After a year-long competition, the Flight 93 Advisory Commission selected the design proposal from the team of Paul Murdoch Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz from among five finalists (originally 1100 entries) in September 2005. The design transforms the landscape to a place of healing – both for environmental damage caused by former coal mining and as a place of catharsis for honoring the crew and passengers who sacrificed their lives. Phase I of the Memorial was dedicated on the 10th anniversary of September 11.
The centerpiece of the Memorial plan is the Field of Honor and an allée of Red Sunset maple trees (Acer rubrum) backed by 40 groves, one for each victim of the crash. A circular walkway around the Bowl brings visitors to an overlook of the Sacred Ground where the plane came to rest. The fields leading to the Sacred Ground are planted with native meadow grasses and wildflowers species that bloom from spring through fall. Black granite pavement and a gate, on axis with the flight path, provide a ceremonial entry to the Sacred Ground for family members. Further phases have added a Tower of Voices, an open pillar holding 40 wind chimes whose sounds evoke the memories of those who are honored. At the western end of the curving landform a Portal provides a place of rest and contemplation, defined by walls that frame the axis of the Flight Path to the crash site.
Collaborators: Paul Murdoch Architects, EADS Group, RBA Partners, Sato & Bopanna, MACTEC, HF Lenz Company, Robert Silman Associates, George Sexton & Associates, Biohabitats, Louis Berger Group, US Army Corp of Engineers, Arrow Wallace Pancher, Davey Resource Group and Vanessa Hangen Brustlin