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Thread: Staten Island 9/11 Memorial

  1. #1

    Default Staten Island 9/11 Memorial

    Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island

    "Postcards" Will Be Staten Island September 11 Memorial

    "Postcards" Renderings

    Project Background

    Borough President James P. Molinaro set aside $2 million in capital funds for a memorial to Staten Islanders lost on September 11, 2001. An Advisory Committee was formed, composed of Deputy Borough President Dan Donovan; City Councilmen Andrew Lanza, Michael McMahon, James Oddo; Community Board Chairmen John Antoniello, George Caputo, Lou Caravone; family representatives Sam Cannizzaro, Patricia Henrique, Linda Manfredi, Joanne Modafferi, and architect Vince MacDermot. They selected a site on the St. George waterfront.

    A Request for Proposals resulted in 179 entries from 19 countries. The Advisory Committee narrowed the pool to six finalists, who then refined their designs. The six proposals were exhibited and community opinions solicited throughout the borough, followed by a public forum at the College of Staten Island. The next day, the finalists made presentations to the Committee and answered their remaining questions. The Advisory Committee then discussed the six proposals and selected Masayuki Sono's "Postcards."

    The New York City Economic Development Corporation, which is the agency with jurisdiction over the esplanade site, will contract with consultants and contractors and oversee the project. Laura Jean Watters, COAHSI¹s Executive Director, was responsible for coordination of the panel process as well as providing community liaison and outreach.

    Masayuki Sono's Poetic Proposal

    Architect Masayuki Sono always has postcards in his apartment. Some are sent to friends and family. He writes on others and keeps them. When he wants to make a model, he grabs a postcard. Unlike many young designers, the 32 year-old Sono works out his forms by hand rather than on a computer. Sketches may come first, but his early design process depends on hand-built models. At the public forum on the Memorial Competition designs, Sono held a small one on his palm, turning it to illustrate his points.

    Sono was born in Kobe, a seaport in Japan. For the Staten Island September 11 Memorial, he thought back to the ten years he spent as a boy in Fort Lee, New Jersey. His father worked in Manhattan. He imagined losing him as others lost those they loved on September 11. Through this "painful and scary" process of trying to place himself "in their shoes," he focused on the victims and their families, and what they would want.

    Sono then made sketches and began to test his concepts by building models, models of "even the most stupid idea." He wanted to somehow connect the victims to those left behind. In a serendipitous moment, he realized that the postcard in his hands was more than model-making material. It was a way to send messages of love and remembrance.

    Even in the era of cell phones and e-mail, the postcard continues to be a handwritten communication sent across great distances. Sono liked that it was a commonplace part of daily life. He multiplied its dimensions by 267 to convey the scale of the loss for Staten Island, then gave the postcard origami-like inward folds (as if to keep a personal message private). Sono chose to be abstract and metaphoric rather than literal in his design, to allow each person who experiences it to call on their own memories and interpretation. Twin postcards can be seen as a reference to the twin towers. He placed the postcards side by side, close together at the entrance to form a compressive space. The space widens and releases towards the harbor and the open sky. A view of lower Manhattan is framed by the high walls. He softly bent the upper edges at an angle, transforming simple rectangles into abstractly organic forms in which some see wings of a dove or biomorphic shapes.

    To individually memorialize those who died, Sono designed reachable rows of rectangular "commemorative stamps" for the interior walls. In addition to a name and other facts, each white granite "stamp" bears a profile facing the harbor. When the sun strikes a profile, it will cast a shadow on the recessed granite box behind it. When the wall is shaded, an open slot behind each profile will backlight the profile with daylight. At night, spotlights will substitute for the sun. Shifting light and shadow on the profiles will enliven the surface of the memorial as they mark time and change.

    Given his design, it's not surprising that Sono is an artist as well as architect. He has been in sixty exhibitions in media ranging from watercolor to video. Sono's choice of favorite painter and architect suggest an independent mind. He likes Andrew Wyeth and the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer ("He's my god"), known for his organic use of concrete and expressive design.

