Today marked the ceremonially opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Set to officially open to the public next Wednesday (May 21), the subterranean museum has already made headlines for its emotional 70 foot decent to the bedrock of the World Trade Center Towers.
Prior to entering the museum’s interior, visitors must first walk past the footprints of the Twin Towers, commemorated by Handel Architects’ cascading granite voids, before entering a Snøhetta-designed stainless steel and glass pavilion that is the museum’s entrance.
As Snøhetta’s founding partner, Craig Dyker describes, the pavilion’s main purpose is to serve as the “threshold between the everyday life of the city and the uniquely spiritual quality of the Memorial.”
More about the pavilion from the architects, after the break...
“Complementing the power and simplicity of the pools and the trees, Snøhetta has designed a visually-accessible, unimposing, building which is fully integrated into the Memorial site. With its low, horizontal form and its uplifting geometry the Pavilion acts as a bridge between two worlds - between the Memorial and the Museum, the above and below ground, the light and dark, between collective and individual experiences.”
“Certain characteristics of the Museum Pavilion seem reminiscent of the original towers, while at other times these notions are only alluded to. The alternating reflective treatment of the façade will mirror the changing seasons, revealing the Pavilion’s differing qualities throughout the year. Inclined, reflective and transparent surfaces encourage people to walk up close, touch and gaze into the building. Once inside, visitors look out through the Pavilion’s atrium to see others peer in, and begin a physical and mental transition in the journey from above to below ground.”
“Within the atrium stand two structural columns rescued from the original towers. Although removed from their former location and function, they mark the site with their own profound and aesthetic gesture.”
“The Pavilion’s light and airy materials allow daylight into the Museum below grade, commemorating the Pavilion’s tenuous relationship with the ground, equal parts weightless and hopeful.”
Exhibition space and a private “family room” for the victims of 9/11 are provided within the pavilion, along with ticketing information, an atrium, auditorium and other amenities. From here, visitors are welcomed to embark on their decent down a gentle procession towards the culmination of the Davis Brody Bond-designed memorial museum: the bedrock and two exhibitions in which honor the nearly 3,000 lives lost and the day of terror itself.
Stay tuned for more images and information from within the sunken museum's interior.