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Guide to the Michael Arad 9/11 Memorial Papers
2001-2019
 PR 422

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Marybeth Kavanagh and Margo Padilla

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on January 28, 2022
The finding aid is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical / Historical

Michael Arad (1969- ) is an Israeli-American architect who designed the National September 11 Memorial in New York City. Arad, an Israeli citizen, was born in London, where his father Moshe Arad worked as a press attache. Arad later lived in New York City, Washington D.C., Jerusalem, and Mexico City. He also served for three years in the Israel Defense Forces.

Arad received a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College, and a master's degree from Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Architecture. He moved to New York City in 1999 and practiced architecture at the firm of Kohn Pedersen Fox for three years. At the time he submitted his design to the competition for the World Trade Center site memorial, Arad was working for the New York City Housing Authority, designing neighborhood police stations.

Michael Arad's design for the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site, titled "Reflecting Absence," was selected by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation from among more than 5,000 entries submitted in an international competition held in 2003. In April 2004, Arad joined the New York firm of Handel Architects; at this time, the LMDC also chose landscape architect Peter Walker, and the firm of Davis Brody Bond LLP to work with Arad in the realization of the design for the memorial.

The 9/11 Memorial was conceived and designed as a tribute to the 2,977 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center, at the crash site near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing on February 26, 1993. Arad's design, "Reflecting Absence," features twin waterfall pools situated in the footprints of the original Twin Towers. The pools are each surrounded by bronze parapets that list the names of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. They are set within a plaza planted with more than 400 swamp white oak trees. The National 9/11 Memorial opened on September 11, 2011. In 2012, Arad was awarded the AIA Presidential Citation for his work on the National September 11 Memorial.

N.B. When the project was originally conceived by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, it was called the World Trade Center Site Memorial. Currently, the formal name is the National September 11th Memorial, and it is informally known as the 9/11 Memorial. Alternately, it is sometimes referred to as the World Trade Center Memorial, the Ground Zero Memorial, or the Twin Towers Memorial.