Landscape architects mange the relationship between the built and natural environment. We often rely on that relationship in times of suffering, distress and need. Fresh air and the rustle of leaves can often best
dispel despair. The memories and perceptions of what happened on September 11, 2001 will fade ever so slightly as each year passes. It’s the job of a landscape architect to keep that memory strong. In every project you’re creating spaces to begin happy memories and often to commemorate the memories of the worst.
As we look to the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and beyond think of your projects and the happiness they have brought. And even more importantly the sad but necessary reflection you inspired. Share the choices that you’ve made
in the design process and make the public more aware of the role in the environment around them. You make the natural environment accessible to so many especially as we look toward that connection with nature to pause and reflect the utter sorrow of that day.
Now read of one of those examples in Baltimore:
Image courtesy of
Few things stir more emotion than the memory of 9-11, so
creating a memorial, here in Maryland, to honor those who lost their lives on
that fateful day is no easy task.
With Ziger / Snead Architects taking the design lead,
Mahan Rykiel Landscape Architects
helped to site the final memorial design which includes a piece of mangled steel from the north tower
of New York’s World Trade Center. This steel beam will lay horizontally across
a marble base inscribed with the names of the Marylanders who lost their lives
during the attacks on September 11, 2001. The piece is laid horizontally in
repose to symbolize peace for the victims of 9-11.
Steve Ziger, Principal in charge of the design for Ziger/Snead
said, “It’s a really powerful piece. You can see the force that transformed the
columns to the twisted artifact we have; it’s that transformation that gives
The composition will function like a sundial with the
Baltimore World Trade Center casting a shadow on the memorial. Every September 11th, the shadow will cross
inscriptions exactly at the time of the events that fateful morning. The
names and birthdates of all the Marylanders who lost their lives will be
inscribed in the marble base but will never be in complete shadow, symbolizing
that even in terrible times, there is a glimmer of hope and light. The victims
range in age from 3 to 71. Limestone pieces from the Pentagon’s west wall will
also be integrated into the design, and though artifacts cannot be obtained
from the Flight 93 site near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, that important site
will be represented in the Memorial with three large pieces of polished black
Richard Jones ,
the lead landscape designer from Mahan Rykiel Associates on the project
explains, “Our goal was that the visitor experience would be a deeply personal
response to the artifact and its presentation. The design was deliberately very
simple and in that simplicity lies its power. It wasn’t about creating an
elaborately embellished space or trying as designers to force a particular
reaction. It was about allowing the visitor to take from the experience their
feelings, emotions, their memories of that day and of those lost.” To echo the simplicity of the landscape are fifteen, 44” tall stainless steel
planters that will be planted with hornbeams to create an aerial hedge
along Pratt Street. The raised hedge
serves as a portal and creates a sense of enclosure which people pass through
to the monument. Visitors to the memorial can come right up to 22 foot, 2 ton
section of twisted steel and touch it if they wish.
The Memorial will be dedicated on September 11, 2011 at 3 PM
by Governor Martin O’Malley. The Memorial is located on the plaza of the World
Trade Center in Baltimore, 401 East Pratt Street. Governor O’Malley initiated the effort to
create this Memorial appointing a delegation of agency and community leaders to
select the artifact and guide the process under the management of the Maryland
State Arts Council.
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