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April 30th, 2004, 05:30 AM
April 30, 2004

Westchester Picks Design to Remember 9/11 Victims


WHITE PLAINS, April 29 - Westchester County unveiled the winning design on Thursday for its own Sept. 11 memorial, a soaring sculpture with 109 intersecting steel rods, each representing a victim who lived in the county.

The memorial, named "The Rising," was designed by Frederic Schwartz, an acclaimed Manhattan architect and a founder of the Think team. Think's entry in the master plan competition for ground zero was the runner-up in that contest. The Westchester memorial will be built at Kensico Dam Plaza, a county-owned park in Valhalla. Unveiling is scheduled for Sept. 11, 2005.

At the annual State of the County address, the county executive, Andrew J. Spano, said the memorial was "not only a tribute to those who died on that terrible day, but it is a recognition that we are all bound together."

For almost two years, a group of victims' relatives and professionals in fine art and architecture worked quietly to choose first a site in Westchester and then a memorial. They considered 38 submissions, including one from Spain. They narrowed the field to two - Mr. Schwartz's sculpture and a garden memorial, called "Paths of Remembrance," by a Westchester architect, Paul Willen, and his Woodlands team.

But the 10-member selection committee, which included five members of 9/11 families, was drawn to Mr. Schwartz's tower and voted for it unanimously. Rosaleen O'Neill of Rye, whose son, Sean, 34, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee, was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, said she "fell in love" with the Schwartz design, which, at a glance, resembles the Eiffel Tower.

"The process was very good," she said. "There were no fights and nobody got mad and walked out."

Mrs. O'Neill particularly liked the opportunity for family members to contribute a quotation about their relatives, which will be engraved along the circular base of the memorial, along with the names, ages, birth dates and residences of all 109 victims. "We want to capture his wonderful personality and his happiness," she said, her voice breaking with emotion.

Mr. O'Neill and his wife, Holly, who also lived in Rye, had learned two months before his death that they were expecting their first child. Their daughter, who is also named Sean, is now 2.

The victims from Sept. 11 came from many places in Westchester. But several cities and villages suffered significant losses, among them Yonkers and Scarsdale.

County officials said that family members wanted the site to be centrally located in a spot where large numbers of visitors already gather. Kensico Dam was an obvious choice to officials and selection committee members, both for its accessible location just north of White Plains and for the many festivals that take place there.

The memorial is expected to cost about $200,000, said Susan Tolchin, the chief adviser to Mr. Spano. The county has already set aside $150,000, while an additional $50,000 will come from a state grant obtained by a former assemblywoman, Naomi C. Matusow.

The memorial will be situated near the southeast corner of an enormous reflecting pool at the foot of the dam. Flanking the pool are water cascades that have been dry for decades, but that the county now plans to refurbish.

Mr. Schwartz, who is providing the design free, said the "visual lightness" of the sculpture, whose ascending steel rods are only one and a half inches thick, acts as a "counterpoint to the solidity of the adjacent dam." The steel strands merge into one single steel rod, and visitors will be able to walk through the structure and look up to the sky, he said.

"I wanted to find a way to recognize each person individually," he said. "They are also part of a community, and in Westchester they were on the train back and forth every day, and I wanted to bring them together as a community, and that's the spirit of the memorial."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

May 4th, 2004, 09:58 AM


Stainless steel memorial at Kensico Dam selected by committee of families, experts


Two years after his promise to build a memorial to the 109 county residents who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, County Executive Andy Spano today unveiled the design for the memorial at Kensico Dam Plaza during his State of the County address.

“The families wanted a memorial that would be a welcoming destination for individual remembrance and reflection and that would leave the visitor with a feeling of hope for the future,’’ said Spano. “I think this memorial evokes all those feelings and more. Not only is it a tribute to those who died on that terrible day, but it is a recognition that we are all bound together.’’

