTC survivors recount tales of narrow escape within the
confines of the densest place on earth.  Should a memorial recall the
impenetrable, dark architecture that stood before or should it be a part
of our enlightenment and healing?  The Vietnam Memorial in
Washington DC does not offer answers or retell events.  How is this
successful or is it?  Minimalist granite plaques, religious archetypes, and
over-scaled sculptures do not proactively engage humanity. They do not
prevent the atrocities of yesterday form happening again.  They better
serve as geographical locators then cognitive accounts of history.
The town of Dachau outside Munich in Germany is a preserved space
for memorializing the holocaust.  It also serves to actively record its
entire history to date, so no such horror could happen again.  Inclusive
in the memorial at Dachau is a museum and an archive of the tragedy,
as well as support for finding other perpetrators.  One of the most
powerful effects of Dachau is to see the piles of human shoes, clothing,
teeth, and hair of the Jewish victims.  What kinds of similar references
could be made at WTC?
Memorials, being fixed with immutable materials, (expensive, rare
marbles, industrial glazings, and resource intensive alloys) have an
inherent problem because memories are not fixed. Salient low embodied
materials (extruded harvested wood, recycled metals, soy-based
composites) should be developed to send a regenerative signal for
tomorrows’ denizens.  Perceptions of society always change.
Minimalist abstraction, with its allegorical pliancy, turns out to function in
a memorial context as the default available mirror for a contemporary
society aware of its own constantly alternating sense of history.  The
publics’ perceptions of Minimalism, to the extent it knew about
Minimalism at all, is best illustrated with Serra's "Tilted Arc" in New York.  
It was loathed by most of the people who worked in proximity to it. A vast
curved sheet of extravagant Corten steel, the sculpture traversed the
plaza in front of a downtown federal office building. Serra's supporters
did not help the cause by saying that the work addressed the condition
of alienation in contemporary society.  It was ultimately â
€œdeconstructedâ€�.  Fine art outlives the events that prompted the
artisans to create it.  A good memorial now must primly reach future
generations to remember what refuses to forgotten.
The archetypal source of the universal modernist memorial can be
traced back to at least Rodin in the 19th century.  This monumental work
commemorates an incident in the Hundred Years War between the
English and the French.  Commissioned in 1884 to design a monument
to the burghers of Calais his idea influenced many others to come.  The
impetus for the memorial came from a tragic narrative.  In 1347, six
burghers compromised with their lives to the conquering English in
exchange for ending a siege of the city.  The original design shows the
work mounted on a pedestal, which was usual for heroic monuments at
the time.  Rodin quickly abandoned this type of monumental
presentation in favor of a more realistic placement of the Burghers at
ground level, with space between each figure. In this way, Rodin
pioneered a new monumental form, which was psychologically realistic in
its concept and presentation. As he is reported to have said to his friend
and biographer, Paul Gsell,
"I have not shown them grouped in a triumphant apotheosis, such
glorification of their heroism would not have corresponded to anything
real. On the contrary, I have, as it were, threaded them one behind the
other, because in the indecision of the last inner combat which ensues
between their cause and their fear of dying, each of them is isolated in
front of their conscience."
Rodin refined and shaped the figures at full scale, grouped one beside
another, looking tired and gaunt.  These men were not plastically
transformed into heroes. Their visages suggested mistrust and fear.  
This was an exceptionally different monument from other memorials
previously.  Rodin visualized them either elevated on a pedestal, profiled
against the French Houses of Parliament, or at eye level, closer to the
common individual. His objective was to parallel the human condition: he
brought the masses into a proximal and realistic relationship with the
heroes.  The burghers were average people who were transformed into
humble champions.
