Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Crescent of Embrace Has "Evolved"

This is good news:
The designer of the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County has changed the controversial crescent shape that was included as a major element.

The crescent of trees has now been expanded into a rough circle that surrounds the bowl-shaped piece of land where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.
This is something that simply had to happen.

My post about the original design is here.

UPDATE: It would seem the memorial hasn't evolved enough yet:
The redesigned flight 93 memorial, announced today, still contains all of the features that made it a terrorist memorial. Architect Paul Murdoch's infamous red crescent is still there, still planted with red maple trees, still inscribed in the exact same circle as before, and with the same two crescent tips still intact. Thus the crescent bisector defined by these crescent tips is also the same as before. It still points almost exactly to Mecca, making the crescent a Mihrab (an Islamic prayer station, where the believer faces into a crescent, towards Mecca, to perform his ritual prostrations). The design still incorporates a separate upper terrorist-memorial wall, centered precisely on the red-maple crescent. There are still 44 translucent blocks on the flight path to the crash site, matching the total number of dead, instead of just the forty translucent blocks that are dedicated to the forty murdered Americans. Lastly, the Tower of Voices part of the memorial is still an Islamic prayer-time sundial.
Alec Rawls' explaination is quite detailed. Read it all.

Ace comments:
Some will say this is just looking for offense, trying to find symbols where they're not actually present. Nonsense. The entire memorial is abstract; it is designed precisely as a symbolic tribute.

If all of these little "secret features" of the memorial mean nothing, why is the designer so unwilling to change him? Why does he not just say, for example, "Ah, yes... I didn't intend it, but I do see where you might be a bit uncomfortable with the four additional translucent blocks. Let me just take them out. They didn't mean anything, anyhow."

When supposedly inadvertant and accidental bits of symbolism are defended for no good reason, I begin to doubt the inadvertance and accident of it all.
Perhaps Mr. Murdoch should be removed from the project. At the very least further 'unfortunate diversions' seem in order for the ever sensitive Mr. Murdoch and his design.


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