Family members unanimously selected “The Rising”, an 80-foot sculpture of 109 intertwining stainless steel strands rising to form a single steel rod that reaches skyward. It is the work of Frederic Schwartz, an internationally-known Manhattan architect who designed the new Staten Island Ferry Terminal located at the tip of Manhattan and founded the THINK team, a group of architects whose design was selected as a finalist for the redesign of the World Trade Center.

Rosaleen O’Neill, whose son Sean was killed in the World Trade Center attacks, said that she was very moved by Schwartz’ design, which she described as a “shining cathedral reaching to the sky.’’ At the time of the attack, Sean O’Neill was 34 and a broker for Cantor Fitzgerald. He had been newly married and his wife was pregnant at the time with their now 2-year-old daughter, Sean.

Rosaleen O’Neill said she met the County Executive at an event and was asked to serve on the committee after she told him of her son. “I am very proud to have been part of this process and to be living in Westchester County. Several of the designs were very nice, very well done, but this will be a stunning memorial that people will come back to see more than once.’’

O’Neill and other family members chose “The Rising” from among 37 designs submitted to the county. Family members were advised by planners, park officials, art and architectural experts. The memorial is scheduled to be unveiled September 11, 2005 at the county-owned park in Valhalla.

Spano said that it was important that family members be the ones to choose the design. “I told them, this was their memorial and that they needed to be involved in each and every step along the way,’’ he said. “I think we succeeded in not only getting a world class design, but one that family members felt conveyed their feelings.’’

Schwartz, who has won a number of major national and international design competitions, said as a resident of lower Manhattan he was deeply affected by the September 11 attacks and wanted to design a memorial to honor the people who lost their lives and give hope to their loved ones. “Architects have a moral responsibility to help heal these wounds,’’ said Schwartz. “Poets write, painters paint, this is my way of giving back.’’

Schwartz, who is donating his time to the project, said that it was important to him to design something that expressed the immensity of such a loss while still conveying a sense of hope. “I wanted to do something to honor each person individually and unite them together with their community,” he said.

The memorial will include the names of the 109 Westchester residents who died, the communities in which they lived and a quote from their loved ones. The words will be engraved along the outside of the memorial’s circular base. The rods will extend from the base like the spokes of a wheel before reaching up and intertwining. Perennial plantings will surround the base, with the Kensico Dam as the backdrop.

Schwartz, who received the prestigious Rome Prize in Architecture in 1985, founded THINK, a team of international architects who designed the breathtaking latticework twin towers selected as one of the finalists for the redesign of the new World Trade Center. Herbert Muschamp, architecture critic for The New York Times, called the design “a work of genius” and a “towering affirmation of humanism in modern times.’’ In October of 2003, as part of the Smithsonian Museum’s National Design Awards, Schwartz was honored at the White House for his work at Ground Zero.

Spano first announced his idea for a 9-11 memorial in his April 2002 State of the County address. The county set aside $150,000 for the memorial and another $50,000 will come from a state grant obtained by former Assemblywoman Naomi Matusow.

Requests for proposals went out to artists Sept. 2003 and by the Jan. 15 deadline the county had received 37 proposals from across the country and one from an artist in Valencia, Spain.

Committee members involved in the selection process included family members Rosaleen and Mary O’Neill, Juliette Brisman, Helen Friedlander and Linda Pohlman. Consulting on the selection were Mona Chen, of the MTA Art for Transit Program; Lucinda Gedeon, Director of the Neuberger Museum; Janet Langsam, Director of the Westchester Arts Council, Randy Williams, Manhattanville College Art Department Chairman and John Sullivan, Architect.

First runner up in the selection process was Yorktown Architect Paul Willen and his Woodlands Team. They proposed a “Path of Remembrance” bordered on one side with a 3-foot high, 120-foot long L-shaped “Wall of Remembrance” with plaques honoring each of the 109 victims. It also featured a classical labyrinth lined with low shrubbery, culminating in a circle of columnar trees.

