By Sara Kugler
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
NEW YORK, June 20 -- A somewhat scaled-down design for the Sept. 11 memorial that retains the central elements of the original -- including reflecting pools and the inscribed names of the victims -- was unveiled Tuesday after the project was sent back to the drawing board because the cost was pushing $1 billion.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (R) and Gov. George E. Pataki (R) signed off on the more modest proposal, more than a month after asking developer Frank Sciame to find ways to reduce the cost to $500 million.
Sciame managed to cut the cost by more than $285 million by shrinking the size of the memorial museum, removing portions of the galleries around the pools where the names were to be listed, and consolidating all entrances into a visitors center. The new design will also raise the victims' names to street level.
The reflecting pools and waterfalls envisioned by architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker for the site where the World Trade Center stood were retained.
In a report, Sciame said he had considered eliminating the waterfalls but decided they were too important to the "contemplative nature" of the design -- particularly because they will drown out the sounds of the city and allow viewers to get lost in the power and emotion of the memorial.
Tuesday's announcement marked the beginning of a seven-day public comment period. The Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which oversees the rebuilding of the site, will adopt a final design by the end of the month, officials said.
The memorial is set to open by the eighth anniversary of the attacks, in 2009.
The governor praised Sciame for conducting a "thoughtful and thorough process." He said the redesigned landmark "honors our heroes' lives, mourns their passing, provides solace to their loved ones and tells their story to the world."