Image: Artist's rendering of World Trade Center memorial
Dbox for Lower Manhattan Development Corp. via AP
This rendering shows lush greenery incorporated around the World Trade Center memorial design, which initially was to have a few scattered pines.
NBC News and news services
updated 1/14/2004 1:33:51 PM ET 2004-01-14T18:33:51

A revised World Trade Center memorial will add lush greenery and park plazas around the sunken, reflecting pools that mark the collapsed towers’ footprints, the project architect announced Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show.The revision also includes an underground museum that will display twisted steel beams from the towers, a crushed fire truck and other artifacts from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.A stone container at the bottom of one of the building’s foundations will contain remains of unidentified victims of the attacks.Michael Arad, the city architect whose "Reflecting Absence" was chosen last week, was joined by his new partner, landscape architect Peter Walker. Calling the greenery "a small forest in the middle of the city," Walker said it allows the memorial to be "more reverential" by separating it from the city while also providing an open space for the public.A 13-member jury chose Arad’s design to remember the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and 1993 bombing of the trade center. Slideshow: ‘Reflecting Absence’ But officials in charge of rebuilding the site also promised that Arad, a 34-year-old assistant architect at the city Housing Authority, would produce drawings with significant changes to his original proposal.In Arad’s original design, the pools were interspersed with a scattering of pine trees, which Arad said would reflect the height of the towers. But Jury foreman Vartan Gregorian has said the pines would be replaced “with teeming groves of trees, traditional affirmations of life and rebirth.”The jury also recommended that the Tribute in Light, the twin towers of light stretching above the Manhattan skyline to mark the anniversary, be retained, Gregorian said.Architect Daniel Libeskind said that Arad agreed to change the memorial to reconcile it with his original plans for the 16-acre site.Incorporating artifacts, victims' names
The memorial, consisting of two reflecting pools and a paved stone field, will remember all of the victims of the Sept. 11 attack, including those killed at the Pentagon, in Pennsylvania and aboard the hijacked airliners. It will also honor the six people killed in the 1993 bombing at the trade center.

The memorial will be one of two focal points at the trade center site, along with the 1,776-foot glass skyscraper known as the Freedom Tower. Four other buildings are planned where the trade center once stood.

The jury, which included Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin and the widow of a trade center victim, took eight months to pick the winning design from 5,201 submissions.

Families like new look
When eight memorial finalists were announced Nov. 19, reaction was generally negative, with critics complaining that the proposals were too generic and failed to evoke the horror of the 2001 attack on the trade center.

The Coalition of 9/11 Families released a statement Wednesday praising the memorial’s new look, but adding that more work is necessary. Video: ‘Reflecting Absence’ “These revisions show that the Sept. 11 families and the general public have finally been given a voice in this process,” said coalition board member Patricia Reilly, whose sister died in the attack.A ramp leading down to the museum would pass by exposed parts of the slurry wall, the last remnant of the towers’ complex. Family groups had pressed for the wall and the bedrock at the heart of the towers’ foundations to be visible in the final design.Arad said the victims’ names will be arranged in no particular order around the reflecting pools. Rescue workers killed during the terrorist attack will be designated by placement of their agency’s insignia alongside their name.“The haphazard brutality of the attacks is reflected in the arrangement of names, and no attempt is made to impose order upon this suffering,” Arad and Walker said in a statement announcing the changes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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