We Have a Winner


In the contest to design the memorial at the site of the World Trade Center:

NEW YORK (AP)—A design consisting of two reflecting pools and a large grove of trees was chosen for the World Trade Center memorial after an eight-month competition that drew more than 5,000 entries from around the world, officials announced.

The "Reflecting Absence" memorial, created by designers Michael Arad and Peter Walker, was chosen by a 13-member jury of artists, architects and civic and cultural leaders. The winning memorial was announced Tuesday by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency overseeing the rebuilding of the site.

The reflecting pools will mark the footprints of the World Trade Center towers. The development group said a revised version of the memorial will be unveiled next week, with significant changes that add trees and greenery around the footprints and expose the slurry wall, the last surviving piece of the trade center.

Apart from the panel that picked it, the design seems to have few supporters, with the AP quoting a number of relatives of victims who express disappointment. Rescue workers are also apparently mad that their dead won't be accounted for in a distinct way.

It's virtually impossible for this sort of memorial to satisfy everyone (maybe even anyone). Yet the design and the rationale for some of its elements–including "teeming groves of trees, traditional affirmations of life and rebirth," according to the jury chairman–seem truly banal and out of place in lower Manhattan.