The 16-acre site in lower Manhattan known as ground zero is arguably the most emotionally charged site of our time. It is the location of the Sept. 11, 2001, and Feb. 26, 1993, terrorist attacks, where 2,984 people lost their lives. Creating a commemoration that recognizes all the victims at the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pa., where flight 93 crashed, has been an important part of the rebuilding efforts.

The lighting design employs just three fixtures—light columns on the plaza, a submersible LED luminaire at the waterfalls, and an LED striplight to backlight the names on the parapets—and each of them responds to challenging design, maintenance, and public-safety criteria, while breaking new ground technologically.

One of these technical achievements occurs at the central feature of the memorial’s design, the two reflecting pools, each measuring 200 by 200 feet. The technical challenge here was how to create something that would be bright enough and withstand the constant volume of water from the 30-foot cascading waterfall. The code dictated that a submersible fixture run on 25V or less, but no such luminaire existed. FMS worked with Winona Lighting who developed a water-cooled fixture to meet all the conditions.

Lighting plays a key role in realizing the memorial’s design and in creating a place for healing and renewal. And during that process, design pushed technology to new bounds.

Jury Comments: The project shows the perfect amount of restraint and makes a very complex set of project criteria and conditions appear straightforward. • The development of the specialty luminaire at the waterfalls is impressive.


Client: National September 11 Memorial and Museum
Architect: Michael Arad, New York
Landscape Architect: PWP Landscape Architecture, Berkeley, Calif.
Lighting Designer: Fisher Marantz Stone, New York
Photographers: Caridad Sola Studio (bottom left); the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (far right); Fisher Marantz Stone (top left)
Project Size: 16 acres (entire site)
Project Cost: $110 million
Watts per Square Foot: 0.5
Manufacturers: Selux, Winona Lighting (Acuity Brands)