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Tower of Voices (Part of Flight 93 National Memorial)

The Tower of Voices will be developed in the last major phase of work at the Flight 93 National Memorial, a new national park located in Somerset County, Pennsylvania where United Flight 93 crashed on September 11, 2001. The tower is conceived as a monumental, 93-feet tall musical instrument holding 40 wind chimes, representing the 40 passengers and crewmembers on the plane. It is intended to be a landmark memorial feature near the entrance to the park and a living memorial in sound to remember the 40 through their ongoing voices.

The tower form is conceived as an enclosure that cradles the 40 chimes and opens towards the public plaza on which it stands. The structure will be precast concrete columns with branch connectors that abstractly recall the Hemlock grove at the crash site. Openings between the structural elements allow wind to pass through to activate the chimes, anticipated as aluminum tubes from five to ten feet long. 

As a unique musical feature, the tower requires an equally unusual design process and combination of consultants, including a musician, chimes artist, acoustical engineer and wind consultants. The scale and complexity of 40 chimes, and the variability of wind directions and velocities, requires an interactive process of testing and simulation for determining a final design. A back-and-forth process encourages input from each specialization to inform interdependent decisions and testing. This requires musical tuning theory to establish the right tones, chime mock-ups for 3D recordings, computational fluid dynamic modeling to test tower shapes, wind tunnel testing to simulate site conditions and acoustic simulation in a sound lab to digitally test chime configurations in final tower volumes to create the full effect of all chimes together.

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PROJECT INFORMATION

Location: Shanksville, PA
Owner: National Park Service
Commissioned: 2016
Completion: 2018

TEAM MEMBERS

Paul Murdoch
Milena Murdoch
Eric Cunningham
Miroslav Minkov

PRESS

Inspiration behind the Tower of Voices at Flight 93 Memorial (Video)
Work begins on wind chime tower at Flight 93 tower
Work Begins On Wind Chime Tower At Flight 93 Memorial
93-Foot-Tall “Tower of Voices” to Commemorate 9/11 Victims with Wind Chime Soundscape

"Soundbreaking" for Flight 93's Tower of Voices held
Tower of Voices will rise at Flight 93 memorial in Somerset County
'Soundbreaking' held at Flight 93 Memorial
'Sound breaking' for the Tower of Voices at Flight 93 Memorial Park

RECOGNITION

2015 LEED© Gold, U.S. Green Building Council
2015 Merit Award, American Institute of Architects California Chapter
2012 Architects of Healing Honor Award, American Institute of Architects
2010 Designing for Parks Merit Award for Master Planning, National Park Service
2005 First Place from 1,100 entrants, International Competition Flight 93 Federal Advisory Commission

 
 

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