September 26, 2011

"Arad’s inexorably powerful, enigmatically abstract pair of abyss-like pools, which demarcate the foundations of the lost Twin Towers..."

"... comes as a surprise to those of us who doubted that the chaotic and desultory reconstruction of Ground Zero could yield anything of lasting value. It is generally held that great architecture requires the participation of a great client, but just how this stunning result emerged from such a fraught and contentious process will take some time for critics and historians to sort out."

Martin Filler contemplates "Reflecting Absence."

36 comments:

E.M. Davis said...

The fucking still-being-built tower should have been done six years ago.

The Empire State Building was started in January of 1930. It was completed in May of 1931.

Scott M said...

How difficult would it have been to limit the architectural firms to American-only? Have we sunk that low already that we don't have any firms that could do this anymore?

Henry said...

I'll have to go see it in person. I hadn't thought to do so until now.

TML said...

What's the antecedent here? "pair" or "pools"?

HDHouse said...

oh the joys of tortured prose...

EDH said...

Arad’s inexorably powerful, enigmatically abstract pair of abyss-like pools, which demarcate the foundations of the lost Twin Towers...

On Wall Street

"Man looks in the abyss, there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss."

The Drill SGT said...

I'm not a fan of the "Twin Toilets"

edutcher said...

For once I have to agree with HD. What pretentious drivel.

Ground Zero is the place to put a wall with the names of the dead. Then you can have all the reflecting pools you want.

And maybe an appropriate sentiment, such as, "I don’t want to reach out to those people! THEY MURDERED MY DAUGHTER!".

Love to see Bloomie's reaction to that one.

Fred4Pres said...

I thought the design was powerful when I first saw the concept. I am glad it is translating that way in real life. I look forward to confirming it in real life.

Carol_Herman said...

Feh.

You know the miracle of that day when the damage could have been so much worse?

Pushing against the foundation is the HUDSON! If the "foundation gave way ... the HUDSON would have overtaken lower Manhattan!

So, now there are pools of water.

Architects, when they're given the task of building monuments. And, the compete ... means that you're gonna get something as good as the Vietnam War Memorial in DC. Which was made fun of ... before it was actually seen.

Maybe, the same is true at the Opera? Where you don't see how complex the sets really are ... But if you're in the audience ... you're overwhelmed by the visuals ... as much as you are of the music.

The one thing that can never be redone are the Towers, themselves. Because they sat mostly empty.

It took more than a five minute elevator ride to get you to the top!

The entire mid-level of both buildings were EMPTY and unrentable.

That's why the Port Authority went in. (They owned it.) And, since they couldn't rent it to anyone else ... except the restaurant on top ... And, a few traders who used computers ... so being "off Wall Street" was a hazard they could overcome ... "for view" ... That building was a landlord's NIGHTMARE.

Among other things, you couldn't even get a cab to take you in ... because cab drivers don't go ... where they can't get a fare OUT, again.

Fred4Pres said...

The memorial reflects absense. That is important. A sense of anger and never forgetting is also important.

traditionalguy said...

It brings to mind that Where the World Trade Centers went is where we will all go one day.

Pastafarian said...

Carol Herman, unless they had bunker-busters and nuclear weapons on those airliners, I don't think there was ever any danger of the Hudson being redirected on 9/11.

Donald Douglas said...

It's an awesome memorial. Thanks for posting this...

E.M. Davis said...

Carol needs a job.

One, desirably, without internet access.

NYTNewYorker said...

The current World Trade Center being built is a monument to the feckless, pusillanimous politicians that concocted it.

If this city, state, and country had any balls at all, the World Trade Center would have been built identically in appearance, changed structurally to current standards being used globally and at least one or more stories taller.

But no, what we have here is a feel good fake....10 years later and still counting. Disgraceful.

E.M. Davis said...

I'm sorry, but I'm a little Ethan Edwards when it comes to this sort of navel-gazing.

Put an amen to it.

Scott M said...

If this city, state, and country had any balls at all, the World Trade Center would have been built identically in appearance, changed structurally to current standards being used globally and at least one or more stories taller.

I've been saying that since 9/12/01.

NYTNewYorker said...

It really is a shame Scott M, a crying shame.

timmaguire42 said...

I still think the best memorial of all is a plaque on the side of one of the new buildings. This whole footprint thing is joke--everyone thinks the the spots the buildings sit on are so sacred simply because someone coined a catchy name for them.

I suppose I should be glad nobody said "shadow zone." We'd be knocking down buildings all over lower Manhattan out of "respect" for the dead.

Fred4Pres said...

This is a powerful video of that day.

NYTNewYorker said...

