Building the Flight 93 Memorial’s Massive Chime Tower

For architect Paul Murdoch, it was essential to create a design that would work with the surrounding environment, enhancing and contrasting with the natural splendor rather than attempting to overwhelm it.
“I grew up outside of Philadelphia, so I had some familiarity with that part of Pennsylvania, having camped and canoed there,” says Murdoch. “I always loved that landscape.”

Listen to the Wind Chimes Simulation


A Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 Memorial

“We also needed a type of structural engineer who deals with moving mechanisms and dynamic forces, because the chime mechanism is our biggest technical challenge to work out,” Murdoch says.
The tower’s meant to be ever-changing with natural forces, and a one-of-kind experience for visitors at any time of day or season. There are different moods from different conditions on site.
“We’re trying to achieve that in terms of sound because it’s changing with the wind with a lot different qualities with the sound,” he says. “The winter wind is quite severe, at 30 to 40 miles per hour from the northwest, and the rest of the year it comes from different directions and lower wind speeds.”

“Tower of Voices” memorial will honor those lost on 9/11’s Flight 93

Dubbed The Tower of Voices and designed by Paul Murdoch Architects,  the tower will feature 40 wind chimes suspended by corbels (one for each individual lost) cast into a concrete tower. Notably, this will be the first major vertical element in an existing, expansive memorial that is almost entirely flat. The rest of the site, a bowl-like earthwork designed by Paul Murdoch Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects in 2005, is nearly three times the size of Central Park and was designed to encourage contemplation through subtle alterations and restoration of the site’s existing landscape – an old growth field and adjacent wetland. Arup is providing engineering and design consulting to simulate a 3D soundscape of the acoustic experience.

Glass talks to architect Paul Murdoch about his Flight 93 Memorial

Out of all these entries, it was Paul Murdoch Architects – a California-based architecture practice who pride themselves in their poetic approach to sustainable architecture and their mission to shape new activities and experiences for people – who stood apart and won the competition. Subsequently teaming up with landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz, Paul Murdoch’s design preserved the crash site as the central focus of the memorial, going against the creation of a monument on the site.

To honor Flight 93, designers merge land and history

Architect Paul Murdoch has spent more than a decade reflecting on this question. Selected in 2005 from more than 1,000 competition entries, the design he created with his wife and business partner Milena, along with Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, emphasizes subtlety over spectacle. Instead of aiming for a singular iconic form, the team designed a landscape that highlights particular qualities of the site and its history.

Powerful September 11 Memorials Around the World

A memorial is one of the most challenging and meaningful projects an architect or designer can take on. It must be solemn but hopeful, visually impactful but respectful. Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, many cities, both in the U.S. and abroad, have built memorials to the victims, survivors, and first responders. These symbolic designs were often years in the making, and many have faced controversy and criticism. In honor of the 16th 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.

Venture Capital Office Headquarters shortlisted for the 2014 WAN Commercial Award

The office headquarters for a venture capital firm focused on clean technologies is located on Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley, occupying some of the most expensive real estate in North America. Wood, steel and concrete finishes are used to express both the firm’s sophistication and to create a warm, understated office environment, while interior color accents embody the company’s bold entrepreneurship. Although well located for a venture firm, the site’s configuration presented several challenges.

To Achieve a Seamless Transition From the Outside-In, Only Wood Will Do

“This is a very hi-end and high-pressure corporate culture,” says Paul Murdoch, president of the firm. “We knew we needed to create a warm environment. We also needed to provide flexibility regarding the interior spaces. The building has to function as temporary office space for the start-ups being incubated within. And finally, we needed to accomplish this on a very tight piece of property with zoning restrictions.”