The New York Times

The Designers

From Around the World, Artists and Architects Who Rose to a Challenge

Published: November 20, 2003

Lower Waters

That water is an integral part of Bradley Campbell's design for the memorial does not surprise the people who know him. Mr. Campbell, an abstract painter and sculptor, grew up in Minnesota, and its lake-dappled terrain has long inspired his art.

"When we have done shows of his paintings, a lot of the time, the outdoors was really a heavy influence," said Rebecca Ibel, owner of the Rebecca Ibel Gallery in Ohio, where Mr. Campbell lived for much of the 1990's. "They have been described as emotional landscapes in that they trigger memories of places and times."

Mr. Campbell, 34, now lives in Brooklyn, though Ms. Ibel said he returned regularly to Minnesota for family fishing trips. He planned his entry, "Lower Waters," with another Brooklynite, Matthias Neumann, 34, an architect who is from Germany but seems to have developed a keen interest in the New York City landscape.

Mr. Neumann was part of a design team, called normaldesign, that was recently a finalist in a contest to develop urban place markers — ways of highlighting sometimes obscure New York City locales of significance, from the meatpacking district in Manhattan to the Empire Roller Skating Center in Brooklyn. The contest was sponsored by the Municipal Art Society and City Lore, a nonprofit group that runs cultural programs about the city.

Mr. Neumann's team proposed that at more than 400 sites around the city, sculpturelike vending machines be installed that would dispense postcards with information about the sites and city history. "Even though the design itself was very modern, it worked in an historic landscape as well," said Marci Reaven, managing director of City Lore. "He brings a thoughtfulness and a concern for the human dimension of the problem, not just the design or architectural dimension."



Garden of Lights

A professor and two students — Pierre David, Sean Corriel and Jessica Kmetovic — came together in a program run by Columbia University called The Shape of Two Cities before creating Garden of Lights. The program's vision spans an ocean: undergraduates from various universities study architecture, planning and preservation in New York and Paris.

Garden of Lights includes a garden above an underground room where lights show through to altars below, a light and an altar for each victim.

"There was a last hour, a last minute, a last second that 2,982 stars went dark," their description of the project reads. "The instant there was this last light, there was a first light, 2,982 stars were born . . . Above there is the garden, below there is a new sky and 2,982 stars."

Mr. David has taught at the École Nationale Supérieure du Paysage in Versailles, as well as at Harvard and Columbia.

A student at Cornell, Mr. Corriel, 22, grew up in Huntington, on Long Island, and is studying landscape architecture, a passion of his since high school, said his father, Robert.

Ms. Kmetovic, 26, of Oakland, Calif., is a fifth-year architecture student at the California College of the Arts. She attended the Shape of Two Cities last fall and spring.

Patricia Alarcón, a lecturer in architecture at California College of the Arts, remembered a window Ms. Kmetovic had designed in her housing class.

"She finds the poetry in an idea and just goes with it," she said. "She's very interested in the outdoor shared public spaces, very interested in making community and how you bring a bunch of people from disparate backgrounds together in a place and help them form a community. So here she is making a garden."



The Memorial Cloud

The two German-born architects who designed Passages of Light: The Memorial Cloud have collaborated on a plan to remake at least one other well-known site in New York City: They won an award in 2001 for their proposal for a multilevel makeover of Queens Plaza. Among other things, they envisioned a greensward with beeches and oaks alongside the subway platforms.

Their collaborator on Passages of Light, Sawad Brooks, 39, is an artist and critic with experience in Internet-based art.

The two architects, Gisela Baurmann and Jonas Coersmeier, have had a long personal and professional relationship, said Kevin Kennon, the executive director of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York, who has known them for some time. He said that Ms. Baurmann, who is an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University, is expecting their first child. "They represent a whole new generation's way of thinking about architecture and public space," Mr. Kennon said.

