Alumnus selected as finalist in World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition

AUSTIN, Texas—Norman Lee, a graduate of the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, has been selected as a finalist in the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition in New York City.

Norman Lee
Norman Lee

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation chose eight designs as finalists from 5,201 submitted entries, representing 13,683 people and 63 countries.

Titled “Votives in Suspension,” Lee’s memorial—whichhe co-created along with design partner Michael Lewis—uses panels engravedwith the names of victims to line the walls of a set of subterranean rooms inwhich sets of candles, symbolizing the victims, are suspended from the ceilingon special cables. The distance of each candle from the ceiling corresponds withthe victim’s age at the time of his or her death, creating an “irregularfield of light that both breaks apart into fragments and coalesces as an entirety.”

Lee says the biggest challenge was creating a space that pays homage both to the individual deaths and to the greater tragedy of the World Trade Center attacks.

“In one sense you have the concept of the individual loss,” he says, “and then that’s set in the context of the unprecedented thousands of people who lost their lives…it’s the same event but the concept of loss is very different.”

After graduating from the Department of Art and Art History in August 2000 with a Master of Arts degree in Art Education, Lee took a job with Southwest Museum Services, a Houston firm specializing in the design and construction of museum exhibits.

Photos of “Votives in Suspension,” along with the team’s explanation of the design, can be viewed on the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition Web site.

For more information contact: Bruno Longarini, College of Fine Arts, 512-475-7021.