Traces of the victims DNA will remain in "the tub", the hole holding back the Hudson River where the Trade Center sat and at the Staten Island land fill, where the debris was trucked and sorted out and searched, FOREVER!

Not building in the "footprints" is akin to building these stupid little monuments along the highway where someone runs into a tree.

We are a nation of maudlin pussies.

JAL said...

@ edutcher Ground Zero is the place to put a wall with the names of the dead.

The names of the dead are there. Read the article.

E.M. Davis said...

@ edutcher Ground Zero is the place to put a wall with the names of the dead.

You're missing his point. To him, the rest is overkill.

Moose said...

How does a hole in the ground celebrate the lives of those who perished there? What is this obsession with holes?

Scott M said...

What is this obsession with holes?

Are you a male moose or a female moose. If you're a male moose, I don't understand the question.

Strelnikov said...

So they decided to fill the holes with water? That will send just the right message.

ricpic said...

Don't the muzzies circle a big black stone in Mecca, which is like their holy of holies? Well, at the heart of this pool-memorial is a black square or "absence." Too damned easy for the muzzies to interpret the memorial as dhimmi surrender...which they will.

PatCA said...

Yeah, E.M. Davis, but no one bombed the site of the Empire before construction.

I felt as you did; now I think it had to be. The pools and the site look perfect to me. I am planning a trip soon.

Chase said...

This is the first paragraph in the piece:

I visited Michael Arad’s National September 11 Memorial in New York City—which was dedicated exactly a decade after the disaster



What is it with the left that wants to keep using the term "disaster" in any way to explain what happened on 9/11?

Hurricane Katrina was a disaster.
Tsunamis are disasters.
6.0+ Earthquakes can cause disasters.


9/11 was a terrorist attack - as Arad also called it in the piece.
9/11 was a premeditated act of human evil. It was no "disaster".

Almost Ali said...

Again, to herald the opening of the Twin Toilets, I'll be flushing throughout the day, and well into the night.

Oh, too, how sad Robert Frost is not alive to witness this day with poems of piss pools and the punks who conceived them.

timmaguire42 said...

Quite right, Chase. Disasters are natural events. Tragedy isn't the right word either (the victims met tragic ends, but the event was not a tragic act).

This was a massacre and Ground Zero is a crime scene. It would be nice if journalists started using the right words to describe things instead of the sanitary euphemisms.

NYTNewYorker said...

It's because they are journalists no more but propagandists for the left.

As soon as the reason to go to journalism school became "to make a difference", journalism died.

Whose difference? Ah, there lies the rub.

Cedarford said...

Scott M said...
How difficult would it have been to limit the architectural firms to American-only? Have we sunk that low already that we don't have any firms that could do this anymore?

============
The original WTC towers were designed by a great Japanese architect firm, employing some key steel structure made in Japan because of American quality control problems. But most components and labor were American.

Not the embarassment the All-Chinese MLK national monument is.

*************
The WTC memorial "pools of reflection" will have poignency for a period of time and probably fade..or receed sharply in importance if some "Bigger Tragedy" comes along. Time does that. Many of the biggest and most important monuments of the 18th Century, 19th, early 20th that were on those past generations minds are unknown to most today unless mentioned as sort of a tourist attraction if you happen to be in the area.
Memories of various heroes of minor consequence fade. As they will for the people defined as heroes by what uniform they wore in the weeks after 9/11.
The Oklahoma City memorial is faded already. Few visit it.

Being right in a big city, I think people will remember the WTC and have the memorial on their intinerary for many decades to come...while the lavish Flight 93 Memorial to people that tried saving their lives rather than wait to die will fade quicker. Lot of plane crash sites and shipwreck sites...where presumably some combination of passengers and crew "fought" to save their lives just as hard - and failed.

ONly a few get to be lasting legacies and imbued in our lore. The "Titanic" - of all the tens of thousands of ships that went down..etc.

Ralph L said...

I don't think there was ever any danger of the Hudson being redirected on 9/11.
The WTC site was originally in the Hudson. If the "bathtub" had burst, it would have flooded the subway system at least. They went to a lot of trouble re-anchoring the tub's walls after 9/11.

Shouldn't they have used this fountain style for the Katrina victims' memorial, if there is one?

showbiz111 said...

Instead of calling it "Reflecting Absence" it should be called "Successful Jihad Tribute". It looks like runoff from a wastewater plant and what of the environmental impact of using so many gallons of water per day? And from a supposedly green to his guts Mayor? It is scandalous. Imagine after the Parthenon had been burnt down by the Persians, they left half of it in decay as a "reminder" or "reflection"? The negative psychological impact would be ever present to them. It's almost as bad as Shanksville where we have a muslim crescent pointing to Mecca as our tribute to "Let's Roll". And they want us to pay for this dhimmitude? Disgusting.