Contract - September 2011 - (Page 80)

perspectives Steven M. Davis, FAIA, Partner Aedas New York Steven Davis, a partner at Aedas (formerly Davis Brody Bond Aedas), is the designer of the National September 11 Memorial Museum (see coverage on page 32) at the World Trade Center in New York, and directs the firm’s role as the associate architect of the Memorial site. Contract Editor in Chief John Czarnecki toured the construction site in August, and asked Davis about the design of the museum, which is scheduled to open September 11, 2012. Describe the challenges of this project. We understood the boundaries of our space very early on. Our roof is the National September 11 Memorial Plaza. The project includes ventilation for the PATH station and tracks, as well as a chiller plant to provide cooling for the entire World Trade Center site redevelopment. During the 9/11 recovery, there was a lot of water entering the site, so a sophisticated system to remediate that water was developed. Explain the key drivers of the design concept. Four principles inform the design concept: Memory (cultural memory in particular), Authenticity, Scale, and Emotion. We are continuously mindful of these principles and they are the armature around which we designed this museum. The cultural memory is so powerful at the site that we let the site tell its own story. This is a memorial to the people who died because of where they were at a particular time and place, and the site will always be associated with September 11. What museums or other spaces did you look to as precedents or inspiration for this design? We looked to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, located thousands of miles away from Vietnam, the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. These precedents are both intentionally removed from the location of the atrocities with which they are associated. The fact that this project is located at the authentic site of the event makes it quite different from many other memorials. A portion of the World Trade Center’s original slurry wall (right side of rendering) will comprise the western wall of the museum. The suspended metallic surface (left side of the rendering) represents the footprint of the North Tower. The Last Column, which was the final piece of steel structure removed from Ground Zero and was covered with messages from workers at the site, will be exhibited in the center of this space. Years from now, when generations who had not personally experienced 9/11 visit, what impact will this museum to have on them? Describe Aedas’s role at the World Trade Center site. Aedas has two commissions at the site. Aedas is the associate architect for the Memorial, so we’re responsible for developing and executing the design of Peter Walker and Michael Arad. Aedas is also the lead design architect of the Memorial Museum. The memorial will memorialize, and the museum will provide information and interpretation about the events of that awful day. The story of 9/11 will be presented in a museum which can add authenticity to its telling and provide an accurate and truthful representation of the scale and impact of this attack. How complicated is the museum design? This is among the most complicated projects our firm has undertaken, and we’ve had numerous complicated projects. We’ve had to consider the logistics of building this museum beneath the ongoing construction of the National September 11 Memorial; we have no exterior facade. This project is in many ways the inverse of a typical museum—normally a museum is an iconic building that houses exhibits. Here the icon is the exhibit. How important is this project for you personally? This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience as an architect and as a citizen. I’m a native New Yorker and I have memories of the construction of the World Trade Center in the 1960s and early 1970s. On 9/11, I was at home in my Tribeca apartment. I had many friends and colleagues who were at the World Trade Center that morning, some of whom did not survive. For me, this is personal. 80 contract september 2011 Photo courtesy of Aedas; rendering courtesy of National September 11 Memorial Museum

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - September 2011

Contract - September 2011
Industry News
Product Briefs: Sustainable
Product Focus: Here Comes the Sun
Product Focus: Cream of the Crop
Memory Museum
Triple Threat
Mission Sustainable
Model of Sustainability
Desert Oasis
LEED by Example
Cooking Light
Trends: The Resilient Workplace
Ideas: Chair History
Designers Select: Boardroom Furnishings
Ad Index
Perspectives: Steven M. Davis, Faia, Aedas

Contract - September 2011