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9/11 Memorial Plaza

A detailed architectural look at the “heart” of the Ground Zero redevelopment project in lower Manhattan.

Seems altogether excessive when compared to past memorials of various sorts to the dead, but perhaps that’s not altogether surprising if one considers it a reflection on the ridiculously oversized sense of importance that present-day Americans attribute to their own lives.

Aside from its disproportionately wasteful scale, the memorial is full of obnoxious symbolism. The grotesquely unimaginative pools which are its centrepiece resemble nothing so much as two giant basin sinks with constantly sucking drain holes in the shape of square black voids. What a lovely metaphor that is…

Then there are other irksome features such as the bronze parapets bearing all 3,025 names of the attack’s victims being meticulously engineered to ensure that throughout the year they “remain comfortable to the touch” – a truly perverse and sterile concept that defies nature (as is the fact that the water in the “calming pools” will be slightly heated so as to never freeze in winter).

Who knows… maybe in years to come when the artificial forest of oak trees surrounding the Memorial Plaza has grown to maturity it could well be a wonderful public space (provided its elaborate mechanical life support systems haven’t broken down or been defunded), or it could just as easily wind up being a horribly designed park filled with minimalist piles of junk and half-dead trees, grafted onto the concrete roof of a neglected subterranean museum commemorating a tragic event that subsequent generations have long since chosen to forget about.

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