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Record Number Register to Design Memorial to September 11 Victims - 2003-05-31

A record-breaking number of applicants from around the world have registered to design a memorial to the September 11 terror victims.

By Thursday's application deadline, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation had received more than 13,000 applications to design the memorial. The applications flooded in from 94 nations after a month-long worldwide ad campaign in 22 languages. At a news conference Friday, corporation president Kevin Rampe said the design competition is the largest in history. "Based on the outpouring of support that followed the attacks, we expected the competition to generate a tremendous international response. But in the end, the number of people who answered the call to design a memorial even exceeded our most optimistic projections," he said.

More than 2,000 applications came from outside the United States. Submissions came in from countries on every continent but Antarctica, including Iran, Vietnam, and Nigeria. Mr. Rampe said that's important, because September 11 was a major event worldwide. "From the moment of the attacks, September 11 has never been considered an attack on the United States, but an assault on the universal ideal of freedom shared around the world. Indeed, 91 nations lost citizens in the attacks," he said.

The next step is for applicants to submit their designs by June 30. A 13 member jury including artists, a victim's family member, a neighborhood resident, and others will pick the final design concept.

The memorial will honor the victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, as well as the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The design guidelines lay out some general principles for applicants to follow. For instance, the memorial should incorporate the original footprints of the Twin Towers. It has to fit in with the innovative overall site design by Daniel Libeskind approved earlier this year.

But aside from a few broad instructions, Mr. Rampe tells the designers they are free to use their imagination. "Above all else, be daring. Be bold. Be unconventional. A year ago, we could not have conceived of Daniel Libeskind's design for the World Trade Center site. A year from now, we will speak the same way of the selected design for the World Trade Center memorial," he said.

The jury will pick the final design in October. Despite the large number of applications to sort through, Mr. Rampe says the project will stay on schedule. Not everyone who registered is expected to submit a design. Between one-fifth and one-half of the applicants are expected to send in their ideas. But that means the jury will still have the difficult task of deciding among at least 2,700 designs.