L.M.D.C. begins search for W.T.C. memorial ideas
By Josh Rogers
Photo by Ramin Talaie
Kevin Rampe, interim president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.
Any adult with $25 and an idea of how to remember the victims of the 2001 and 1993 terror attacks on America now has the chance to design the permanent memorial for the World Trade Center site.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. received thousands of unsolicited designs for the memorial in the nearly 18 months since its creation, so officials did not venture a guess as to how many anonymous submissions the L.M.D.C. and the 12 jurors will receive now that they are requesting ideas. The competition details were announced April 28.
Information on the competition in English, Spanish or Chinese can be downloaded at www.WTCSiteMemorial.org or by faxing a written request to 1-800-717-5699. People who call a toll-free number, 1-800-696-0081 696, can hear general information about the memorial.
Applicants have until May 18 to submit questions to the L.M.D.C. and answers to many of the questions will be posted on the Web site May 23. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and May 29 will be the last day to register. Applicants can make their submissions, which will have identification numbers but no names, between June 9 and June 30. The guidelines call for them to be submitted on one 30 inch x 40 inch board with a picture or pictures and text, but several speakers at the Monday announcement mentioned the value in being flexible and breaking the rules.
Kevin Rampe, interim L.M.D.C. president, said someone who alters the size of the submission will not be disqualified automatically.
We are going to be as flexible as possible, [but] I mean, I dont want to encourage people not to follow the rules, said Rampe.
The jury will review the submissions in July and plan to narrow the field down to no more than five sometime in September, near the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attack. The names and designs of the finalists will be released in September, said Rampe. There will be a public comment period and the jury, which includes prominent members of the art, architecture and academic fields, expects to make a final decision in October. Construction will begin as soon as possible after that.
Architect Maya Lin, who designed the widely praised Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. and is on the jury, offered this advice to applicants: You enter a competition not necessarily to win, but to say what you truly believe needs to be done here.
The guidelines call for the names of the 2,792 known victims of the Sept. 11 attack and the six victims of the Feb. 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing to be displayed without any special highlight given to workers who rushed to the scene to save others.
Lin said she was looking to find a unique way to display the names. Im hoping we get a new way of defining a memorial, she said.
Paula Grant Berry, the only juror who lost a family member in the attack, her husband David Berry, said she and the other relatives are bound together by our experience and by our pride
. Each was innocent, each was lost
The memorial will be built for all of New York, really for all of the world, but especially for the families.
There will be a public hearing on the memorial guidelines May 28 at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Members of the jury are expected to attend.
The guidelines explain the memorial area and access points architect Daniel Libeskind set aside in his W.T.C. design. The memorial will be 30 feet below ground, leave the bathtub slurry wall visible, include the area of the original Twin Tower footprints and will be 4.7 acres. Some residents and businesses have said the plan needs to be adjusted because it requires street-level pedestrians to walk several minutes out of their way to traverse the site. After at first resisting the idea, Libeskind said a few weeks ago he would not object if the memorial designer proposed pedestrian walkways over the site.
The 33-page booklet outlining the guidelines does not mention any of the access-questions some people have raised.
David Stanke, who owns a condo across the street from the site, said he was angry to hear that would-be designers are not being directed to think about those issues. An artist can choose to change the access if they want, but no artist is going to choose to do that
. Its not the same as giving a strong message that this is what youve got to do.
Rampe said the jury would consider all factors including access. We are in the third largest central business district
. Thats going to be part of the consideration the jury will have when they make their decision one of many considerations, said Rampe.
Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff said several weeks ago that the proposed ramp entranceway to the memorial at Liberty and West Sts. was inadequate and needed it to be altered. It wont be a long ramp, it will be something different than that, Doctoroff told reporters after a meeting with Community Board 1. Good ideas will always get looked at.
One juror, Lowery Stokes Sims, executive director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, said as she goes though the process she will keep in mind her friend, Michael Richards, an artist who worked in the trade center in a Lower Manhattan Cultural Center program and was killed Sept. 11. At airports, she would often run into Richards, who was working on a project involving the Tuskegee Airmen, and she always found it odd that he was killed by an airplane. There was a kind of poetic irony in the way he died, she said.