Almost a century later this concept of the monument has undergone
many dynamic changes.  An introduction of the anti-monument became
the basis for an unexpected antifascist memorial in Germany.  In 1985,
the artists Jochen and Esther Gerz conceptualized a project for a
pedestrian mall in Harburg, a dilapidated suburb of Hamburg.  The
ensuing monument they designed comprised of a single monolithic
column. It was constructed as a hollow aluminum mast with a layer of
pliable lead.  A steel writing stylus connected to it so visitors could
scratch into the column. Every time a portion of the column got
adequately covered with graffiti, it would slowly lower itself into the base.  
Locals scrawled a plethora of things into it, as they were intended to,
including Stars of David and nazi swastikas. It became known as the
"fingerprint" of the city: "The filth brings us closer to the truth than would
any list of well-meaning signatures." The fully intact edifice was entitled  â
€œdisappearing monumentâ€�.  Completed in 1986, it eventually
vanished into the ground by 1993.  Underneath the base houses an
area to view the sunken portion of the monument.
Designs of memorials can be subdivided into primarily two broad-based
categories: the memorial and the anti-memorial.  Memorials that are
traditionally programmed to serve as respites and passive
remembrances of an event are considered to be of the first category.  
Moreover, the anti-memorial is proactive, dynamic, and a critical
evocation of a recent event or a disturbing current situation.  These
types more often then not dispel notions of elapsed time and seek to
suggest that memories are highly active, increasing in reality, and
irresoluble.  An anti-memorial to Heroin Overdoses in Melbourne by Sue
Anne Ware is one such charged work.  Also the “Black Garden" in
Germany by Jenny Hozler is intended to be an anti-memorial.  The most
successful anti-memorial in recent history was Chris Burdens’ â
€œThe Other Vietnam Memorialâ€�.  Here names were gathered from
four different Vietnamese war time phone books and then merged to
compile three million different names. These names were etched into
human sized copper plates that were then placed in a rolodex-like
Other classification of the memorial archetype is the cognitive and the
non-cognitive versions.  The former is a massive division of designs that
includes an array of thematic types: War, Terrorism, Heroes, Genocide
(Holocaust), Protests, etc.  Cognitive memorials in some fashion inform
the visitor of a past event via communicative signs; language, names, or
any method requiring learned recognition.  Egyptian obelisks, to the
Vietnam Wall make up this typology.  Conversely related, Non-cognitive
archetypes are not overtly marked by symbolisms.  This variety tends to
be an inconspicuous backgrounder, similar to Indian/ Chinese burial
mounds or the enigmatic excavations at Stonehenge.
A fitting memorial archetype for the World trade center must meet many
conditions.  It must be egalitarian and democratic, by attempting to
include the voices of all willing design participants.  It must also offer a
viable solution to modernisms default minimalist designs.  Inasmuch as
possible obliterate any commendation for the future use of terrorism
anywhere by individuals, or national super powers.  Furthermore it
should acknowledge the American right to religious freedom.  And more
importantly, it should recognize specific poor attributes of past
architectural idioms that lead to so many deaths.  This last concept
should be a critique of the former World Trade Center complex,
associative mega-structure aspirations, and extreme high-density
The premise for this opposition would be grounded in a firm contrast to
ecological design theory.   For instance calculations of HVAC air volume,
solar income, water usage, low embodied energy materials, human
scale, etc. would be discussed in relation to the WTC project.  The
green urbanism means of resolving these polemics would prompt
something regenerative and munificent for all generations.  A memorial
predicated on ecology and the needs of future will be the most
appropriate design signal.  
Perhaps the memorial for the WTC will usher in a new modality of
thinking about the collective peoples of the earth.  A visual depicting the
loss of thousands of people instantly is unfathomable, and arguably
exists.  What about qualifying measurements of the loss?  Does a simple
picture of four hundred fireman and rescue workers suffice or could that
be expanded somehow?  A new memorial archetype must legibly
underscore the very nature and entirety of the event and foreground the
historical mistakes that made it possible.  This is a proposal to actualize
and script such a programmatic solution in forthcoming writing and

Facts in support of a refined ecology in design model:
Compiled from The New York Times and World Trade Center Designers:
Minoru Yamasaki Associates of Rochester Hills, Michigan and Emery
Roth & Sons of New York.
