Norway's Ground Zero design

The Norwegian architect firm Snøhetta has won great acclaim for its design for the Cultural Center at Ground Zero in which light will play a key part

05/07/2005 :: Snøhetta won the project to design the cultural centre at Ground Zero in competition with some of the most prestigious architects in the world. The model was unveiled in the middle of May, and the concept met with glowing praise.

”Snøhetta has designed an airy, light, optimistic building. It has become a fine project that supports the whole idea behind my master plan,” said chief architect for Ground Zero, Daniel Liebeskind, to the Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten.

Both the governor and the mayor of New York have praised the design. Snøhetta has successfully overcome the many emotional and structural challenges of the World Trade Center site.

The model shows a low building, raised above the ground, that will stand out from the surrounding skyscrapers. It acts as a gateway into the Living Memorial Grove. The facade is covered with prisms that catch the light in a remarkable way. In contrast, the roof is made of wood, but has an opening that lets in the light from outside.

”The opening is designed to catch the light and focus it downward, creating a well of light that will change according to the season,” explained one of the architects Zenul Khan, to the Norwegian daily newspaper VG.
The Cultural Center will house the International Freedom Museum, an information centre for Ground Zero and an art gallery, The Drawing Center.
Construction of the Cultural Center is scheduled to start in 2007 and to be completed in 2009.

Sketch from September 11th Place toward the entrance ramp with the light well above. (Photo: Snøhetta)

View from the International Freedom Center raised lobby toward the northern portions of the Memorial Plaza. (Photo: Snøhetta)

View West across September 11th Place from Greenwich Street toward the Memorial Plaza. (Photo: Snøhetta)

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Model photo from the corner of Greenwich and Fulton Streets looking south.Photo: Snøhetta

Winter view looking North from the southern Memorial void along Greenwich Street. The Freedom Tower and Tower Seven are beyond in the distance.Photo: Snøhetta

View East from The North Void at the Memorial Plaza towards the Cultural Center.Photo: Snøhetta