Launch Slideshow

National September 11 Memorial

National September 11 Memorial

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    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

    An aerial view of the World Trade Center site.

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    Fisher Marantz Stone

    The lighting master plan as drawn by Fisher Marantz Stone.

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    Fisher Marantz Stone

    Initially, city officials wanted the plaza to meet a minimum of 5 footcandles per square foot. However, after extensive study and site visits to other parks throughout the city, the lighting design team was able to show, based on their collected data, that this amount was excessive and that 0.5 footcandles would provide enough illumination.

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    Fisher Marantz Stone

    The landscape design includes more than 400 white oak trees across the site. Square light columns, each standing just over 16 feet tall, incorporate security cameras and radio antennas along with the lighting element at the top: prismatic refractors with four 4-foot-long T8 lamps.

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    Fisher Marantz Stone

    The two 200-foot-square reflecting pools mark the original footprints of the towers. Each pool features a 30-foot cascading waterfall on every side, illuminated by a custom-designed submersible fixture. A bronze parapet wall inscribed with the names of the victims rings the reflecting pools.

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    Fisher Marantz Stone

    Narrow-profile 3500K LED luminaires backlight the names of the victims.

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    Fisher Marantz Stone

    For the parapet lighting, several full-scale working mock-ups helped to determine the positioning between the lamp and the reflector for optimum angle and performance within the specific shape of the parapet enclosure.

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    Caridad Sola Studio

    One of the project’s technical achievements is the lighting of the waterfalls. The relevant National Electric Code dictated that a submersible fixture run on 25V or less. In 2005, when the project began, the only option for a luminaire of this kind was with low-voltage incandescent or halogen sources. From a long-term maintenance perspective this was not an option.

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    Caridad Sola Studio

    Instead, the designers, Fisher Marantz Stone, worked closely with Winona Lighting to develop a submersible fixture using LEDs (still an immature technology at the time) that would meet the project’s technical requirements. The result was a 24V-fixture with an internal water-cooling technology. 1,500 linear feet of fixtures are mounted beneath the waterfall at the base of each pool.

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    Caridad Sola Studio

    A view of the north tower reflecting pool with the National September 11 Museum in the background.

 

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.