    Sono was good at math and physics in school. Sono chose architecture as a way to combine his skills and interests. His father is an engineer of a highly technical sort. Sono himself is at ease with the practicalities of construction. He recognized concrete would be an appropriately long-lasting choice for a waterfront site. He even cast a sample of Portland cement and light-colored sand and aggregate ("not as white as I want") to illustrate the concrete of the memorial, which will be sealed to resist pollution and graffiti.

    As it happens, Sono is in the United States in large part because of a disaster that struck his own hometown. In 1995, while Sono was in a graduate exchange program at the University of Seattle, Kobe was struck by an earthquake. It cost 5,000 lives and displaced 300,000 people. There were no applicants for the University of Seattle/University of Kobe program for the following year, so Sono was awarded another scholarship to remain a second year. After he received his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Seattle, he returned to Kobe to complete his M Arch there. The Kobe he knew was gone. He decided to come back to the United States and work here. Since 1998, he has been with Voorsanger & Associates Architects in Manhattan.

    At the public forum on the Memorial design held at the College of Staten Island, CSI's president, Dr. Marlene Springer welcomed those in attendance. In an allusion to CSI's past as Willowbrook State School, Dr. Springer remarked of CSI that a thing of beauty had come out of what had been a tragedy for many. She held out the hope that something of beauty could come out of the September 11 tragedy as well. "Postcards" promises to be something of beauty for Staten Island. Designed by a talented and empathetic architect, it was chosen by a panel that saw in it a memorial to those lost and a comfort to those left behind. "The first time I saw it, it made me think of the wings of a butterfly," said Patricia Henrique, who lost her daughter Michelle on September 11. "It's about life; new life evolving." By September 11, 2004, "Postcards" will be sending Masayuki Sono's poetic message across New York Harbor.

    Copyright 2004 Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island

  2. #2


    NY1 News
    April 3, 2004

    9/11 Family Members Respond To Plans For Staten Island Memorial

    Family members of some Staten Island residents killed in the 9/11 terror attacks are meeting today with the team that's designing the borough's memorial.

    The $2 million waterfront memorial, entitled "Postcards," will be covered with 9x11 inch tablets featuring facial profiles of the 268 Staten Islanders killed at the World Trade Center.

    But some family members have criticized the design, saying the portraits bear little resemblance to those who died.

    Speaking on New York Tonight, a memorial committee member said the project's designer is open to any comments or criticisms.

    "If there's a part of it that some of the members don't like, they can express this because Mr. Sorno is very accommodating, S. I. Memorial Committee member Patricia Henrique said of the memorial's designer. "He knows that people are not happy with certain things. It's not a portrait; it's a profile. And that's what people have to understand."

    The deadline for families to submit a picture for the memorial was this past Thursday, but dozens of families have still not submitted their photograph.

    Copyright 2004 NY1 News

  3. #3


    Staten Island Advance
    April 18, 2004

    9/11 relatives updated on memorial's progress

    'Postcards' will be unveiled in St. George on Sept. 11 of this year


    With tears, dipped heads and hands clasped near their hearts, roughly 50 relatives of people killed on Sept. 11, 2001, learned more yesterday about the memorial that will pay tribute to their loved ones.

    The presentation about the structure entitled "Postcards," which will be erected overlooking the water next to the Richmond County Bank Ballpark in St. George, brought the memorial to life -- even for family members who showed up with reservations.
    "We're not going to forget the victims of that day, and that's the purpose of this monument," said Borough President James Molinaro, in the Veterans Memorial Hall at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Livingston.

    He announced he had allocated an additional $600,000 to the $2 million project to ensure it will be ready for the unveiling on Sept. 11 this year.

    "I think we have created a memorial that fits the memories of your families," said the borough president, adding he saw the plane hit the second World Trade Center tower from the spot where the memorial will stand.

    Last week, contractors working with the Staten Island Economic Development Corp., broke ground on the construction.

