MIT architecture alumnus Paul Spreiregen (B.Arch. 1954) says the best way to memorialize the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is to hold design competitions to create public monuments in New York City, at the Pentagon and in the Pennsylvania countryside.
Spreiregen, an architect, organized the competition to select a design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., in the early 1980s, and says the process could be repeated for Sept. 11 memorials. That competition, which brought in almost 1,500 designs, included two prominent MIT architects on the eight-person jury.
In a guest opinion column for the MIT Alumni Association web site, Spreiregen writes that the effectiveness of a public memorial lies in its power to make people think. Open competitions to solicit design ideas provide a way to commemorate both accomplishment and tragedy, he says.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 11, 2002.