NEW YORK – Eight competing designs for a World Trade Center memorial were unveiled Wednesday, with finalists remembering the dead with quiet gardens, reflecting pools, inscribed names and lights for lost lives.
All eight designs, selected from a pool of 5,200, list the names of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The names are inscribed on granite walls, glass panels and stone columns, some alphabetically and others according to where the person died.
"We have sought designs that represent the heights of imagination while incorporating aesthetic grace and spiritual strength," the jury that chose the finalists said in a statement.
• Photo Essay: The WTC Memorial Finalists
The finalists, whose identities were made public for the first time Wednesday, range from local artists to international architects. The proposals were picked by a 13-member jury, which will choose the winning design by the end of the year.
John Whitehead, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., (search) which is overseeing the rebuilding of the site, praised the organic connections shared by all the entries.
"Their designs draw upon the elements of light, water, earth and life itself," Whitehead said at a news conference where the proposals were unveiled.
One design proposes an open-air structure with cathedral-like vaults and a glass walkway overhead where thousands of lights illuminate engraved names of the victims. It groups the rescuers' names separately in a ribbon that loops through the other names.
Another suggests votive lights suspended over a reflecting pool, with each light representing a victim.
One design includes a park sloping from street level to 30 feet below, a garden where the south tower stood, and a structure where the north tower stood with a staircase waterfall.
The proposals include private areas for relatives of the victims and a tomb for unidentified remains of people killed when the twin towers were hit by hijacked planes and collapsed. One design envisions a blue light projected upward from the place where the unidentified remains are entombed.
The remains of about 60 percent of the 2,752 people killed in the twin towers attack have been identified.
Finalists said they tried to memorialize the victims as a group, and as individuals. One entry, by Cornell University (search) graduates, includes a stone column for each victim, which relatives could inscribe with their loved one's story.
Another design, submitted by a group from Chicago, proposes panels showing photographs, videos and changing images of the victims, behind a stream of water.
Carolyn Brown-Negron, whose brother, Patrick Brown, was among the 343 firefighters killed, said she appreciated efforts to memorialize individuals.
"A list is too generic," she said. "There has to be a face with a name."
All of the designs preserve the huge wall that once formed the trade center basement, the only surviving remnant of the original complex.
The eight proposals, accompanied by videotaped interviews of finalists talking about their designs, were displayed at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden (search), across the street from where the towers stood.
Whitehead said the jury "identified the best work of highly creative individuals and teams from around the globe."
Family members of those who died were shown the designs before the unveiling and said they mostly approved of the plans.
"I thought they captured the essence of what the memorial should be," said Christine Huhn-Graifman, who lost her husband in the attack.
But some said the plans did not provide enough access to the bedrock level of the site. As it stands now, the redevelopment plan preserves the approximate circumference of the towers, but construction would encroach on the twin towers' footprints at bedrock level.