    Shaped like wings outstretched in a gentle V, the monument will look as if it can soar. On the inner side of the 40-foot-high granite panels, individual plaques will have the names, occupations and dates of birth of the victims.

    Silhouettes based on photos of the victims will protrude slightly to cast shadows on their memorial plaques -- an aspect of the design that caused discomfort among some families who said their loved ones looked nothing like the granite outline.

    Architect Masayuki Sono assured family members that designers would work with them until they are satisfied with the renditions.

    During an elaborate slide show, Sono projected multiple views of the structure, explained the construction process and presented a computerized analysis that calculated how light will shine through the slats in the panels at all times of the day throughout the year.

    Sono also explained why the profiles were simple lines rather than more detailed depictions of those remembered.

    "By keeping it simple, it allows us the space to feel and project our own imagination and memory onto the silhouettes," he said.

    Photographs of all but about 20 of the borough's 268 people lost in the attacks have been received, said Laura Jean Watters, executive director of the Council on the Arts and Humanities of Staten Island, who has overseen the project.

    Members of the victims' families seemed pleased.

    "Seeing it here, I can really get a feel for what it's about," said Al Petrocelli, of Huguenot, thumbing through a stack of two-dimensional renditions he received in the mail that he said did nothing to communicate the memorial's distinction or tenderness.

    He said he believes his son, Mark, a commodities broker, will be appropriately honored by the structure overlooking the water with a view of the spot where the towers stood.

    Before the presentation, Salvatore Papasso, of New Springville, pointed disparagingly at models of silhouettes, expressing concern he would not be able to recognize his son, Salvatore.

    "I hope it will turn out right," he said.

    But as he left the hall, Papasso added, "I think it will."

    Deborah Young is a news reporter for the Advance. She may be reached at

    Copyright 2004

  4. #4
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Manhattan - UWS


    9/11 Memorial Being Installed On Staten Island

    AUGUST 16TH, 2004

    Workers started installing a memorial to the September 11 victims on Staten Island Monday.

    The memorial's twin 40-foot, wing-like structures arrived on barges Monday morning from Rhode Island, where they were built. The monument, called “Postcards,” will include granite plaques bearing the name, silhouette, birthday and workplace of each of the 268 Staten Island residents killed in the 2001 and 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center.

    “We're all on the same page,” said Borough President James Molinaro. “We all thought this was the best thing to do. We're giving an opportunity for our children and grandchildren to come and look at this and just to realize what happened that day.”

    The formal dedication of the $2.7 million memorial, on the waterfront in St. George, is scheduled for the third anniversary of the attacks next month.

    “Once it's in place I really and truly can't wait until I'm able to bring my children here and be able to show them the memorial site and actually teach them and empower them with the knowledge of what happened that day, and to really understand that there is no room for hate in this world,” said Linda Manfredi, whose brother died in the attack.

    Copyright © 2004 NY1 News

  5. #5

    Default Lovely Memorial

    I finally visited the Staten Island Memorial on the Fourth of July. It is very impressive. It is called "Postcards". It can be spotted miles away from the Staten Island Ferry. The structure is so white; how is it kept that way? I hope that it doesn't discolor in the future. The whiteness is a major feature. Photos and a biography within for each victim are very touching. This is a lovely memorial as well as a piece of art.

  6. #6

    Default SI Memorial

    I visited the memorial yesterday.

    This is exactly how the WTC memorial should be done, in terms of identfying victims: Give their name, identifier by employee (or otherwise), and date of birth.

    The "treating everyone equally" requirement of the WTC people never sat right with me.

    The Staten Island memorial is quite beautiful and well done.

  7. #7

    Default Architect Sono's alma mater

    The description of the Staten Island 9/11 Memorial is very well done, but includes one error: Masayuki Sono is a graduate of the Master of Architecture program at the University of Washington (not University of Seattle).

    There is no University of Seattle. There is a Seattle University, but they do not have an architecture program.

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