9-11 tribute center, museum exhibit design firm

9/11 Tribute Museum opens to the public

By Lee H. Skolnick, FAIA


After 10 years – and 16 years after the attacks of September 11, 2001 – the 9/11 Tribute Museum has officially re-opened to the public at their new location at 92 Greenwich Street. The expanded center includes exhibits and environmental graphics designed by SKOLNICK Architecture + Design Partnership depicting the events of 9/11, the response, recovery and rebuilding, and global outreach.


About the project


Immediately following the events of 9/11, there was an initial rush to do things at the site; to make a statement; create a mark. Since that time, 16 years ago, our perspective has evolved, as is natural in a situation like this; then, in the horror and the immediate aftermath, we could not focus on how to express what had happened, its meaning, and how we would live our lives from then on… it was too raw. Now, we have an opportunity to look at the past and toward the future, to understand and to contribute to the healing, and to work on making the world a better place.


9/11 tribute center, exhibit design firm


The 9/11 Tribute Museum project is about the time and perspectives that have elapsed and finding a way to contribute in a meaningful and long-lasting way… to use the devastating experience and to move forward to heal and grow, as a people, a city, a country and the world. For our firm, this project came at a time when we felt we could contribute something very meaningful to society, to give back in an appropriate and profound way. Through deploying the mediums of narrative and design, we can engage people in the story of recovery and the transformative power of service to help us emerge from the dark to the light, to empower the world to come together to make a better society. The resonance between the mission and messages and our own transformed desire to participate in a dignified and sensitive way is remarkable.


The Design Intent/Philosophy/Approach features three elements:


•   Dark to Light


•   Jagged to Smooth


•   Solid to Air


9-11 tribute center, museum exhibit design firm



Early on, visitors are led through an experience within which they are surrounded by the darkness, both literally and figuratively, of the events of 9/11. The architecture of the space resonates with that event through the twisting path and the jagged geometry of the displays.


9/11 tribute center, museum exhibit design firm


As visitors move through the spaces and first-hand stories, the environments become more open, softer in their architecture, and visitors move toward the cleansing light… this is the metaphor for the experience.


9/11 foundation, 9/11 tribute center, exhibit designer


A central visual axis runs through the entire exhibit space and allows visitors to see that light beyond, embodied in the inspiration and encouragement to cultivate the ‘seeds of service’ and to contribute to the positive change that giving back can create.


9/11 tribute center exhibit designer


Unified Field, Inc., provided the multi-media experiences for the center and Maltbie, Inc. provided fabrication services.


Click here to read Carl Glassman’s article in the Tribeca Trib, which includes 360 degree views of the exhibit.






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