Selection Committee member Mona Chen, of the MTA Art for Transit Program, said while both proposals were impressive, committee members were immediately drawn to “The Rising.” She called the project “awe inspiring” and “unique.’’ “It worked on so many levels, the artistic, the practical, the emotional. It is visually powerful in a simple and elegant way,’’ she said.


May 6th, 2004, 02:32 PM
An 80-foot-high memorial by New York architect Frederick Schwartz will consist of 109 strands of stainless steel that sweep upward from the ground, then meet and weave together to form a single column in the air.

A view from beneath.

Lessons on vision from New York (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/05/06/DDG926EURM33.DTL)

May 13th, 2004, 03:02 PM

May 13th, 2004, 11:05 PM
Frederic Schwartz also submitted a WTC site memorial design:

February 19th, 2005, 11:28 PM
February 20, 2005


Raising 'The Rising'

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/v.gifisionary thinking is wonderful, but when a vision makes the leap to real life, there are rules to consider.

A particularly startling example of this principle has emerged in Westchester, where the architect of a 9/11 memorial planned for Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla recently delivered some bad news. The architect, Frederick Schwartz, announced that the memorial, a soaring steel sculpture called "The Rising," would have to be redesigned to account for a significant but previously underappreciated factor - gravity - and that this re-engineering would cause the cost of the project to swell beyond anything he or anyone else had expected.

Mr. Schwartz had said that the memorial could be built for less than $200,000. He now says he needs $900,000, because an engineering study found it was necessary to replace 3/4-inch cables in the original design with thicker, more expensive stainless steel rods entwined in a more complex way. Without this fix, he said, the memorial could collapse.

Many people expect that "The Rising," the unanimous choice of selected victims' families in a design competition, will be an appropriate and inspiring tribute. It consists of 109 steel strands, one for each Westchester resident who died on 9/11, that ascend from a circular base and intertwine into a column topping out at 80 feet .

"The Rising" is a brilliant combination of the literal and metaphorical, lovely to look at but not intuitively stable - imagine a maypole without the pole, with steel strands for ribbons. Anyone looking at the artist's rendering (go to westchestergov.com (http://westchestergov.com/), and follow the "9/11 memorial" link) could be excused for wondering how it could possibly stand up. Mr. Schwartz was free to insist that it would, but he should have figured it out with an engineer first. He finally did so, but not until after he had won the competition and had told the county executive, Andrew J. Spano, that he could make "The Rising" rise for under $200,000.

Mr. Schwartz, who is donating his time for this project, is no amateur. He is the founder of the Think team, the group of architects that submitted the runner-up master plan for the redesign of the World Trade Center, and the designer of the new Staten Island Ferry terminal and another 9/11 memorial in New Jersey. But his apparent inattention to details and unquestioning acceptance of fabricators' estimates seem to have contributed to the problem, as did Mr. Spano's deference to Mr. Schwartz's expertise.

Few subjects are more sensitive than 9/11. The 109 Westchester families who lost relatives that day deserve a fitting memorial, and it is tempting to avoid troubling them any further by just giving Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Spano, the main force behind the project, the extra money they want. But it seems reasonable to expect a few things in return.

Mr. Schwartz, who helped create this mess, needs to take the lead in resolving it - by accepting hard questioning from lawmakers and the news media, and by participating generously in a fully open process of redesigning, bidding and construction.

County legislators need to keep a close eye on things, making sure that their legitimate oversight duties are not hindered by undue deference to 9/11 sensitivities - or to the sensitive Mr. Schwartz, who huffed about "insulting" questions at a meeting with legislators last week, insisting that under no circumstances would the design be significantly altered or the dedication date postponed. Creative passion and stubbornness are fine, we suppose, but it would help Mr. Schwartz's credibility if he got his numbers somewhat straight before playing the aggrieved-artist card.

Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Spano have learned the hard way that the devil is in the details. It is crucial, for the families' sake, for them to get this memorial right the second time.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)