National September 11 Memorial Museum

Opened in May 2014 at the site of the World Trade Center, the National September 11 Memorial Museum was some ten years in the making. Snøhetta designed the Pavilion, the only building at ground level on the site. The Pavilion has a low profile as befitting its position as the bridge between below and above ground (the museum is underground). Half transparent and half reflective with distinct stripes, it encourages visitors to peer in at the two structural columns retrieved from the remains of the World Trade Center. Kjetil Thorsen of Snøhetta says, “It was not easy, anything you build cannot replace or relieve history. When creating projects like the pavilion you have to base them on a long-term negotiation with many parties… The negotiated architecture reflects presence while the pools reflect absence, light conditions, people, paths and trees, each a different moment in time. It’s not trying to look back, or indeed very far forward – the building is absolutely in the present.”

Photography: Jeff Goldberg

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