Through the Memorial Cloud we wish to create upon a site scarred by a terrifying loss, sorrow, and grief, a work of shared and individual mourning, as well as a gesture affirming our hopes, common dreams, and ability to rebuild.
Our intention is first to recognize and honor the victims of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 within a special, shrouded, spiritual space, protected from the noise and pace of the city by a crystalline "cloud." The cloud's top surface is a translucent bandage healing a wound. Level with "Ground Zero" (street level) and permitting traversal, it reconnects the urban fabric of downtown. On the ground beneath the cloud each of the 2,982 victims is represented by a radiating circle of light embedded into the floor, which illuminates the engraved name of the individual victim but also projects a subtle ray of light upward into the cloud. During the day, the cloud, like an undulating veil, a sinuous surface forming cathedral-like vaults, channels daylight downward onto the field of names.
Together, the names form a design that we term the "Pompeii Scheme," because it represents individuals equally in the course of their lives, cut short by the attacks. A name appears near those of the people with whom he or she died. For example, the approximately 1400 individuals who perished in Tower One define the largest field of lights. This field is continuous with the group of approximately 600 who died in the second tower. The design's appearance reflects the cloud's topology of cupolas. A "Line of Rescuers" runs through both groups, where Firefighters, Police, and ordained and medical people can be represented.
Our design is guided by our respect for the sacred ground. Accordingly, we limit the cloud to touching the ground for support on only five points; we judiciously open the earth beneath the World Trade Center Tower footprints only to provide visitors access to the symbolic "bedrock" level, creating thereby a processional passage of light and subterranean darkness. The procession that carries visitors beside the repository for the "unidentified remains" connects both footprints with the channel along the exposed slurry wall.
Through the Memorial Cloud we hope to elicit two more responses, one highly physical, the other imaginative, both of awe. One recovers a sensation associated with the World Trade Center Towers when we recall standing in their presence: the urge to look skywards, a vertical gesture associated with hope. With the second gesture we seek to give expression to a relation between those we mourn and those who live on affected by the tragedy and repercussions of the attacks. This is a relation between the finite and the sublime. The cloud's design as a bundle of 10,000 vertical conduits for light which support each other structurally, distributing forces of tension and compression, figuratively represents our shared responsiveness to crisis and our cumulative strength.
"In April 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation launched what became the largest design competition in history. Across six continents, from 63 nations and 49 states, 5,201 individuals answered the call to honor all who were killed in terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993." (lmdc)
BBC / Baurmann Brooks Coersmeier was chosen as one of 8 finalists in the first stage of the competition. The work of the second stage was produced during six weeks, between September 28 and November 19th 2003, when the finalists' projects were publicly displayed. Several presentations to the 13 member jury followed between end of November 2003 and beginning of January 2004. After convening for a last presentation of 3 final projects, the jury placed "Passages of Light : The Memorial Cloud" second on January 5th 2004.
boards phase II
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
special thanks to:
Gisela Baurmann, Sawad Brooks, Jonas Coersmeier