This May, President Obama was present for the dedication of the September 11 Memorial Museum & Pavilion.
The museum, located at the site of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, was then opened up to the public for the first time.
It had been almost 13 years years in the making.
A bridge between worlds
The museum pavilion, commissioned in 2004 by the 9/11 Memorial, was designed by Norwegian architect firm Snøhetta. It is the only building on the memorial plaza.
Vaguely evoking the original towers, the pavilion serves as the entrance for the underground museum.
Sais Snøhetta, in their project desictiption: “With its low, horizontal form and its uplifting geometry the Pavilion acts as a bridge between two worlds - between the Memorial and the Museum, the above and below ground, the light and dark, between collective and individual experiences."
"Inclined, reflective and transparent surfaces encourage people to walk up close, touch and gaze into the building.”
Anticipating "primal anxieties"
Among the first things that will catch your eye, are two gigantic structural columns, which were rescued from the twin towers. They are now on display in the atrium.
“This is the first trace we see of the ruined behemoths,” writes Justin Davidson in The New York Magazine, “two of the linked tridents that formed the towers’ gothic arches. Weathered but unbent, they thrust vertically past their new home’s weave of angled struts, mute reminders of the original buildings’ enormity.”
If the pavilion is meant to bridge past and future, light and dark, Davidson is inclined to agree. He praises the building for preparing the audience:
“The museum is buried in a crypt beneath the crime scene, but I enter through the silvery origami-like pavilion designed by Snøhetta, whose architects have anticipated some of its visitors’ more primal anxieties."
"Large windows look onto the memorial plaza, where the atmosphere is a mixture of reverence and casual cheer. Outside, kids take selfies with the names carved in bronze and the big shiny towers beyond. Inside, all is bright light and blond wood and soothing necessities.”
Other notable works by Snøhetta include the Oslo Opera House and the Times Square reconstruction.