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9/11 Memorial Museum
Designed by Davis Brody Bond, the 9/11 Memorial Museum was conceived as the global focal point for presenting and preserving the history and memories of the events of 9/11.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum designed by Davis Brody Bond is located beneath the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan in New York.
Descending 20 meters to the original foundations of the World Trade Center towers, its 11,200 square meters interior gives visitors access to the monumental underground site where remnants of the Trade Center’s construction and recovery frame the story of the terrorist attacks and the days that followed.
Confronting the physical void left at the end of the recovery process, the spaces of the museum are revealed, progressively disclosing the various elements of collective and personal memory of the event.
The design team at Davis Brody Bond inherited a fixed set of existing geometries at the site and was faced with the challenge of translating them into a series of coherent spaces that are punctuated by surface, texture, and volume. They chose as the Museum’s main narrative element a gently descending procession (dubbed “the Ribbon”) that guides visitors from the plaza, where is the Memorial Pavilion designed by Snøhetta, to the bedrock level where the sheared base columns of the World Trade Center towers are revealed.
The “Ribbon” recalls the ramp used to remove debris from the site in the aftermath of the attacks. It also offers multiple views of the slurry wall, the original retaining wall that was built to withstand the lateral forces of landfill and river, and which survived the collapse of the towers. At the end of the ribbon, the descent continues down along the Vesey Street Stairs (“Survivors’ Stairs”), which were used by hundreds to escape to safety on 9/11. It ultimately leads to two exhibition spaces and Foundation Hall, the Museum’s culminating space whose sheer scale conveys the enormity of the site and reinforces awareness of the absence of what once was there.