BALTIMORE (AP) — The design for a 9/11 memorial was presented to the Baltimore Public Art Commission on Wednesday, and it turns the plaza of the World Trade Center at the Inner Harbor into a sundial recalling the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
It was the first time the renderings of the memorial site were made public.
Markers etched in the memorial’s stone base will note the times when each plane crashed into the towers, the Pentagon and the field in Shanksville, Pa., and when each tower collapsed.
The centerpiece of the memorial is two tons of mangled steel beams from the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York. The 22-foot beams will lie on their sides, close enough for people to touch them.
“The artifact resonates,” said lead architect Steve Ziger of Baltimore-based Ziger/Snead Architects. “You will want to reach out and touch it.”
Over time, the patina from beams will wash onto the marble base, reinforcing the memorial’s time motif, he said.
“All memorials to us are about time,” Ziger said.
The side of the base will be inscribed with the names and birthdates of the 63 people from Maryland who died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in the Pennsylvania crash. The arrangement of the names is designed to allow additions if more people with ties to the state are discovered, Ziger said.
Along the eastern edge of the plaza, three damaged blocks of stone from the Pentagon will be accompanied by stones inscribed with a narrative and dedication. Organizers are finalizing plans to acquire an artifact from the field in Shanksville that would be displayed in the same area.
A wall of trees will screen the plaza from busy Pratt Street while allowing the memorial to be partially visible from the street. A metal strip embedded into the ground around the base is aimed at discouraging people from climbing on the memorial.
Because most of the Marylanders killed in the attacks died at the Pentagon, the sundial effect allows the memorial to tell the story of the whole morning that changed so much, not just the spot where the centerpiece beams come from.
“We wanted to remind everyone with all the marks in the stone and also with the artifacts that have equal power that we were transformed that day, both our physical world — our buildings — but also ourselves,” said Douglas Bothner, a Ziger/Snead associate.
In addition, a more intimate exhibit incorporating smaller artifacts from the three sites and portraits and biographies of the victims will be installed on the Top of the World observation level on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center.
“I think it’s an extremely important aspect of the totality of the memorial,” public art commission member Jann-Rosen Queralt told Ziger and Bothner, adding that she was glad to hear that the exhibit was part of the plan from the beginning. “Because the scale of this is very public I don’t think you’ll get that kind of quiet reflection. I think having that opportunity is important.”
Work on the memorial is set to begin next month and be complete in time for a dedication on the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks.
Fundraising for the $2 million project is going well and several counties have committed funds, according Rand Griffin, chair of the 9/11 Memorial of Maryland Advisory Committee and Corporate Office Properties Trust CEO.
“To a lot of those families this will be the tombstone that they don’t have opportunity to have,” Griffin said.
Carole Reuben’s son, Todd, was on the plane that hit the Pentagon and often goes to the memorial there.
“Whenever I visit I have a feeling of being close to him,” she said. “It’s peaceful.”
The memorial in Baltimore will give Marylanders who live outside the Washington region their own place to visit.
“I hope it will give people a feeling that they have someplace to go and honor their loved ones,” she said.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)