Michael Arad

Refl ecting Absence, 2003

9/11 Memorial Museum Public
Michael Arad, Reflecting Absence, 2003

Michael Arad was a 34-year-old New York City Housing Authority assistant architect who had been designing police stations for the NYPD when the 9/11 memorial design competition jury chose his entry out of 5,201 from around the world. It was called “Reflecting Absence” and sprang not from the site itself but from a stone quarry he’d come across in South Orange, New Jersey. “There was just something very beautiful and evocative about it, because it had that clearly traced-out absence of all the rock that had been excavated out but was softened by the water and by the trees,” he recalled.

Michael Arad portrait
Michael Arad, Reflecting Absence sketch, 2003
Michael Arad, Reflecting Absence, 2003