My Memorial


My memorial

: The eight finalists for the September 11th memorial were announced this morning.

So now I’ll show you mine.

: The idea is quite simple: A memorial in video that tells the stories of the lives of the heroes and innocents of that day; a memorial that focuses on their lives, not their deaths; a memorial that breaks free of stone and steel and allows everyone to participate in the memory.

: On the two footprints of the towers, I envisioned pavilions — a pavillion of memory, where pilgrims could watch the video and remember, and a pavilion of peace, where the remains of the unknown would be interred and where anyone could find silence and refuge.

The plaza would include large video screens showing the stories constantly.

It would also include, importantly, a wall where people coming to the site could leave their own memories and tributes, for millions who have gone to the World Trade Center have felt that need.

Anyone could also record memories and tributes that would be included in the memorial. It is an interactive memorial.

All of this would also be visible on the Internet. The memorial is not limited to this place.

: I’ll give you the entire text below; it tells the story. On the board I presented, I took pictures, like that above, and tried — given my paltry design ability — to present the idea.


on the lives of the heroes and innocents of September 11, 2001

A living and interactive memorial in video

This memorial will use video to tell the stories of every person who died on September 11th. With family photos, home movies, and tributes from loved ones

  • Isn’t there any other site that has these entries up? I’m not sure I want to shell out 79 bucks to Wall Street Journal just so I can view 6 of the 8 proposals. Hopefully CNNn will get these pics up.
    ((will be soon… will have link… jeff))

  • Andrew Johnstone

    Nice job with your proposal, Jeff. I think it was important that the competition was democratic in the sense that it was open to anyone, and I’m glad that all of the proposals will be shared with the public.
    Of the finalists, I think I like ‘Reflecting Absence’ best. It somehow manages to evoke the size, scale and grandeur of the towers and conveys the impression that their absence is like a scar. Plus, it’s different enough from other memorials that it feels unique. Some of the other proposals are good but they feel too similar to Vietnam Veterans Memorial or the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial.

  • Andrew Johnstone

    There’s a slideshow on the New York Times website.

  • Mary-Margaret

    Jeff, I love your proposal, and I’m sorry it was not chosen.

  • I particularly love the idea of showing video to tell the stories of every person who died. Perhaps this can be a whole separate project that will be hosted online.

  • annette

    providing a place for visitors to contribute is powerful. i have been deeply touched by these little altars, baby shoes, feather boas, family pictures, stuffed animals, and letters piled on the fences of the pit. i also admire your stretching the boundaries to make the memorial interactive on the net to include us all. 9/11 is a tragedy without borders, and your human focus enriches the concept of a memorial, adding flesh and blood to stone, glass, and light. there must be a way to do both.

  • (another) Jeff

    Here’s a great link — very complete package of all finalists:

  • There’s a slideshow at Washington Post. I like Dual Memory, and Garden of Lights. Garden of Lights is especially appealing – give you a feeling of being able to touch the memory of a loved one. I think monuments that invite you to touch these are very moving.

  • Great concept. Great medium. Great focus. Perfect title.
    One unique risk/opportunity is the mutability you permit, the fact that your memorial is not “written in stone.”
    How will the sounds/images be displayed in 50 years, when imaging technology has been through 49 iterations? Would it be good or bad for the display format (and therefore content) to remain open to updating as new media (holograms, plasma screens?) become pervasive? Who should control this? What might visitors leave at the Tribute Wall in 200 years? What happens to layers of tributes? (Now?)
    On balance, I think the mutability would immensely frustrate most architects but be worth the effort.