A look at the Slurry Wall inside the National 9/11 Memorial Museum. Here, lead exhibition designer Tom Hennes reflects on it opening to the public. Photo: Jin Lee

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Interior images by Jin Lee

green design, eco design, sustainable design, 9/11, National 9/11 Memorial Museum, September 11 museum opening, Hurricane Sandy, WTC site, Snohetta, Joe Daniels

Three days ago, on the morning of 21st May 2014, the Memorial Museum which commemorates the lives of those who perished in the September 11th, was officially opened for the first time to the general public. Located at the very core of the memorial site & surrounded by towering trade centres, the building’s exterior and structural design are conceived to reflect its context and to draw people to the exhibits. This approach is emphatetic and particularly relevant to the discourse about architectural expressions versus the story of the exhibits. Davis Brody Bond (DBB) and Snohetta who were assigned as architects for the belowground memorial and pavilion respectively, give full reverence to the spirit of place and refused to compete with the key figures and enduring memories.

Thinc Design, who leads the design team for the layout of exhibits went as far as to hire a clinical psychologist, Billie Pivnik, to ensure that the varied emotions of visitors are carefully thought through and facilitated.  “Our work on the museum over the past seven years has similarly threaded among the polarities and contradictions of this all too deeply-felt and widely-experienced event“, they said.  Visitors’ experiences must be bearable and so they were given choices of paths as they journey through the memorial museum. In this place, lives of people were given the highest regard and honour. 

The architecture comes to life when it created a safe refuge for people to be truthful about their feelings and  suppressed emotions.