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Passages of Light

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Passages of Light, Memorial Clouds
bbc art + architecture
Baurmann Brooks  Coersmeier
Gisela Baurmann, Sawad Brooks, and Jonas Coersmeier,New  York, NY

Through "Passages of Light : The Memorial Clowe wish to create upon a  site scarred by a terrifying loss, sorrow, and grief, a work of shared and  individual mourning, as well as a gesture affirming our hopes, common dreams, and ability to rebuild.

Our intention is first to recognize and honor the victims of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 within a special, shrouded, spiritual space, protected from the noise and pace of the city by a crystalline "cloud." The cloud's top surface is a translucent bandage healing a wound. Level with "Ground Zero" (street level) and permitting traversal, it reconnects the urban fabric of downtown. On the ground beneath the cloud each of the 2,982 victims is represented by a radiating circle of light embedded into the floor, which  illuminates the engraved name of the individual victim but also projects a  subtle ray of light upward into the cloud. During the day, the cloud, like an undulating veil, a sinuous surface forming cathedral-like vaults, channels daylight downward onto the field of names.

Together, the names form a design that we term the "Pompeii Scheme," because it represents individuals equally in the course of their lives, cut short by the attacks. A name appears near those of the people with whom he or she died. For example, the approximately 1400 individuals who perished in Tower One define the largest field of lights. This field is continuous with the group of  approximately 600 who died in the second tower. The design's appearance reflects the cloud's topology of cupolas. A "Line of Rescuers" runs through both groups, where Firefighters, Police, and ordained and medical people can be represented.

Our design is guided by our respect for the sacred ground. Accordingly, we limit the cloud to touching the ground for support on only five points; we judiciously open the earth beneath the World Trade Center Tower footprints only  to provide visitors access to the symbolic "bedrock" level, creating thereby a  processional passage of light and subterranean darkness. The procession that carries visitors beside the repository for the "unidentified remains" connects both footprints with the channel along the exposed slurry wall.

Through the Memorial Cloud we hope to elicit two more responses, one highly  physical, the other imaginative, both of awe. One recovers a sensation associated with the World Trade Center Towers when we recall standing in their presence: the urge to look skywards, a vertical gesture associated with hope.  With the second gesture we seek to give expression to a relation between those  we mourn and those who live on affected by the tragedy and repercussions of the attacks. This is a relation between the finite and the sublime. The cloud's  design as a bundle of 10,000 vertical conduits for light which support each other structurally, distributing forces of tension and compression, figuratively represents our shared responsiveness to crisis and our cumulative strength.










Gisela Baurmann
Gisela Baurmann is an award-winning architect and  designer who has taught and lectured internationally. She is the principal of  amoebe architecture, a New York-based design firm. Ms. Baurmann received her  Masters in Architecture Degree from Columbia University as a Fulbright Scholar,  and also studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in  London and the Technical University Berlin. As project architect she designed and constructed a modern church and congregation hall in Frankfurt, Germany, consecrated in 2000. In 2001, teaming up with Jonas Coersmeier and Birgit  Schoenbrodt in her firm amoebe architecture, she won second prize in the International Design Ideas Competition "Redesigning Queens Plaza," organized by  the Van Alen Institute. Since January 2000 Ms. Baurmann has taught regularly at Columbia University and Pratt Institute, as well as serving as guest critic at Princeton, Yale University, Rensselear Polytechnic, New Jersey Institute of  Technology and City College New York.

Sawad Brooks
Sawad Brooks is a critic, artist, and award winning  designer working with public and information spaces. Sawad's work has been  exhibited internationally, including shows at the Whitney Museum of American  Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Johannesburg Biennale and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. He is currently working with  Warren Sack on "hELLO7734," a new network protocol art-research project. With  Goil Amornvivat, he is also working on a new line of kinetic responsive architecture. He has taught at Yale University; Merz Akademie, Stuttgart;  Parsons School of Design, New York; and last year was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Brown University's Department of Modern Culture and Media. Sawad, who was born in Bogotá, Colombia, currently lives and works in New York City.

Jonas Coersmeier
Jonas Coersmeier is an award winning architectural designer and the Principal of Probehead Architecture, New York.  Born in Cologne, Germany, he received his architectural education at Columbia University, M.I.T. and Technical University Darmstadt. He holds a Masters in Advanced Architectural Design and a Diplom Ingenieur degree in Architecture. Mr.  Coersmeier has worked as a designer for various architectural offices in Germany and the US. He also worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company. He teaches at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture and serves as  a guest design critic at Columbia University, Princeton and NYIT. His work has been exhibited at the Van Alen Institute and the Goethe Institute in New York City.

Model Fabrication: Kennedy Fabrications, New York, NY
Rendering, Illustration, Technology Consultant: E. Andrea  Shiman
Rendering and Animation: Screampoint 3D Systems for Real Estate, New York, NY
Structural Engineering Consultant: Burio Happold Consulting  Engineers, P.C. -- Craig Schwitter, Principal, Greg Otto, Sr. Eng., Bob Kearns,  Graduate Eng.
Lighting design consultant: Fisher Marantz Stone Partners -- Paul Marantz
Technical Consultant on 3D Technology: Jose I. Sanchez


© Sep 2001 - 04/27/04

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