At the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, construction will soon begin on a 93-foot tower to commemorate the 40 lives lost in the hijacked plane that crashed into the countryside on September 11, 2001.
Dubbed The Tower of Voices and designed by Paul Murdoch Architects, the tower will feature 40 wind chimes suspended by corbels (one for each individual lost) cast into a concrete tower. Notably, this will be the first major vertical element in an existing, expansive memorial that is almost entirely flat. The rest of the site, a bowl-like earthwork designed by Paul Murdoch Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects in 2005, is nearly three times the size of Central Park and was designed to encourage contemplation through subtle alterations and restoration of the site’s existing landscape – an old growth field and adjacent wetland. Arup is providing engineering and design consulting to simulate a 3D soundscape of the acoustic experience.
The tower will be situated at the end of the memorial’s circular path, and serve as the new entrance and exit to the memorial.
Murdoch chose to work with sound, since, in his words, “The last memory that many [family members] have of the people on the plane is through voices on those phone calls,” according to Arup’s blog.
Aerial view of the Field of Honor, with Memorial Plaza visible at the top of the image and the visitor center on the right. (Courtesy Paul Murdoch Architects)
Of the four flights hijacked on 9/11, Flight 93 was the only one that did not fly into its target, the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Instead, on learning of the hijackers’ plan, the flight crew and passengers struggled to regain control, ending in a premature crash into a field near a reclaimed coal strip mine in Pennsylvania, nearly 150 miles from its intended destination. None survived the impact.
Set to open in 2018, The Tower of Voices’ three-dimensional soundscape will be the final element of the Flight 93 National Memorial.