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Proposed WTC memorial designs unveiled

From Jason Carroll and Phil Hirschkorn
CNN New York Bureau

Visitors look at a model of one of the eight finalists Wednesday.
Visitors look at a model of one of the eight finalists Wednesday.

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View the eight designs chosen as finalists in the World Trade Center memorial competition.
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CNN's Jason Carroll reports on the WTC memorial design finalists, which all incorporate victims' names and dramatically use water and light.
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An inside look at the competition to design the World Trade Center memorial.
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A complex of angular buildings and a 1,776-foot spire designed by architect Daniel Libeskind was chosen as the plan for the World Trade Center site.
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• Interactive: WTC memorial design finalists 
• Interactive: The winning plan 
• Gallery: History of skyscrapers 
• Interactive: Tallest buildings 
• Special Report: Your proposals 
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September 11 attacks
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The eight designs unveiled Wednesday as finalists in the World Trade Center memorial competition all incorporate victims' names, delineate the fallen Twin Towers' footprints and dramatically use water and light.

The finalists, selected from 5,201 entries submitted on simple poster boards in June, went on display in the Winter Garden atrium inside the World Financial Center, across the street from Ground Zero.

"In these finalists, we have sought designs that represent the heights of imagination while incorporating aesthetic grace and spiritual strength," said Vartan Gregorian, one of the 13 jurors who selected the finalists.

The jury included professionals in the arts, architecture and academia, along with one Lower Manhattan resident and one member of a victim's family.

The memorial will commemorate more than 2,700 people killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the trade center, as well as six people killed in the 1993 terrorist truck bombing of the WTC.

The mission statement also calls for commemoration of more than 200 people killed in the other September 11 hijacking crashes at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

"Our aim has also been to find a design that will begin to repair both the wounded cityscape and our wounded souls, to provide a place for the contemplation of both loss and new life," said Gregorian, president of the philanthropic Carnegie Corp.

Entrants hailed from all 50 states and 62 other countries. While many were amateurs, the finalists are all early-to-middle career professional architects, designers and artists who range in age from 27 to 56.

Five designs were created by teams that reside in New York. Six were submitted by two-or-three person teams.

Each finalist was notified six weeks ago and awarded a $25,000 stipend and a $100,000 budget to enhance their concepts with models, renderings, engineering studies and animations.

All the entrants were anonymous to the jury until last week, when the jurors met and interviewed the finalists for the first time.

Some uniformed rescue workers were pleased that a few of the designs addressed their hope that their several hundred fallen comrades be remembered as a group.

"It would be nice to list them together by the department they were with. They came here as rescue workers, saved thousands of people. It's the right thing to do," said firefighter Jon Speich.

Many September 11 families applauded the designs' potential as places for peaceful reflection.

"I just looked them and felt, 'Wow.' I could see myself in every single one of those memorial ideas," said Monica Iken, whose husband died in the attacks.

But other families held out hope that the memorial would preserve more of the Ground Zero pit, 70 feet below street level.

"They fail to meet our major criteria, which was maximum access and preservation of that bedrock area," said Anthony Gardner, whose brother died in the attacks.

All of the designs include repositories for unidentified human remains. Half of the victims families never recovered anything, and thousands of body parts, some minute, remain in the custody of the city's medical examiner.

The jury is expected to chose a final design by the end of the year.

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