National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion
A space for reflection


Architecture, Interior Architecture


An inescapable reality of many memorials today is that while they commemorate emotionally significant and sometimes painful events, they must often do so in jarring proximity to the very ordinary hustle of everyday life. The 9/11 Memorial Pavilion must navigate these two worlds as it prepares the visitor to remember that tragic day as well as return to their daily activities afterwards.

Technical details

Museum & Gallery, Religious Space & Memorial
New York, New York, USA

National 9/11 Memorial


Associate Architect: Adamson Associates

53,000 sqft
Design Architect, Interior Architect


The design of the Memorial Pavilion embodies a careful reaction to the horizontal character of the the plaza design, while also providing the area with a lively organic form that allows the visitor to imagine the site and city in a broader sense.  As the only building on the memorial grounds, the Pavilion orients and contextualizes the visitor experience of the memorial by providing a place of physical encounter.

Wrapped in reflective glass and metal panels, the Pavilion creates a naturally occurring threshold between the everyday life of the city and the uniquely spiritual quality of the Memorial and Museum.

With its low, horizontal form and its uplifting geometry the Pavilion acts as a bridge between two worlds: between the Memorial and the Museum, the above and below ground, the light and dark, between collective and individual experiences. Inclined, reflective and transparent surfaces encourage people to walk up close, touch, and gaze into the building.

The Pavilion’s jewel-like, striped façade was developed in collaboration with the Client to allow the building to have a strong resonance for the visitor while also providing visual and architectural connection to the surrounding urban environment. The flat plane of the Memorial Plaza is pierced by the glass Atrium of the Pavilion, which allows visitors to enter the below-grade Museum and bring with them sunlight from above.

Once inside, visitors look out through the Pavilion’s atrium to see others peer in, and begin a physical and mental transition in the journey from above to below ground. Within the atrium there stand two structural columns rescued from the original towers. Although removed from their former location and function, they mark the site with their own original and powerful gesture.

The Pavilion follows the Memorial's Sustainability Design Guidelines. As a result, the Pavilion received a LEED rating of Gold. The Pavilion features a number of sustainable features including optimized minimal energy performance, daylight and views, water efficiency, wastewater re-use, low emitting and locally sources materials and fabricators wherever possible.

The Pavilion is part of a complex and dynamic project site that includes the Memorial itself as well as a web of transit infrastructure, office, commercial, and cultural facilities; its design, development, and construction required rigorous coordination between Snøhetta and a multitude of project partners and consultants, including local, state, and Federal agencies as well as multiple design and construction teams.

Snøhetta was commissioned to design the Pavilion in 2004; in the years since, the program has changed several times, however it has remained a cultural facility dedicated to visitor comfort and orientation.