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9/11 Tribute Visitor Center

Project Type

Cultural & Civic

Occupancy

2006

Location

120 Liberty St, Ground Zero

Client

September 11th Families’ Association
"It’s about the vibrancy of a community, not death and tragedy."
Lynn Tierney, former President of the September 11th Families' Association

A former deli space and canteen for rescue workers was transformed into the first Ground Zero visitor’s museum, the 9/11 Tribute Center. Located directly opposite the former World Trade Center site on Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan, the Center provides a connection point for visitors, families and community to reflect on the events of September 11th through the integration of images, artifacts, and personal narratives.

The architecture firm worked closely with the September 11th Families’ Association and graphic designers to bring the Center’s mission of “person-to-person history” to life. Thoughtful space planning and interactive elements shape the visitor experience.

A series of five open galleries were designed to reflect the sequence of events. Spare design and materials—a concrete floor and soft grey walls—set the contemplative tone and highlight the images and words that tell the story. The exhibit route is punctuated with a series of freestanding panels whose 22-inch width recalls the Tower’s vertical windows. A long blue wall with missing person flyers recalls the vivid blue sky of September 11th. The final gallery space on the main floor commemorates the victims with images and personal mementos. The lower level is a space to facilitate volunteer activism and accommodate the Center’s programs.

The design of the 9/ 11 Tribute Center went beyond a conventional architectural response to program. The creation process was used to shape and define the mission of the Association and goals of the space, and to create a Center at Ground Zero that celebrates the vibrancy and resiliency of the community, rather than memorializing what was lost.

AWARDS
Applied Arts Design Award, 2007

PUBLICATIONS
Joan Krevlin, “Connection Point: Defining Purpose Through the Architectural Process,” Oculus: Nov. 17, 2006 (PDF)
“Tribute WTC Visitor Center,” The Architect’s Newspaper: Nov. 17, 2006
“Families created Tribute Center out of love,” USA Today: Sept 11, 2006
“Tribute Center, an ‘interim destination’ Sept. 11 memorial, is readied for opening,” New York Times: Sept. 9, 2006
“Sept. 11 Tribute Center opens,” Christian Post: Sept. 7, 2006
“Just the facts about September 11: A visitor center is under way,” New York Times: June 12, 2005

COLLABORATORS
Poulin & Morris – graphic design; Cauldwell Wingate – construction management; Weidlinger Associates – structural; Ambrosino, DePinto & Schmieder – MEP; Kugler Associates – lighting design; Daniel Schnur – special exhibit consultant; MSL Productions – exhibit fabricator; Monadnock Media – a/v

Photos by Jonathan Wallen