Jury picks Israeli-born architect to design 9/11 memorial

new york (ap) | A design by a young Israeli-born architect and a Berkeley-based landscape designer was chosen for the World Trade Center memorial after an eight-month competition that drew more than 5,000 entries from around the world, officials announced.

The “Reflecting Absence” memorial, created by designers Michael Arad and Peter Walker, was chosen by a 13-member jury of artists, architects and civic and cultural leaders. The winning memorial was announced Tuesday, Jan. 6, by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency overseeing the rebuilding of the site.

The reflecting pools will mark the footprints of the World Trade Center towers. The development group said a revised version of the memorial will be unveiled next week, with significant changes that add trees and greenery around the footprints and expose the slurry wall, the last surviving piece of the trade center.

The design previously had a vast open plaza marked by just a few trees, but will now include “teeming groves of trees, traditional affirmations of life and rebirth,” said jury chairman Vartan Gregorian of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

“The result is a memorial that expresses the incalculable loss of life and its regeneration,” Gregorian said.

Still, the memorial drew an icy reception from some victims’ families, who accused the jury of ignoring their input during a hasty deliberation and said the design failed to convey the horror of the attack.

Michael Arad is the son of former Israeli ambassador to the United States Moshe Arad. The architect has worked for the New York City Housing Authority and for a private firm.