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WTC Memorial Mock-Up, or: The ¼ Garden
Following are some screen captures from this short movie of a partial mock-up of the WTC Memorial undergoing some technical tests.

World Trade Center Memorial Full-Scale Mock-Up Test

World Trade Center Memorial Full-Scale Mock-Up Test

From CBC.CA: “The mock-up sits north of Toronto in Richmond Hill, Ontario, in the backyard of Dan Euser, a design consultant specializing in water features. Euser has built the working model using wood framing, 300 sheets of plywood and three 10-horsepower pumps to send a beaded veil of water over a wall more than eight metres high. The model simulates a corner section of the memorial, which according to plans, will feature nearly 500 metres of waterfall surrounding the void left by the Twin Towers.”

World Trade Center Memorial Full-Scale Mock-Up Test

World Trade Center Memorial Full-Scale Mock-Up Test

Says Michael Arad: “It's a magical moment to see it realized.” Indeed. Terrifying, too, or so we imagine that one particular instant when just a final half counterclockwise turn of the water main faucet separates months of toil from complete formal and structural failure or ecstatic success.

“Will it work? Will the thing hold?”

Or when that initial cascade has a mere quarter inch to go before it tumbles down the precipice and then realizing, for the first time, whether all those pretty vector 3D models translate into a monstrous stillborn or jubilation.

“The fucking thing works!”

World Trade Center Memorial Full-Scale Mock-Up Test

It's a moment of tension and gravity. In which case, it's sorta fun to imagine the mock-up test in terms of Classical Greek dramaturgy. As in Oedipus at the brink of discovering his true, cursed nature, a nanosecond away from ignorance and into clarity. Or as in Achilles: his eyes meeting Penthesilea's, recognizing suddenly of the Amazonian queen's great beauty, the warrior falls in love with her but the deathward, plunging tip of his sword lies presently one angstrom away from her throat.

Fortunately, these kinds of tests hardly ever become grotesquely tragic. Technical problems are usually minor: “The finicky nature of a large-scale water feature made it necessary to build a full-size mock-up [...]. Euser has had to fiddle with minute details so that water from the finished fountain will not splash visitors, be blown around on windy days, roar loudly, clog up with leaves or freeze in the winter.” But such things are eventually, if not quickly, resolved

World Trade Center Memorial Full-Scale Mock-Up Test

And now we wonder what has become of the mock-up. Dismantled? Languishing in Euser's backyard as an accidental, one-of-a-kind addition to his garden?

Or better yet, transfered to The ¼ Garden, where it joins our growing collection of full-scale mock-ups of memorials. There are the mock-up granite slabs for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Like Kubrickian monoliths. Some mock-up chairs for the Oklahoma City National Memorial. No flowers, photos, or other memento mori around, just a kindergarten class resting from their impromptu outing. There is the Princess Diana Fountain. With no trees nearby to clog its drains with leaves and no klutzy tourists slipping, it works brilliantly. And several permutations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the FDR Memorial. On a wheelchair in full view. A partially visible one. Completely hidden. Standing. No cane, with a cane, leaning on someone. Products of a cloning experiment of sorts, before one is perfected. Etc.

Appropriated as follies, sterilized of their significance and sanctity as a memorial. And as herms. Rather than Greek iconography -- Discobolus and the likes -- you have these fragmentary structures, encapsulating those moments of convergence between then and thereafter, design and realization, 3D and 4D, utter disaster and utter triumph.

You're allergic to solemnity? You faint at the first sign of nationalist fervor? Averse to symbolism? Then go to The ¼ Garden.
  • Anonymous
  • November 11, 2005 at 7:25:00 AM CST
  • Pruned or its readers:

    Were any of you apart of this chat with Walker?...The transcript is forthcoming, writes the ASLA. It will be interesting to hear people's thoughts--on his thoughts.

  • Alexander Trevi
  • November 13, 2005 at 8:13:00 PM CST
  • The transcript is now available.

    Unfortunately, Pruned did not partake in the chitchat.

  • Alexander Trevi
  • December 7, 2005 at 12:51:00 PM CST
  • An inward leaking cooling tower. I like this analogy.

    In the recent online chat, Peter Walker mentioned that wind tunnel tests were made to gauge the effects of air currents on the falls. But not much else on details.

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