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8 Finalists Chosen for Design of World Trade Center Memorial

Eight final designs for a memorial to honor the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were announced today in New York City. The designs incorporate light, gardens, water and inscribed names to honor the more than three thousand victims of the attacks.

The eight finalists had many competitors. More that 5,200 designs were submitted by people from 49 U.S. states and 62 countries.

In accordance with the competition guidelines, all eight designs recognize the so-called "footprints" where the World Trade Center towers once stood. They honor the people killed on September 11 and in an earlier attack on the Twin Towers in 1993. And the memorial designs create a final resting place for unidentified remains.

John Whitehead, the chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is overseeing the rebuilding process, said the finalists all use organic elements that reflect a profound sense of humanity. "Their vocabularies are elemental. Their designs draw upon the elements of light, water, earth and life itself. With these simple, yet profound elements, these eight teams have each crafted a unique place for us to contemplate, reflect, and seek our own peace with the tragic events of September 11," he said.

The final designs are on display near the World Trade Center site. A video at the public exhibition features the eight teams, whose members are from the United States, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Taiwan and Venezuela.

In the video, Norman Lee, a Texas-based museum exhibition developer describes his team's idea, which includes a staircase that descends to a dark underground sanctuary, where suspended votive lights represent each victim.

In another design, lights illuminate the names of the victims from a vaulted structure that resembles a cathedral. Some of the designs include reflecting pools, trees planted with the soil from the 92 nations where the victims came from, and glass panels that show pictures of the faces of people killed in the attacks.

Some of the designs list the names of victims alphabetically while others list them according to where they died.

The jury, which is made up of academics, public servants, architects and memorial designers, is expected to choose a design for the World Trade Center memorial by the end of the year.