Final Presentation_Andrew Sommerville

Final Poster

The Hopewell Indians that used to inhabit Fort Ancient were known to cover over mounds with large stones that contained the remains of important tribal elders and particularly special objects in order to protect them. My thought was that I would use this same concept and unroll a “carpet” over the entire site to protect the artifacts within. The museum would then sit atop this carpet, having a physical obligation to protect the site. The simple massing and structure is representative of the simple structures created by these tribes. As the carpet covers over the mounds it presses them down and blurs the boundary of interior and exterior that is created by the earth forms, which is represented in the separation of the buildings and the way that you must move between them. This discrepancy is also seen as the carpet enters the building and serves as both the floor and in some cases the roof. The movement throughout the building as well as the procession toward the main carpet allows the visitors to sense the thickness of the carpet that they are standing on. As they pass down the stairs or in the elevator they pass through the carpet’s thickness and are revealed the exhibit for the mounds beneath the carpet.

Schematic Design_Andrew Sommerville

Case Study_Andrew Sommerville

The terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001, left enormous voids to be filled by the World Trade Center Towers. The goal now was to take the site which has now become a national symbol of patriotism and a memorial to people who died, and honor the victims and heroes, while moving on and making the space functional again. The city was sent over 5,400 design proposals for the sacred site, and I was interested in how all of them were different and how each respected and determined what they felt was important about the site.

I first looked at the winner of the memorial competition, designed by New York architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker, who proposed a space that “resonates with the feelings of loss and absence” that were left by the destruction of the Twin Towers. In the site, they proposed two large recessed spaces with pools of water that flow down into them, set in the footprint of each of the towers. Their intent was as visitors descend down into these voids, they will be removed from the sights and sounds of the busy city and understand the hollowness of the place. The details are very interesting as well, including the placement of the victims names. If you want to read more, you can find it at

Another proposal that I found afterward was the proposal by Morphosis. What I found to be truly interesting was the difference between this design and Arad and Walker’s, however, I believe that both do an excellent job of honoring this significant site. Morphosis struggled with the idea of placing another tower in the site, as they were unsure of its appropriateness in the space. What they decided to do then was lay the tower down horizontally, a symbolic falling, that would frame the site and lead to the river. There intent was to make the  site usable once again, and regain the functionality of the site, as a statement to those who did the harm that we will go on. They wanted to build new connective tissue for the dense downtown to regain the program that was destroyed, binding “retail, commercial, office space, and cultural amenities” with an open park space. However, they decided to leave the footprint of the buildings vacant as well, establishing a public plaza on the south tower, and a swollen earth structure on the north that houses a historic museum underneath. They did however, have a proposal for a tower on the site that would serve as a visible marker in the New York city skyline that would serve to help people navigate the cityscape as the old towers once had. The proposal for this can be found here:

Fort Ancient Site Analysis_Andrew Sommerville