Manhattan holds 6.8% of NYC land area. 19% of city inhabitants live
there, 2/3 of the jobs are in this borough along with half of all retail
sales.  In Lower Manhattan alone, some 25 million square feet of
commercial real estate was destroyed or damaged. More than 14,000
businesses have been harmed, and 377,000 jobs have been disrupted
or displaced.  In the weeks after the World Trade Center disaster, some
25 displaced Manhattan companies, including American Express and
Lehman Brothers, absorbed 3.6 million square feet of space in New
Jersey, according to GVA Williams. While that activity caused a
temporary rise in leasing in the fall, mainly along the Hudson River
waterfront, it was far less than some had expected.  The World Trade
Center is owned and operated by the Port Authority of New York and
New Jersey, a self-supporting agency of the two states. It was developed
and constructed by the Port Authority at the request of the two states to
serve as headquarters for international trade within the bi-state port.
The World Trade Center opened for its first tenants in December 1970.  
The World Trade Center consisted of two 110-story office towers (One
and Two World Trade Center), a 47-story office building (Seven World
Trade Center), two 9-story office buildings (Four and Five World Trade
Center), an 8-story U.S. Custom House (Six World Trade Center), and a
22-story hotel (Three World Trade Center), all constructed around a
central five-acre landscaped Plaza. All seven buildings have entrances
onto the Plaza as well as onto surrounding city streets. The Mall at the
World Trade Center, located immediately below the Plaza was the
largest enclosed shopping mall in lower Manhattan, as well as the main
interior pedestrian circulation level for the complex.  The two office
towers, each rising 1,350 feet, were the tallest buildings in New York City
and the 5th and 6th tallest in the world.  The Center contained
approximately 12 million square feet of office space, including the two
million square feet of office space in Seven World Trade Center. In the
two Tower buildings, each floor was approximately one acre in size.  
Each Tower contained 4.8 million gross square feet of floor area.  The
Center was located on a 16-acre site in lower Manhattan, stretching
from Church Street on the east to West Street on the west, and from
Liberty Street on the south to Barclay and Vesey streets on the north.  
Average daily population: Some 50,000 people worked in the World
Trade Center. Another 70,000 business and leisure visitors came to the
center daily.  Construction and other facts:  More than 200,000 tons of
steel was used in the Trade Center's construction. Construction of the
Trade Center used 425,000 cubic yards of concrete.  There were
43,600 windows in the two Tower buildings -- over 600,000 square feet
of glass.  There were 99 elevators, including 23 express elevators in
each Tower building.  There were five levels below ground including
parking for almost 2000 cars.  Stations of the three major New York City
subway systems -- IRT, BMT and IND. -- were located in the Mall below
the towers.  There were "sky lobbies" at the 44 and 78 floors in each
Tower. In effect each Tower thus became three buildings, one on top of
another. No regular passenger elevator ran all the way to the top. The
Port Authority investment in the trade center as of January 1, 1992, was
approximately $1. 29 billion.  The total weight of the structure was
roughly 500,000 t, but wind load, rather than the gravity load, dominated
the design. The building is a huge sail that must resist a 225 km/h
hurricane. It was designed to resist a wind load of 2 kPa—a total of
lateral load of 5,000 t.  87,000 tons of steelwork was used in each
tower.  The twin towers' HVAC system circulates and filters 9 million cu ft
of air per minute to more than 9 million sq ft of office space.  A 2.5-acre
refrigeration plant located at the fourth basement level provides the Air
conditioning.  Instead of cooling towers, intake and outflow pipes run to
the river, only 150 ft away.  If all the glass used in the construction of
both towers were melted into a ribbon of glass, 20 inches wide, it would
have run 65 miles long.
World Trade Center Regeneration
TEXT: S. Schmaling
Memorial Design