• Reflecting Absense, September 11 Memorial at Night
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  • Reflecting Absence, September 11 Memorial, close up on names
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The National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center, “Reflecting Absence”

New York, New York

Client: The National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Architect: Michael Arad
Landscape Architect: Peter Walker & Partners
Completion: 2011

In downtown Manhattan, the long-awaited National 9/11 Memorial opened on the 10th anniversary of the infamous tragedy, surrounded by the chaos of daily construction. In remembrance of the victims and for the unity of a nation, two reflecting pools – “Reflecting Absence” – reside as remnant voids of the fallen towers, relatively discrete within the partially completed plaza.

The plaza is designed to light people and provide easy wayfinding to the exits. After extensive studies and select site visits around Manhattan, we were able to dissuade city officials that the initial 5 footcandle requirement for the plaza was excessive. When finished, the horizontal and vertical illuminance for the plaza will be .5 footcandles.
Driven by NYC code and the technical exigencies of the fountains, we collaborated closely with the manufacturer to design a submersible, low voltage LED luminaire. Lining the base of each pool, the custom fixtures illuminate the falling water creating a powerful reflection that oscillates between celebration and sorrow.

  • 2012 IALD Award of Excellence
  • 2012 IESNY Lumen Award of Excellence
  • 2012 IES Illumination Award of Merit