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What Makes the 9/11 Memorial Brass Panels Special?

After the horrific events on September 11, 2001, the ground where the World Trade Center once stood was turned into a memorial site to tribute the lives lost that day. But did you know that the memorial brass panels on the site have a unique feature? 

The names of the 9/11 victims are inscribed on the brass panels at the 9/11 Memorial Site. These panels have built-in heating and cooling systems, ensuring that the panel is neither too hot nor too cold to touch.

Designing the 9/11 Memorial Site

The 9/11 Memorial was built within the 16 acres that used to be where the World Trade Center and the Twin Towers stood. As we all know, the Memorial was built to commemorate the most disastrous event that hit the country.

In 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a state government agency dedicated to rebuilding the World Trade Center, held an international design competition. The agency soon received over 5,000 entries from 63 countries. Landscape artists Peter Walker and Michael Arad won, and their design was built and opened to the public by September 11, 2011.

Arad’s design reflected what he felt strongly about the Memorial. He wanted it to be a public gathering place. It was designed as an open and spacious area for people to come together, as they did during the 9/11 tragedy.

The main attraction of the Memorial is the two pools built on where the North and South towers used to stand. The pools’ water runs continuously, creating the largest artificial waterfalls in the country.

Bronze plates surround the pools. These plates are engraved with the names of 2,977 victims of the 9/11 tragedy and the six victims of the 1993 bombing of the North Tower. The pools represent the feeling of emptiness a person experiences when a loved one passes. The falls speak of the concept of unity, as the water flows in individual streams but ultimately meets at the bottom.

Hundreds of white oak trees surround the pools, with one tree different – the Callery pear tree that survived the 9/11 attacks. The oak trees symbolize life and rebirth, while the survivor tree represents resilience and strength. Outside the plaza, the original Koening sphere was kept where it originally was before the attacks. The sculpture reminded visitors of the attacks and how they survived even after the events of 9/11. 

The main building of the Memorial is the Freedom Tower, also known as One World Trade Center. The tower stands at 1,776 feet tall to commemorate the birth year of America. The building also houses the One World Observatory, which captures the view of lower Manhattan.

The museum houses several artifacts and memorabilia from the towers. Part of these is the two tridents of the towers and the original slurry wall, which was built underneath the towers to retain the water from the Hudson River. (Source: 911 Ground Zero)

The Bronze Panels

Surrounding the two main pools of the Memorial are 152 bronze panels engraved with the names of those who have passed during the 9/11 attacks. The Memorial is expected to stir memories. The bronze panels were well-built and designed to last a lifetime, even with several visitors touching them.

To ensure that the panels were neither too hot to touch during warmer days nor cold during winter, miles of copper pipes were installed underneath. The system was designed by Jaros Baum & Boles of New York and fabricated by KC Fabrications of Gardiner.

The system consists of about 12,000 feet of copper brackets and around 14,000 feet of copper piping attached to the back of the bronze parapets, allowing glycol circulation to either heat or cools it down. The panels’ temperature is maintained within 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the ideal temperature when touched. (Source: Copper Org)

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