9/11 Memorial Museum by Davis Brody Bond

by Adam Moore

As construction continues on the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the glass-encased building tucked between two voids is preparing to open its doors to the thousands of visitors who come to the site each day.

“The experience will be emotional,” says Steven M. Davis, FAIA, partner with Davis Brody Bond, the firm behind the museum’s design. “It conveys messages that include resiliency, recovery, compassion and progress.”

Seventeen distinct artifacts have been placed in the 110,000-square-foot museum thus far, including the grappler used to clear debris from Ground Zero, the World Trade Center Cross and pieces of impact steel that once formed part of the North Tower’s façade.

Visitors will enter the museum through the Snøhetta-designed glass pavilion and descend into the earth on a gradually sloped “ribbon” beginning in the concourse lobby. Along the way, the story of those who perished on September 11th, as well as those from the first WTC attack on February 26, 1993, unfolds. They are where the story begins—not where it ends.

The ribbon’s route will culminate at the bedrock level of the World Trade Center’s original architectural foundations, now known as Foundation Hall. It is an immense space providing visitors with a place for quiet reflection.

WATCH: Steven Davis talks about the emotion and design behind the 9/11 Memorial Museum in the I&S Media Center. 

A surviving slurry wall stands as a backdrop to the Last Column, the 60-ton, 36-foot-high steel beam removed at the end of recovery efforts. In July, team members began reattaching tribute messages, memorial inscriptions and missing posters to the column as left behind by ironworkers and rescue personnel.

In those messages lies the story that goes on: hope, courage, and solidarity. And here, a time to heal.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum is set to open in the spring of 2014. For more information, visit 911memorial.org or davisbrody.com.