Flight 93 Memorial

  • aerial view
  • pillar - night
  • procession
  • memorial
  • site plan
  • plan
  • final board
Project Brief: Design a memorial for the Flight 93 tragedy on September 11, 2001, on the four-mile crash site in Pennsylvania.
Program: Parking, visitor's center, memorial.
Concept: The memorial as a journey through the site — an experience that evokes memory, connectedness, and ultimately hope.
Team: Carl S. Sterner, Luke V. Field

The memorial as an experience: a four-mile trek from apparent disorder to clarity and catharsis.

The site of the tragic crash of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 called for a memorial at once reverent and hopeful. Unlike many memorials, the site was expansive: four miles end-to-end. The focus of the design is therefore on movement and experience.

The site is inscribed with forty rays, expressed by solitary pillars. These rays stitch the landscape together and provide a continuous experience as visitors traverse the four miles from the entrance to the final memorial.

Life / Journey  As we traverse the site, we find pillars set into the landscape seemingly at random: silent objects of steel, stone and light. But for these columns the site is left untouched. As the memorial draws closer, these pillars multiply and converge, pattern emerging from apparent chaos.

Unity / Hope  Only at the memorial, the center point, does the radial nature of the pillars become apparent — we realize they are coherent and meaningful. This memorial ultimately represents an understanding that our lives connect; it is a tribute to the people who together found courage and strength. There is hope at the center of the memorial: the pillars align, the rays spread out around us.

Honors / Remembrance  An interactive memory wall overlooks the crash site. The only incursion on the sacred ground is an eternal flame.

copyright © 2013 by carl s. sterner, unless otherwise noted. more...