Handel beat out more than 5,200 entrants who competed to design the 8-acre plaza in Lower Manhattan, where the World Trade Center towers once stood. Today, a permeable canopy of nearly 400 swamp white oak trees defines the memorial space. Two reflecting pools recessed 30 feet into the ground and lined by waterfalls mark the acre-sized voids left by the towers. The memorial offers a place of quiet contemplation while celebrating the power of public space.

Jury: “It lives up to its role as a significant and appropriate memorial, but also acts as a functioning part of a more livable and beautiful city by providing remarkable views from above, casual seating for daily use, as well as the emotional experience of the memorial.”

Client: “Since we opened in 2011, there have been more than 7 million people who have visited this site. It has not only given people the opportunity to pay their respects, but it has also turned a place that was destitute after the attacks into a beautiful place that shows our rebirth and our resiliency.” —Michael Frazier, vice president of communications, National September 11 Memorial

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