9/11 Memorial Museum Pavilion

”In some ways, I think this tragedy gave a sense of purpose to people that was very positive. And we tried to translate this feeling into the building.” Interview with architect Craig Dykers of Snøhetta about the 9/11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at Ground Zero.

Craig Dykers, leading partner at the world famous Norwegian architecture office Snøhetta, here shares his personal thoughts on forming and building one of the central places that commemorates the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York.

On this day that changed the world, Dykers was on his way from Oslo to New York, as he recalls: ”The moment our plane was diverted, we were above Long Island - it was the moment, when the second airplane crashed into the tower. We did not know, what it was, but when I looked out of the window, I saw smoke on the horizon.”

On 9/11, Dykers experienced the worst and best of human kind - people killing others and people rushing to rescue those who could be rescued. ”When you confront a tragedy, it is always a transformative experience. You go through different stages of understanding. Obviously the first stage is shock that’s usually followed by a sense of yearning. And then when you move through these circles intellectually, you realize one day that you are alive. And that you have to show the strength of being alive to those around you. This building is meant to be part of this cycle.”

Expanding on the thoughts that went into the building, Dykers continues: ”Designing this building was challenging, as there was no building, when we arrived. None of the skyscrapers you see today existed. It was a non-site without ground to stand on.”

”We wanted a very horizontal building, a very horizontal geometry that complimented the 9/11 Memorial and provided a feeling of continuity. Moreover, we wanted to create for the visitor a sense of descending into the earth, when entering the museum, and likewise ascending back into daily life, when leaving it.”

Snøhetta is named after a famous mountain in Norway. Besides the 9/11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at Ground Xero, the architecture office is world famous for the Alexandria Library in Egypt and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, Norway. Recently, the office has been commissioned to complete the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the restoration of the Grand Palais in Paris, the reconstruction of Times Square in New York City and the museum for the historic cave paintings in Lascaux, France. Snøhetta has also designed the new Norwegian banknotes. From the very beginning in the 1980's, Snøhetta's architecture has been inspired by landscapes, both natural and urban. ”Landscapes are a massive force”, says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, co-founder and director of Snøhetta: "And they are masterpieces, which architects can be inspired by." A longer interview about the architectural philosophy of Snøhetta can be found here:

SNØHETTA has won numerous international awards including the Mies van der Rohe European Prize for Architecture, the Aga Kahn Prize, and has twice won the World Architecture Award for Best Cultural Building. The work of Snøhetta is characterized as having a presence that resonates with its surrounding context. Craig Dykers, a founding partner of the company, served as the Executive Architect for the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion.

Craig Dykers was interviewed by Jesper Bundgaard/ Out of Sync, in New York City in 2014.

Camera & edit: Per Henriksen, Out of Sync
Produced by: Out of Sync, Christian Lund & Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Yona Friedman

    Architecture of Trial and Error

    “Don't forget that very important cities today started by immigration.” Meet the 94-year-old architect behind 'L’Architecture Mobile', Yona Friedman. He here shares the story of how his years as a refugee sparked his desire to make architecture adaptable.

  • Nástio Mosquito

    'Mama Africa' is a Construct

    In this short interview Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito discusses his provocative video work, in which he through three blazing speeches addresses the legacy of the western logic of ownership and debt, not least regarding a construct like ‘Africa’.

  • Nástio Mosquito

    What are You Willing to Die for?

    Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito has been dubbed “the future star of the art world.” He here talks about his invigorating multidisciplinary practice, which investigates universally human characteristics in a teasing, polemic and humorous way.

  • Bill Viola

    Cameras are Soul Keepers

    When video artist Bill Viola was 6 years old he fell into a lake, all the way to the bottom, to a place which seemed like paradise. "There's more than just the surface of life." Viola explains. "The real things are under the surface".

  • 11 Artists

    on Photography

    “We are so oversaturated with images, so it’s about one question: Can I hold you - can I get you to look at an image for longer than a second?” Watch Catherine Opie, Wim Wenders, Jeff Wall and 8 other artists on the power and potential of photography.

  • The Story of Marina Abramović & Ulay

    Legendary couple in performance art – Marina Abramović and Ulay – lived together for 12 years and made pioneering work as a duo. In this extraordinary double interview the artists look back on their relationship – from their first meeting in 1975 until now.

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Nick Cave

    The World is my Skin

    Have you ever wished that you could put on a suit which would open up the imagination and take you to the world of your dreams? In this video artist Nick Cave presents his wearable sculptures, the 'Soundsuits', made from discarded everyday materials.

  • Gerhard Richter

    In Art We Find Beauty and Comfort

    “I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the internet.

  • Daniel Libeskind

    Tribute to New York

    “If you took the whole world and collapsed it into one little ball, you’d find it here, in this city.” Daniel Libeskind, world-renowned architect behind the new World Trade Center site, gives tribute to his city in this short and colourful video.

  • Marina Abramović

    Electricity Passing Through

    For more than 50 years trailblazing performance artist Marina Abramović has used her own body and energy as her main artistic material. In this powerful interview, the artist looks back on her radical practice: “It was like the first woman walking on the moon.”