Their plan for Queens Plaza, developed with with Birgit Schoebrodt and Michael Biermer, won second prize and $5,000 in a competition sponsored by the nonprofit Van Alen Institute. Mr. Coersmeier's firm, Probehead, was selected in June to build a new Web site for the Battery Park City Authority, and the Web site that Probehead designed for the institute was honored in the 2003 Architecture Web Site Awards. Besides working as a designer for various architectural firms, Mr. Coersmeier has been a management consultant for McKinsey & Company.

Mr. Brooks, who was born in Bogotà, Colombia, collaborated with Beth Stryker on "DissemiNET," which was shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He and Warren Sack developed "Translation Map," an online exhibit that let viewers write and send e-mail messages to 250 countries. He was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University last year.



Suspending Memory

Like so many people in this city, Joseph Karadin, 33, and Hsin-Yi Wu, 29, came to New York from somewhere else. Ms. Wu was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia. She arrived in the United States in 1992. Mr. Karadin, a native of Ohio, eventually moved east to study architecture at Cornell University, where Ms. Wu was a student.

They both graduated with degrees in architecture in 1997 and moved to New York City, where they live and work.

Jonathan Ochshorn, associate chairman of the Department of Architecture at Cornell, said architectural study could be roughly divided between those institutions that focus on the practical aspects of the subject and those that place a greater emphasis on the conceptual.

"I would say Cornell is on the conceptual side, and that may help explain why some of our students may have placed well in a competition like this that has an emphasis on the conceptual design," Mr. Ochshorn said.

The design submitted by Mr. Karadin and Ms. Wu is called Suspending Memory. In their statement explaining the memorial, they said that it would give the families a chance to tell the stories of the ones they have lost. This would be accomplished by having each victim represented by a single column supporting two island gardens. Below the gardens, the columns are solid stone. As they break through the garden soil they are transformed into illuminated glass beacons. On each column, details of an individual life are etched.

David J. Brown, senior curator at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said the design for the memorial had elements in common with a design that Mr. Karadin recently submitted as a part of the museum's HOME House Project, for which he won a prize. In the home design, there is an emphasis on the individual and not just the things that surround that individual. Likewise, in the memorial design, Mr. Brown said, Mr. Karadin and his partner deal with personal identity within the context of a larger community.



Inversion of Light

Toshio Sasaki, who designed Inversion of Light, is a sculptor who lives and works in Brooklyn. His work has been seen around New York City, from Manhattan to Staten Island to the boardwalk at Coney Island.

Born in Kyoto, Japan, Mr. Sasaki, 56, came to New York after receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Aichi University of Fine Arts. He studied from 1974 to 1976 at the Brooklyn Museum Art School, under a Beckmann Scholarship (named after the artist Max Beckmann). At the Brooklyn Museum, he studied sculpture with Toshio Odate and Barney Hodes.

Mr. Hodes remembers Mr. Sasaki as one of several Japanese artists in his class, "a fast track for people like Sasaki who were already quite proficient." Mr. Sasaki was more of a Surrealist than an abstract sculptor, Mr. Hodes said, someone who already "had a very strong idea of what he wanted to do." The program at the Brooklyn Museum has since ended, Mr. Hodes said, and "Sasaki was one of the happier fallouts — I'm very pleased for him." Mr. Sasaki also took a seminar on art in New York, visiting museums and studios.

Before Mr. Sasaki entered the memorial competition, his most notable contribution to the environment of New York City was "The First Symphony of the Sea," a monumental 322-foot-long wall relief at the Aquarium for Wildlife Conservation, known as the New York Aquarium, at Coney Island. Situated on the boardwalk outside the aquarium, it is constructed from four tons of concrete. Evoking the aquatic wildlife within the building, the relief is embedded with mosaic fish heads and terrazzo starfish. Mr. Sasaki has also exhibited his work at the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island, Central Park (an animal-inspired sculpture called "Moving Earth") — and in Washington, Philadelphia and Japan.

He has also received fellowships from both the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.



Dual Memory

The Chicago team behind Dual Memory are at the beginnings of their careers. The pair, Brian Strawn and Karla Sierralta, received their master's degrees in May from the University of Illinois. The pair come from varied backgrounds, but met at the university. Mr. Strawn is from rural southern Illinois, and Ms. Sierralta is from Venezuela and was studying on a Fulbright scholarship.

