Rini Hurkmans
public space

unrealised / Flower Memorial Garden

Flower Memorial Garden
Proposal for the World Trade Center Site Memorial,
will not be realised.

When confronted with acts of violence, causing the loss of innocent people, many members of a community are driven to bring flowers to the site where the terrible incident took place. This beautiful, human act is meant as a commemoration of the victims, and a gesture of compassion for relatives and beloved ones, who have to deal with senseless loss. It is also a silent but powerful protest against acts of aggression. It is a protest that makes us more aware of the kind of world in which such violence takes place.

Inspired by this heart-warming and so human expression of solidarity, the World Trade Center Site Memorial proposal consists of two floral garlands, a flower glass house and a golden glass pavilion in a garden-like setting.

Each garland consists of 1511 glass lightboxes, in a row of four, constituting two colourful, illuminated footpaths 12 feet wide, framing the footprints of the twin towers. The two footpaths are enclosing two square ponds.

Each lightbox (size: 2 x 2 feet) shows a transparent picture of a pair of hands offering a flower. Each picture is unique, the hands represent the different peoples in the world, and the flowers are of global origin. On each lightbox, the name of one of the 3022 victims is sandblasted. All offering hands are pointed towards the water, as a global gesture to commemorate the individual victims, to support and express compassion for the family and loved ones and as a massive international peaceful protest against these acts of terror. It is meant as a universal act that, in such a colourful form, will create positive human energy for the present and the future.
The water of the two ponds symbolises the neutralization and purification of the fire of evil which destroyed so many innocent lives, and the buildings which once stood so proudly on this place. The reflection in the water of its surroundings, the buildings and the sky will add a strong contemplative and sacred element to the site. Love seats will be placed around the ponds.

From a distance the garlands will always be visible, marking the two footprints day and night. The intensity of the emitting light will be regulated by sensors and in winter a heating system will melt covering snow.

Situated between the two floral paths are a rectangular glass house and a golden glass pavilion in a more organic form.

The glass house (approximately 7,000 square feet) is constructed of glass panels in which transparencies of the same flowers, as presented by the hands enclosing the pond, are visible. The glass house will function as a space where families and loved ones of the victims can gather, commemorate and contemplate. The transparent colourful images of the various flowers on the ceiling and the walls will have the effect of stained-glass windows, giving colour to the space, changing constantly, depending on the weather conditions and the position of the sun. The play of colour and light, caused by the many transparent flowers, presented by people from all over the world, will give the visitor a sense of universal warmth and strength of life.
During the daytime, depending on the sunlight, the inside of the glass house will be bright and colourful, in contrast, the outside will appear dark and will have a more modest character. It will be hard to recognize the image on the glass. Only when light is turned on inside, when daylight disappears in the evening, the glass panels will show their colours and the space will reveal its true beauty to the visitors outside.
The entrance of the glass house is situated on the east side, where the sun rises. If needed, the whole eastern wall can be opened. By entering the space the protruding part of the golden pavilion is visible. With its specific form and colour, it enhances the sacredness not only of what is hidden in it but also of the interior of the glass house itself.

This adjacent golden pavilion (approximately 2,500 square feet) is meant as the final resting place for the unidentified remains. It is a space with its own entrance on the west side. The glass elements consist of yellow-gold stained glass. The colour and its rounded shape have a warm, intimate and protective radiation.

The Memorial Site will be a garden-like environment, all the elements will be accessible by paths through the grass. Liberty Wall will be covered with different climbing plants.

The Flower Memorial Garden is so designed that it shows sensitivity to the spirit and vision of Studio Daniel Libeskind's master plan for the entire site: the water reflecting its surrounding structures, the shape of the floral glass house, and the reference to nature as an affirmation of life.