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After eight months, 5201 entries and eight finalists, jurors judging proposed plans for the future Twin Towers memorial have selected "Reflecting Absence," a design by Dartmouth Alumnus Michael Arad to be built on the site of the World Trade Center in New York. The design will memorialize victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack and the 1993 terrorist bombing.
Arad, a 1991 graduate, works as an architect for the New York City Housing Authority. His design was praised by the committee for "its powerful, yet simple articulation of the footprints of the Twin Towers."
"I am very honored and overwhelmed by the news that the jury has selected my design," Arad said in a statement. "I hope that I will be able to honor the memory of all those who perished, and create a place where we may all grieve and find meaning."
He added: "I will do my best to rise to the enormity of the task at hand. It is with great humility that I regard the challenges that lie ahead - and it is with great hope that I will find the strength and ability to meet them."
According to World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition jury chairman Vartan Gregorian the competition drew designs from 63 nations since its introduction in May, 2003. The jury narrowed the competition to eight finalists in November.
Arad, who grew up in Israel, the United States and Mexico, attended Dartmouth after having served in the Israeli military. According to Jack Wilson, Dartmouth's chief architect and an associate professor of studio art, Arad's undergraduate work showed the maturity that those experiences brought him.
"Clearly he had seen a lot of architecture," Wilson said. "He did very well in my architectural design course and showed a passionate interest in architecture."
According to the site proposal, Arad's design "proposes a space that resonates with the feelings of loss and absence that were generated by the death and destruction at the World Trade Center. A pair of reflective pools marks the location of the towers' footprints. The surface of these pools is broken by large voids. These voids can be read as containers of loss, being close-by yet inaccessible."
The final version of Arad's design, including contributions from landscape architect Peter Walker, is on-line.
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