While seven years have passed since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the day long will be remembered. Two memorials, each dedicated in September 2008, have been erected at both the Pentagon and at Logan International Airport in Boston as places for reflection and remembrance for those affected by the events of Sept. 11. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, these structures are the result of design competitions held to determine which submissions would be most fitting at each location.
In 2003, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) selected a 2.5-acre site at Logan for the Airport 9/11 Memorial. A design competition was held to decide the memorial's look, and a committee made up of airline representatives, local design professionals, families of crew members, and Massport officials ultimately chose “The Place of Remembrance,” a design by Boston-based Moskow Linn Architects. The local firm, with offices located just two subway stops away from the memorial site, teamed up with Boston-based lighting design firm Light This, which from the beginning helped the architects with their brainstorming process before they submitted their competition entry.
At the entrance to the memorial is a semi-circular seating area, and at night, 15W steplights located beneath the benches help give a soft glow to the perimeter. From this point of origin, visitors follow one of two walkways that resemble the flight paths of the two aircraft that took off from Logan on Sept. 11, 2001. Because the memorial is open 24 hours a day, metal halide lamps are used to define the path leading to the glass and steel structure at night.
“The path is lit minimally, just enough to meet the lighting requirements,” explains Robert Linn, firm partner and architect at Moskow Linn. “We didn't want the path to be the main thing people noticed at night.” The paths bring visitors to the glass and steel structure, which is illuminated solely by natural light during the day. The inside features two 11-foot-tall, 4-foot-wide glass panels. One side shows the departure time for each plane, while the other side is etched with the passenger names and crew aboard each flight. Linear T5HO fluorescent fixtures recessed into the stone illuminate the text on the glass. Linn points out that an interlayer between the glass panels allows the light to shine through, but prevents visitors from reading the text from the opposite side.
Light This president Daina Yurkus says cost and size are the two main elements that drove the lighting design. Light-emitting diode (LED) technology was used to illuminate the memorial because of its long-life expectancy and because the source could fit into the structure. LEDs, at about 4W per linear foot, are mounted within the memorial's framing and uplight the glass.
Featuring an open-air design, the architects describe the “roof” of the memorial as a fractured sky component, which is made up of 8-inch-by-8-inch glass panels situated at different angles and suspended from stainless steel cables. This element is accented by metal halide 39W PAR20 lamps at night, as the glass reflects and refracts the light.
Similar to how the design for the memorial at Logan Airport was selected, a worldwide competition was held for the creation of a memorial at the Pentagon. Keith Kaseman and Julie Beckman—a husband-and-wife team who run the firm Kaseman Beckman Advanced Strategies in Philadelphia—submitted the winning design, which features 184 cantilevered stainless steel benches, one for each person killed when American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. The benches, which rise from the ground, are arranged in a timeline fashion by victims' ages, from the youngest at 3 years old to the oldest at 71 years old. The memorial units also are positioned to distinguish victims who were on the flight from victims within the Pentagon.
Each bench has a pool of water beneath, running its length, with an induction lamp in a custom compartment underground at the leading edge of the cantilevered unit. At night, the light illuminates both the victim's name on the bench and the water below, creating an impressive and moving experience for visitors. The lamp and its housing had to meet strict requirements, be capable of operating year-round, and offer minimal maintenance. During the day, natural light illuminates the 2-acre space and also interacts with the “reflecting pools” at each memorial unit.
The Pentagon Memorial and the Airport 9/11 Memorial are designed to be places where family members, friends, and visitors can reflect on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Playing an integral role in the creation of these memorials, the lighting designs for each not only enhance the architectural forms, but also provide a soothing atmosphere for contemplation while meeting the practical requirements of the sites.