September 11th Memorial,
the borough of Closter, New Jersey
BUILT & DEDICATED
The complexities and the scale of the tragedies dictated that an appropriate and lasting solution be found for this memorial. Closter, New Jersey is commuter town twenty seven miles from the World Trade Center Site. Because of the town’s proximity to New York City, Closter’s emergency services volunteered to assist in rescue and recovery efforts. The goal was to remember all those lost that day including two Closter residents and to create a place of reflection and remembrance for the community.
Visitors walk on a path leading to a 40-foot diameter blue-stone platform with a grid orientated North / South. A line of black granite bisects the platform. At the center of the granite line there is a 10-foot high archway. Together the line and the arch represent the division between two aspects of time — before and after the event. In the interior of the Arch names of the two Closter residents are inscribed. Inset in the center of the Arch’s threshold is a section of World Trade Center steel.
Beyond the arch is the 9-foot high black granite dedication stone inscribed with remembrance to all those lost. After being confronted with the dedication stone and the loss it represents the path splits, inviting the participant to make a personal choice on which path to take.
On every September 11th at exactly 8:46 am — the moment the first hijacked airplane struck the North Tower — shadows align, and sunlight passes through an aperture in the dedication stone shining on the inset piece of World Trade Center steel.
CHALLENGES & INNOVATIONS
The main design challenge was to precisely align the six ton dedication stone to allow the sunlight to pass through an aperture at 8:46 am on September 11th of every year. The design positions the stones in relation to the Solar Azimuth and Solar Elevation Angle of the sun, for the exact location and time. The stone is mounted to an oversized stainless steel plate that in turn is attached to the foundation with anchor bolts. Slotted holes in the plate along with double nuts enable adjustments in three axis. This detail allows for any possible future realignment due to unforeseen environmental changes.
USE OF NATURAL STONE & NUANCE
Jet Black granite and flamed blue stone were chosen for the appropriate level of contrast to one another. Being natural stone, they both exhibit an aesthetic and pragmatic permanence.
Despite an estimated total weight of ten and one half tons, the overall effect can at times feel ephemeral. For every shadow cast by the archway and dedication stone on the blue stone platform, there are corresponding lines of reflected light answering the darkness. This interplay of light and dark continuously changes over the course of the day.
The reflectivity of the polished granite archway and dedication stone imbibes the monument with a transparency despite the solidity of the stone. One cannot view the monument without seeing the surrounding environment, or the visitors own reflection, in it. It invites contemplation, and engagement those who experience it.
The experience is not limited to a strictly visual one. The mass of the stones reflect radiant heat in the evening. Standing inside the arch where the names of the lost residents are inscribed, the radiating warmth creates a feeling of presence in their absence.
This video was created with the creative team at plusrender.com and the talented Eric Holsten,