The main complaint about this Remembrance Garden is that there is no garden. Two steel girders from the destroyed World Trade Center stand vertically on pedestals within a concrete slab shaped like the site of the World Trade Center. The pedestals are set within squares of stones that correspond to the outlines and locations of the of the World Trade Center Twin Towers #1 and #2 within the World Trade Center Site. The outlines and locations of the other buildings of the World Trade Center are designated by darker concrete within the slab. There is no real synthetic landscape. Only a few ash, cottonwoods, pines and junipers are scattered about.
This might be the most perfect landscape I have ever seen.
Please don’t get me wrong. I appreciate good landscapes that do what they were designed to do. Most of the prettiest are designed to make spaces more appealing. They make our homes more homey. They make our offices more comfortable. They shade streets and parks to make them cooler during warm weather. Whatever landscapes are designed to do, they should do it well. That is precisely what is demonstrated so perfectly by the landscape, or lack of synthetic landscape, at the September 11 Remembrance Garden of Winslow in Arizona.
This is not a comfortable space. It is not intended to be. A bit of shade might be nice during the hot summers in Winslow, but would detract from what this space is set aside for. The starkness and harshness are important here. There is nothing to distract, nothing to obscure, nothing to interfere with what the Remembrance Garden is designed for.
The Remembrance Garden is located outside of the eastern edge of town and on the western edge of the Painted Desert. It might have benefited from more of a synthetic landscape if it had been located in town. A few trees and evergreen shrubbery might have been useful to soften any urban surroundings. Actually, the girders were temporarily located in a lightly landscaped area when they first arrived in Winslow, and then moved to this site a bit later. Despite the complaints of a few insensitive tourists, it is hard to believe that this setting and landscape were not very thoughtfully planned out.