R.Dot Rejects the Eight Finalist WTC Memorial Designs

Saying there is no memory, no tears, and no history to be discerned by the eight memorial designs presented recently by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), Rebuild Downtown Our Town (R.Dot), at its monthly meeting December 2, rejected all eight Memorial designs. The group recognized the ingenuity of the design teams’ work, but said all the designs lack the ability to represent an important historic moment and to touch the heart. The group recommended that many more of the competition’s design submittals be presented to the public.

The group also recommended to the LMDC that the final selection of the memorial design be postponed until more designs could be reviewed and a public consensus could grow in support of a single design. “We need another Listening to the City event,” said Roland Gebhardt, R.Dot Steering Committee member.

“The present designs are not relevant, not New York City, and they do not mark the event or its history,” said Susan Szenasy, co-chair of R.Dot and editor in chief of Metropolis Magazine.

John Lynch, spokesman for the Coalition for 9/11 Families, addressed the R.Dot meeting. In response to questioning, he said that his group would not oppose a design of a great public space or a roof over the Twin Tower footprints as long as the footprints went 70 feet below the surface (the historic bedrock on which the towers were built) and the historical artifacts that mark the site were preserved. He also added that an underground Memorial Museum, or one within the 4.7 acres dedicated as the Memorial area, would be appropriate.

This statement led Beverly Willis, co-chair of R.Dot and president of the Architecture Research Institute, to observe that this approach could lead to a two-level design that simultaneously could be joyous, contemplative, and honor the lives lost there.

The group concluded that whatever the memorial, it must reinforce the Daniel Libeskind plan for the site.

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