The National September 11 Memorial Museum and Pavilion will be dedicated tomorrow in a ceremony that will include President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The 110,000-square-foot museum, which opens to the public on May 21, will hold a week-long dedication period for survivors of 9/11 as well as first responders, rescue workers, families of victims, and residents of lower Manhattan, starting May 15.
A steel and glass ground-level pavilion, designed by Snøhetta, marks the entry point for visitors as they start their descent into the Davis Brody Bond-designed museum below. Remnants of the World Trade Center’s twin towers are visible throughout both the pavilion and museum, including a pair of their signature trident columns that stand in the pavilion’s glazed atrium. “Our desire is to allow visitors to find a place that is a naturally occurring threshold between the everyday life of the city and the uniquely spiritual quality of the Memorial,” Snøhetta founding partner Craig Dykers, AIA, said in a release. The pavilion, which is sited between the two memorial pools designed by Michael Arad, AIA, and landscape architect Peter Walker, also houses a 165-seat auditorium as well as a private memorial viewing room for families of 9/11 victims.
The museum, 70 feet below grade, houses more than 10,000 artifacts ranging in scale from wristwatches to fire trucks. Visitors descend a series of stairs and ramps —dubbed a “ribbon” by the team from Davis Brody Bond—to reach the museum’s main exhibition halls, which are located at bedrock level and occupy the former footprints of the twin towers, directly beneath the two reflecting pools. The exhibition culminates in the Foundation Hall, which displays the slurry wall of the towers’ original foundation, which was erected to hold back the Hudson River, and a 36-foot steel beam known as the Last Column. “You come from the city ... you cross the perimeter into the Memorial,” Davis Brody Bond partner Steven M. Davis, FAIA, explains in a video produced about the museum. “You’ll peer over and you’ll suddenly be confronted with the enormity of the spaces that you’re about to experience.” • Opens to the public May 21. 911memorial.org