NEW YORK – More than a decade after the tragic terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center, the physical reconstruction of the site – troubled not only by its history, but also subsequent political and architectural squabbles – is nearing completion. The most recent addition is the National 9/11 Memorial Museum by Davis Brody Bond, whose entrance pavilion was designed by Snøhetta.
Standing on the large tree-filled plaza, carefully inserted between the two sunken memorial fountains, the entrance pavilion is the only part of the new museum that is visible from the ground level. The museum is relegated underground in accordance with Daniel Libeskind’s masterplan, which envisions the former site of the ill-fated towers as a void in the urban landscape, accentuating their presence in our collective memory.
The pavilion itself is a modest, angular object, which accentuates its horizontality by alternating reflective and matt stripes on its metal cladding and bears a passing resemblance to a toppled tower. Large incisions bring light into the interior, which for the most part consists of an atrium that leads to the underground exhibition space, and accommodates a host of museum entrance functions. Within this atrium, the architects have transported two of the damaged, decaying columns that comprised the twin towers’ plinth – a stark reminder of the building’s raison d’être.
The pavilion’s architecture – remarkable yet humble, contemplative yet hopeful, inviting yet serious – is an appropriate addition to the memorial park and a fitting tribute to the victims of 9/11.