UB Architecture Professor Semi-Finalist in Competition for 9/11 Memorial in New Jersey Park Across from World Trade Center Site

Release Date: October 27, 2003 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Mehrdad Hadighi, associate professor in the Department of Architecture in the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, has been selected as one of 10 semi-finalists in a design competition for a 9/11 memorial to be constructed in the award-winning Pier A Park, in Hoboken, N.J., across the Hudson River from the site of the World Trade Center.

The finalists were announced last month by a professional jury empanelled by the 9/11 Memorial Fund, an organization of Hoboken city officials, community volunteers and family members of 50 Hoboken residents -- more than from any other New Jersey municipality -- who lost their lives at the World Trade Center that day.

The group is charged with raising funds and overseeing the construction of a permanent memorial to the Hoboken victims on the city's waterfront.

Hadighi's entry, "Space of Reflection," would occupy the space in the Hudson River once claimed by the reflection of the World Trade Center Towers as seen from Pier A. He conceives of its continuous surface being folded in such a way that it would create a new void in the towers' distorted reflection in the river. It would not only "reflect" the loss in a conceptual way, but would offer a space for reflection upon the events of Sept. 11 and the thousands who lost their lives that day.

The seven-acre Pier A Park is the largest and one of the most popular green spaces in Hoboken, and has received awards for design from both the American Society of Landscape Architects and the international Waterfront Center, a nonprofit education and urban planning organization working to help cities develop dynamic waterfronts.

Five of its acres comprise a restored pier that extends from the western bank of the Hudson River. London plane trees and lawn have been planted in manufactured soil on top of the pier and a diagonal path runs from a fountain to a pavilion aligned to offer a magnificent view of the New York skyline, and in particular of the Empire State Building and the former World Trade Center towers.

The park, which is clearly visible from Manhattan's downtown shore, is passed by thousands of commuters every day as they travel to New York City by ferry, Path train and New Jersey transit trains.

Upon the announcement of the competition's semi-finalists, Memorial Fund Co-Chair Rick Evans said, "As we look back on ...Sept. 11, 2001, we also look forward to the day that we will dedicate a permanent, life-affirming memorial on...Pier A Park in honor of the friends and loved ones we lost. With the selection of these highly talented artists and designers, we are a very significant step closer to achieving that goal."

Hadighi is a partner in Studio for Architecture and focuses on architectural research and experimentation, residential design and public design projects. He also curates architectural exhibitions for the Burchfield Penny Art Center and co-directs the Center for the Study of Space at UB.

Hadighi has produced site-specific installations for galleries in Washington, D.C., Buffalo, Ithaca and New York City, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Council on the Creative and Performing Arts. The Architectural League of New York selected Hadighi in 1996 as one of the six Notable Young Architects.

He has taught at Columbia and Miami universities, and also has served as a guest professor and critic at Cornell University, the University of Arizona, the University of Texas/Arlington and in the countries of Korea and Liechtenstein. His work has been widely exhibited and published.

As a semi-finalist in this competition, Hadighi finds himself among the finest designers of public projects in the world. They are Della Valle + Bernheimer Design, a young, Brooklyn-based architectural team recognized for its public architectural projects; dZO (Degre Zero Architecture), a firm of five young architects who have studied and worked in New York, France and Spain, and the acclaimed public works design team of Jackie Ferrara and M. Paul Friedberg, highly regarded for its commercial and residential commissions.

Also, the award-winning FLOW Group, which works in art, architecture, engineering and lighting design; the distinguished urban design team of architect Ralph Lerner and landscape architect Kate Orff; the Jody Pinto and Morris Sato Studio, whose members have collaborated on many acclaimed public commissions; sculptor and public artist Alison Sky, known for work defined by a sensitivity to the specific social, historical and environmental elements of a given site; the public works design team of architect Frederic Schwartz and artist Brian Tolle, and Polish-born artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, best-known for his powerful, large-scale projections on public buildings and spaces,

Additional information on the competition, jurors and semi-finalists can be found at the competition Web site at http://www.hoboken911.com/design1.html.

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