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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:45 pm    Post subject: 9/11 MUSEUM RECEIVES LAST WTC ARCHITECTURAL MODEL
From Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:00 am to Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:59 am (included)
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009


The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (NS11MM) today announced that the last original WTC architectural presentation model, created by the architectural firm of the Twin Towers, has been donated by the American Architectural Foundation to the Memorial Museum’s permanent collection. The model was built by Minoru Yamasaki Associates from 1969 through 1971 and is the largest and most detailed of the original series of architectural presentation models of the World Trade Center made by Yamasaki’s office surviving today. Built at a scale of 1:200 and measuring eight by ten feet at the base, with the Twin Towers rising over seven feet high, the model vividly demonstrates the sheer size and mass of the original World Trade Center site.

Memorial & Museum President Joe Daniels said, “I would like to thank the American Architectural Foundation for this tremendous gift. This model has the unparalleled capacity to help tell the first chapter of the World Trade Center story, beginning when Yamasaki first envisioned the design of the towers that would ultimately become such a distinctive signature of the New York City skyline. The model will help visitors to the Museum understand the scale of the Towers and the enormity of the World Trade Center complex.”

Minoru Yamasaki Associates first built the three-dimensional model as a presentation for The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to accurately depict how the sixteen-acre World Trade Center site would look with the completion of the first six buildings. The piece includes replicas of 300 cars and 170 people. Located near Detroit, Michigan, Minoru Yamasaki Associates tapped the talents of precision mold makers working in the automotive industry to help fabricate the model’s plastic components. As a result, the three-dimensionality of the individual pieces and the realism created was unprecedented for architectural models of the period.

Memorial Museum Director Alice M. Greenwald said, “It is significant to include the original Yamasaki model as part of the Museum’s collection. At once part of the historical record of the development of the World Trade Center site, the model also illustrates the immense size and architectural ambition involved in building the Twin Towers. We are thankful to the American Architectural Foundation for this important gift that will help visitors to the future Museum understand the excitement generated by the building of the original site.”

Although the Memorial Museum’s collection contains many literal, physical remnants of the World Trade Center, the Yamasaki model is a survivor artifact of a different sort. “Architectural models are inherently fragile and challenging to maintain,” observed Museum Chief Curator Jan S. Ramirez. “It is a double stroke of exceptional luck and far-sighted stewardship that this outstanding model has outlived the building complex it was created to forecast.”

The architectural firm Minoru Yamasaki Associates was awarded the World Trade Center project in the early 1960’s. In total, Yamasaki had his model fabrication department create over 108 models for the World Trade Center project, three of which were large-scale models. On September 11, 2001, the remaining World Trade Center archives and one of the original models, which had been on view in one of the tower lobbies, were destroyed.

“This model represents the final and most accurate design of the World Trade Center,” said Ronald E. Bogle, President and CEO of the American Architectural Foundation. “It is the only model of its kind in existence and thus has become an historic record of incalculable importance. The unprecedented 2003 restoration of the model was a public/private effort involving a national collaboration of corporations, federal agencies and individual funders. AAF is proud to have been a responsible steward of the World Trade Center model and gratified that we can now make this iconic treasure available to the public through exhibition at the 9/11 museum.”

The American Architectural Foundation acquired the model in 1992-- architecturally and historically valuable in its own right, its symbolic importance dramatically increased after 9/11. But the model’s fragile elements had deteriorated over time and required extensive conservation. In 2002, in recognition of its significance, the conservation project received a $62,000 challenge grant from Save America’s Treasures—a public-private partnership that includes the National Park Service, the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. The program’s private partner, Save America’s Treasures at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, raised the full match from the Alcoa Foundation, which created the exterior coating that gave the buildings their signature reflective sheen. The Museum Loan Network also contributed funds to the project.

“Architectural records are an important part of America’s historic legacy,” said Bobbie Greene McCarthy, Director of Save America’s Treasures at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Housed in museums and collections throughout the United States, the preservation and stewardship of these records plays a vital role in documenting significant buildings, endangered structures, and all too often, lost pieces of our architectural heritage. Save America’s Treasures commends the American Architectural Foundation for its careful stewardship of this treasure and for generously ensuring it an appropriate permanent home in the September 11 Memorial Museum.”

A team of experts in Baltimore, Maryland worked for months to conserve and restore the model, conducting careful analysis of its glues, plastics, paints, and other materials to create the new molds required to replicate and replace missing pieces. New multi-layered photo-etched railings were made to replace missing and badly broken hand rails around the buildings. In total, 85 figures and 54 cars were missing from the model. Replacement pieces were located and carefully matched to the original remaining pieces. Each figure was painstakingly painted by hand in five colors to match the existing figures left on the model. Multiple paint samples were made until the exact match was achieved for the existing cars. After being painted, the figures and cars were added to the model using photographs and existing loss areas to determine original placement.

The model has been featured in numerous exhibitions and is currently on display until January 15 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. At the conclusion of the exhibition, the model will be transported to the Memorial Museum’s storage facility. Due to the model’s size and fragility, it must be transported using a specially-designed double crate system and it will take a seven-member team nearly eight hours to uncrate and install this piece.


The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is the not-for-profit corporation created to oversee the design, raise the funds, and program and operate the Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site. The Memorial & Museum will be located on eight of the 16 acres of the site.

The Memorial will remember and honor the nearly three thousand people who died in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993, and September 11, 2001. The design, created by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, consists of two pools that reside in the footprints of the original Twin Towers, surrounded by a plaza of oak trees. The Arad/Walker design was selected from a design competition that included more than 5,000 entrants from 63 nations.

The Museum will display monumental artifacts associated with the events of September 11, while presenting intimate stories of loss, compassion, reckoning and recovery that are central to telling the story of September 11 and its aftermath. It will communicate key messages that embrace both the specificity and the universal implications of the events of 9/11; document the impact of those events on individual lives, as well as on local, national, and international communities; and explore the continuing significance of these events for our global community.

Donations can be made through and more information can be found at the Memorial & Museum’s website, http://www.national911memorial.org/, or by calling 1-877-WTC-GIVE.


Since its creation in 1943, the American Architectural Foundation (AAF) has consistently sought to educate the public about the power of architecture in their lives. By helping local leaders tackle critical design challenges, AAF serves as a conduit between the world of design and the practical decisions leaders make that shape their communities. In recent years, the AAF has emerged as a leading national resource in providing leadership development programs in design through the highly regarded Mayors’ Institute on City Design and Great Schools by Design. Through these programs, AAF helps leaders use the power of architecture to improve lives and transform communities. For more information, please visit http://www.archfoundation.org/

# # #

National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Lynn Rasic/Michelle Breslauer, 212-312-8800
American Architectural Foundation, Robin Buckley, 703-533-9805

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