9/11 Memorial: The World's 21 Most Powerful September 11 Memorials

Designing a memorial, particularly a 9/11 memorial, can be a challenging yet extremely meaningful process for an architect, designer, or artist. The question of how to sum up the impact of an unimaginable tragedy in a single structure or sculpture has ultimately led to creatively symbolic designs that seek to honor the memories of the victims and serve as places for remembrance and meditation for those left behind. “You try to find a way to honor people,” architect Michael Arad told AD in 2021. “Obviously the deceased are not going to experience any of this but it needs to carry your memories of them.”

Following the tragic events on September 11, 2001, many cities, both in the US and abroad, built memorials for the victims, survivors, and first responders. These symbolic designs were often years in the making, and each offers a unique vision, from large-scale installations to smaller (but no less poignant) memorials and gardens. Many of the projects have faced controversy and criticism, but they overcame the challenges and now serve as lasting parts of the cities they occupy.

In honor of the 22nd anniversary of 9/11, AD has gathered beautifully designed tributes from New York to Italy. Conceived by some of the world’s leading architects, artists, and landscape designers, each of these moving memorials is a powerful remembrance of one of America’s darkest days.

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