911 Memorial Museum Pavilion / SNØHETTA

between the everyday life of the city and the uniquely spiritual quality of the Memorial

Project Specs

Design Firm:

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911纪念博物馆位于National 9/11 Memorial 世贸双塔纪念广场。作为纪念广场上唯一的建筑,它谦虚的立于地面之上,不影响广场的氛围,同时又以活力的有机形体向游客展示和开放。该文化机构旨在为游人提供舒适的环境,找到城市日常生活与纪念性之间的和谐平衡,自然的将游人带入精神纪念的范畴。

SNØHETTA’s design for the National September 11 Memorial
Museum Pavilion opens to the public

On May 15, 2014, President  Obama will be present  for the dedication  of the National  September 11 Memorial  Museum & Pavilion at the World Trade Center site.  The Pavilion and Museum will open to the public for the first time on May 21, 2014.

In 2004, SNØHETTA was commissioned to design the only building on the memorial plaza. In the years since, the program has changed several times, however it has remained a cultural facility dedicated to visitor comfort and orientation. The design for the building embodies a careful reaction to the horizontal  character of the memorial plaza’s design, while also providing the area with a lively organic form that allows the visitor to imagine the site and city in a broader sense. According to Snøhetta’s Founding Partner, Craig Dykers, “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. It is important that people physically  engage with the building  and feel that it helps lead them on to other areas of the site and other thoughts  about their experiences there.”



Snøhetta’s design approach has always been characterized by an exploration of context. The WTC Memorial site carries with it both the power of its history and a new hope for the future. It is a place that conveys the memories and dreams of people around the world who are affected by its presence without forgetting its intimate connection to the people of New York.

Certain characteristics of the Museum Pavilion will  seem reminiscent of the original  towers, while  at other times  these notions are only alluded to. The alternating reflective treatment of the façade will mirror the changing seasons, revealing the Pavilion’s differing qualities  throughout  the year. Inclined, reflective and transparent surfaces encourage people to walk up close, touch and gaze into the building.   Once inside, visitors look out through the Pavilion’s atrium to see others peer in, and begin a physical and mental transition in the journey from above to below ground.  Within the atrium, stand two structural columns rescued from the original towers. Although removed from their former location and function, they mark the site with their own profound and aesthetic gesture.  The Pavilion’s light and airy materials allow daylight into the Museum below grade, commemorating the Pavilion’stenuous relationship with the ground, equal parts weightless and hopeful.







Complementing the power and simplicity of the pools and the trees, Snøhetta has designed a visually-accessible, unimposing, building which is fully integrated into the Memorial site. With its low, horizontal  form and its uplifting geometry the Pavilion acts as a bridge between two worlds – between the Memorial and the Museum, the above and below ground, the light and dark, between collective and individual  experiences.  It also bridges over separate structures: the Path station, Museum and subway station below.  Between vertical and horizontal  extremes, it is a stepping stone between skyscrapers and the plaza. The Pavilion’s jewel-like, striped façade was developed in collaboration with the Client to allow the building to have a strong resonance for the visitor as well as providing visual and architectural connection to the surrounding urban environment. The flat plane of the Memorial Plaza is pierced by the glass Atrium of the Pavilion, which allows visitors to enter the below-grade Museum and bring with them sunlight from above.

The name of the Memorial Plaza is “Reflecting Absence.” As visitors cross the Plaza and approach the perimeter of the pools their gaze drops to watch the water cascading into the main pools, then flowing further over the second rim into the inner void. It is a physical reflection of the monumental  absence created by the tragic events of September 11. By contrast, Snøhetta’s Pavilion reflects presence: the present  moment, the day, the time, the weather, the trees, the surrounding  buildings,  and especially all the visitors present at the Memorial. While they look down into the Memorial fountains to contemplate and pay respect to the past, they look straight ahead and up at the Pavilion to reflect on the present and the future, bravely and with hope.



Design Team:
SNØHETTA – Architecture, Landscape & Interior Architecture Adamson Associates – Architect of Record and Buro Happold – SMEP
Size: Gross Floor Area: 50,000 square feet, 3 floors, Height: 75 feet max.
Program: Ticketing, Lobbies, Auditorium, Atrium, Family Room, Amenities,
Exhibition Material Choices:
Exterior: Treated Stainless Steel Panels and Insulated Glass
Interior: Ash Finger Parquet Floor, Ash Ceiling Panels; Ash Wall Panels;
Floors: Polished Concrete,
Walls: Resin panels






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