Mr. Strawn came late to architecture, after studying zoology as an undergraduate at Southern Illinois University. As a graduate student he took part in a study abroad program in Rome and is now on the staff of Vinci Hamp Architects in Chicago.

Ms. Sierralta studied at the University of Zulia in Venezuela and received a Fulbright scholarship in 2001. She also studied in Rome, and received an honorable mention in a student competition to design a performing arts center in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Ammar Eloueini, an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Illinois who taught both students, said their education stressed the rewards of competitions.

"It integrates in their mind the idea that in architecture you could be in a competition like the World Trade Center memorial, and you can win," Mr. Eloueini said.



Votives in Suspension

Michael Lewis and Norman Lee, finalists from Houston whose design is titled Votives in Suspension, became finalists by way of a failed physics class and a stint with Disney.

Mr. Lewis was the one who failed physics. He was a freshman at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, when his poor showing in physics prompted him to leave the college's pre-engineering program for its theater arts department, where he thrived, said Lesley Preston, associate professor of theater at the college and his adviser for four years.

The physics class was "one of those wake-up calls that maybe engineering wasn't going to be as interesting as he thought," said Professor Preston, who described Mr. Lewis as "an incredible self-starter with a good designer's eye — a very thoughtful, articulate person." Mr. Lewis later passed physics, a requirement, and went on to graduate early in 2000.

It was in that year that Mr. Lee completed his schooling. Mr. Lee, born and raised in Houston, received a master's degree in museum education at the University of Texas in 2000. As an undergraduate, he studied psychology and art history. Mr. Lee, like Mr. Lewis, has a history of work in design. He developed attraction ideas for Disney's California Adventure theme park as an intern in 1997, and he currently works as a senior developer of museum exhibits in Houston.

Votives in Suspension features two memorial sanctuaries, each on one of the World Trade Center towers' footprints. According to the design plans, family members would light the votive candles — one candle per victim — in a ceremony. The candles would be suspended from the ceilings of the sanctuaries.

"We wanted to keep it simple," said Mr. Norman, speaking in a video broadcast on national television on Wednesday. "Seeing objects suspended gives an intrinsic sense of loss and sadness."

The Texas designers entered the competition as their "way of helping," said Scott Philo, a model maker at Coleman and Associates, the Houston company that constructed the designers' models. "I think between the two of them, their collaboration — it's a pretty strong image," Mr. Philo said.



Reflecting Absence

Michael Arad, an architect with the New York City Housing Authority, has created structures slightly less poetic than his memorial entry, Reflecting Absence. But the structures — a police station on the Lower East Side, for example — have been well received.

"It fits us fine," said Police Officer Anthony Flores, who works in the building, Police Service Area No. 4. "It's a very nice building. It's pretty, we enjoy it and the people in the area seem to like the way it looks."

Mr. Arad grew up in the United States, Mexico and Israel, where he served in the military until 1991. His father was the Israeli ambassador to the United States from 1987 to 1990 and to Mexico from 1983 to 1987.

He studied at Dartmouth College and received a master's degree from Georgia Tech College of Architecture. He worked at the architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates for three years before joining the housing authority, where he has helped with the creation of two police stations.

Bogdan Pestka, the project architect Mr. Arad works with at the city, said Mr. Arad was very talented. "He's very thoughtful, and a very inspiring guy to work with," he said. "He's still very young — there's a long way to go for him — but certainly it looks like it's a good start," he said, referring to the memorial design.

Mr. Arad is now on a yearlong leave after the birth of his son, Nathaniel.


Correction: Nov. 25, 2003, Tuesday

A biographical sketch on Thursday about Michael Arad, a New York City Housing Authority architect whose design is a finalist in the World Trade Center memorial competition, gave an erroneous example of his work. While he helped design two city police stations, Police Service Area 4 on the Lower East Side was not one of them.


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