In August 2006, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began heavy construction on the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The Memorial will be located at the World Trade Center site, on the former location of the two destroyed towers. The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation was renamed the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center in 2007. The winner of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition was Israeli architect Michael Arad of Handel Architects, a New York and San Francisco-based firm. Arad worked with landscape architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners on the design which calls for a forest of trees with two square pools in the center, where the Twin Towers stood.

The design is consistent with the original Daniel Libeskind master plan that called for the memorial to be 30 feet below street level (originally 70 feet) in a piazza. The design was the only finalist to throw out Libeskind's requirement that buildings overhang the footprints.

A memorial was planned in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and destruction of the World Trade Center to remember both the victims and those involved in rescue. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center is a non-profit corporation with the mission to raise funds for, program, own and operate the Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site.

The World Trade Center Memorial

Winning design Edit

Michael Arad design board submitted in the World Trade Center Memorial Design competitionThe memorial consists of a park at street level with two recessed square pools located 30 feet (9m) below street level, fed by waterfalls along the walls. At the center of the pools are recessed squares into which the water flows. The waterfalls will be the largest manmade waterfalls in the country.

The names of the victims will be inscribed on parapets surrounding the pools at street level. The design will place the names of the victims who were in Tower 1 and the victims on Flight 11, which hit Tower 1 around the North Pool. The names surrounding the South Pool will include: those killed in Tower 2, the victims who were in the immediate vicinity of the Towers, the victims on Flight 175, which hit Tower 2, the first responders, the passengers on Flight 93, which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the passengers on Flight 77, which hit the Pentagon; those killed at Pentagon, and the victims of the February 26, 1993 WTC bombing. Company employees and their visitors will be listed together, but without the names of their companies. Passengers of the four flights will be listed together under their flight numbers. First responders will be listed together with their units.

National September 11 Memorial Museum Edit

The National September 11 Memorial Museum will be located 70 feet below ground. An admission fee is under consideration. The museum will feature interactive exhibits that are designed to teach visitors about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 through firsthand accounts and artifacts. The largest asset of the museum will be the exposed slurry wall, which held back the Hudson River and remained standing after the attacks.

Design competition Edit

In 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation launched an international competition to design a memorial at the World Trade Center site to commemorate the lives lost in the September 11 attacks.

5,201 individuals and teams from around the world contributed design proposals.

On November 19, 2003, the thirteen-member jury – which included Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and deputy mayor Patricia Harris – selected eight finalists. "Reflecting Absence" was chosen as the winning design on January 6, 2004. On January 14, 2004, the final design for the World Trade Center site memorial was revealed in a press conference at Federal Hall in New York.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum Edit

Formerly the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, Inc., the National September 11 Memorial & Museum was formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation to raise funds and manage the planning and construction of the memorial. Its board of directors had its inaugural meeting on January 4, 2005. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum reached its first phase capital fundraising goal of US$350 million in April 2008. This money, along with additional amounts raised, will be used to build the Memorial & Museum and to create an endowment for the museum.

Construction commences Edit

Construction of the memorial (March 2009)On March 13, 2006, construction workers arrived at the WTC site to commence work on the Reflecting Absence design. On that same day, relatives of the victims and other concerned citizens gathered to protest the new memorial, stating that the memorial should be built above ground. The president of the memorial foundation, however, has stated that family members were consulted and formed a consensus in favor of the current design, and that work will continue as planned.

"Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the costs of building the Sept. 11 memorial are skyrocketing and must be capped at $500 million. 'There's just not an unlimited amount of money that we can spend on a memorial,' Bloomberg said. Any figure higher than $500 million to build the memorial to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks would be "inappropriate", even if the design has to be changed, he said.' "

At $1 billion, it would approach the cost of the World Trade Center for which construction was completed in 1970 in nominal dollar terms. In 2006, at the request of Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, builder Frank Sciame performed a month-long analysis, which considered input from victims' families, the Lower Manhattan business and residential communities, members of the memorial jury, architects and others. The analysis recommended design changes that kept the memorial and museum within the $500 million budget.

In July 2008, the Survivors' Staircase was lowered to bedrock, marking the first artifact to be moved into the museum. By the end of August 2008, construction on the footings and foundations had been completed. On September 2, 2008, construction workers erected the 7,700-pound first column for the memorial, near the footprint of the north tower. By then, approximately 70 percent of the construction trade contracts had been bid or were ready to award. All told, 9,100 tons of steel will be installed at the site for the memorial.

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