Architecture: When Memory Fails

There's a winning design now for the World Trade Center memorial. But was it chosen too soon?

Soaring. That was the word Rudy Giuliani used a few months after the fall of the World Trade Center to describe his vision for a memorial at the site. Like many people, New York City's ex-mayor hoped for something proud, powerful and passionate. But when the winning design for the 9/11 memorial was announced last week, what we all got instead was subdued, spare and gentle. Reflecting Absence was submitted by Michael Arad, an assistant architect for the city's Housing Authority. Its chief feature is a pair of square excavations, each 30 ft. deep and nearly an acre in size, that...

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