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"Hope is the pillar that holds up the world." - Pliny the Elder
Monday, March 8, 2021
Stepping Skyward was a concept design I created in 2001 as a possible rebuilding of the World Trade Center. It was never sunbmitted, but it has been preserved here.
The concept of Stepping Skyward is a rather simple one... rebuild and integrate the memorial and the buildings as one concept. The goals of the design are:
The basic premise, is to create 5 buildings with a similar exterior look to the original twin towers. The 5 buildings would be arranged around a single point (containing the fountain). The 1st building would be 20 stories high. The 2nd would be 40. The 3rd 60. The 4th 80 stories. And the 5th 100 stories. There would be foot bridges connecting the buildings from the top of one to the next. The basic layout would appear similar to this:
The idea behind the memorial arose from the desire of many families to have the footprints of the buildings preserved. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the original site, the footprints of the buildings are actually long gone... having been completely excavated in the recovery process. Additionally, most of the people who were killed on 9/11 appear to have died before the buildings collapsed, either due to the initial impacts and structural failures or to smoke inhalation. So, my concept was to have the memorials as close as possible to where the victims were.
On top of each building, there would be an entire floor dedicated to the victims. Each victim would have an individual section of memorial with a photo and brief bio of their life and where they were on 9/11. There would be a dedicated path for friends, relatives and loved ones to take to get to these special floors (private elevators, hallways, etc) that would be completely seperate from all business-related functions of the buildings.
The footbridges between the 5 buildings would serve 2 purposes. One would be easy access between the buildings for workers, etc. The second would be to allow a complete traversal of all 5 memorial floors between all 5 buildings as a single path. The footbridges would be 2 stories... the bottom story used for office workers to connect businesses and the top story would be used as a part of the Memorial Path. The top story would have a windowed ceiling, allowing light and views of the sky to fill visitors' fields of vision.
The Memorial Path
The memorial floors, footbridges and private elevators and entryways would combine to create the memorial path. A single, unbroken line for visitors to follow. This path would start at the main entrance to the memorial in building one. Lead up an elevator to the memorial floor in that building. Cross that floor to the upper deck of the footbridge leading to building 2. From there, another private elevator would take visitors to the memorial floor in building 2. This process would continue for the remaining 3 buildings.
The fountain would be at the center of the plaza itself, in the middle of all 5 buildings. The fountain would be constructed of black marble and the outter rim would have engravings of all victims of the attacks. The inner ring, accessible through a break in the outter ring, would have the names of the police, fire and other emergency responders who gave their lives on 9/11. In the center of the inner ring would be a restored version of the sphere from the original WTC fountain.