Contract - January/February 2015 - 104

interiors awards

public/civic

National September 11 Memorial Museum

Client
National September 11
Memorial & Museum

Location
New york

Davis Brody Bond

I
This is interior
architecture at
its most powerful;
the sequencing and
movement through
space is superb. It
strikes just the right
balance of somber
respect for the
subject matter while
establishing its own
sense of place. With a
highly sophisticated
use of materials
and finishes, and
masterful detailing
that will endure,
this is a colossal
testament of
the emotional
power of design
and space.
jury

By Cody Calamaio
Photography by
James Ewing
104

n its design of the National September 11 Memorial
Museum in New York, Davis Brody Bond sought to
retain the authenticity of the World Trade Center site
and manage the powerful scale of the vast underground
void-no easy task, to be sure. But the public can now
experience the museum that opened in May 2014 after
a 10-year arduous design and construction process.
"Now that the public has come, the spaces seem
absolutely correct in scale, conveying the enormity of
the event without overpowering the visitor," says Carl
Krebs, AIA, a partner at Davis Brody Bond.
The 9/11 Museum sits beneath the Memorial
Plaza amidst the foundations of the former Twin Towers.
Museumgoers enter through a glass-and-steel entry
pavilion designed by Snøhetta, but the majority of the
vast museum interior is underground and the work of
Davis Brody Bond. A long descent on a nearly 700-foot
entry ramp that switchbacks as it slopes 70 feet down to
bedrock gives visitors time to separate from the outside
world and connect to their own memories of 9/11. The
ramp, known as the Ribbon, is clad in dark wenge wood,
while most of the 110,000-square-foot museum's floors
and walls are predominantly raw and polished concrete.
Because the museum is located on the very site it
is memorializing, the architects had a number of design
constraints to work around, all while under a lens of
intense public scrutiny. "The complexity of the design
process and the corresponding public scrutiny was
something most of us were not prepared for," Krebs
says. "Very few museums occupy the ground of the
events they depict. And we hope the architectural
design works with the site's powerful in-situ artifacts
to connect the story of 9/11 to the visitor in a visceral
and intuitive way-a connection that is different, yet
complementary, to the narrative one encounters in
the exhibition galleries."
The architects designed two aluminum-clad
volumes to align with the footprints of the original
towers and the pools above. Within the Davis Brody
Bond interiors, exhibitions designed by Thinc Design,
Local Projects, and Layman Design pay tribute to the
victims of the 2001 and 1993 terrorist attacks through
artifacts, photos, video, and interactive elements.
contractdesign.com 	

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Contract - January/February 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - January/February 2015

Contents
Editorial
Industry News
Columnist: Moving Practice Beyond Analog
Product Focus: A Family Affair
Product Briefs: Flooring, Seating, Textiles, and Wallcoverings
Designer of the Year
Legend Award
Annual Interiors Awards
Adaptive Reuse
Education
Entertainment
Healthcare
Historic Restoration
Hotel
Office: Large
Office: Small
Public/Civic
Restaurant
Retail
Sports
Student
Designers Select: Lighting
Sources
Ad Index
Installation: A Journey Through Austria Depicted on Screens
Contract - January/February 2015 - Intro
Contract - January/February 2015 - Cover1
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Columnist: Moving Practice Beyond Analog
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Product Focus: A Family Affair
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Product Briefs: Flooring, Seating, Textiles, and Wallcoverings
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Public/Civic
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Restaurant
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Retail
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Sports
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Sources
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