Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee Selects Design

Tuesday night at Newton City Hall, the design jury of the Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee, Inc. convened to select the final design for the memorial to the Newton residents killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  Mark Sangiolo, an architect and Upper Falls resident, submitted the winning design.

photo courtesy of Jordan Hember (

The selection of Sangiolo’s design followed presentations by him and three other architects: Susan Israel of studio2sustain and Anatol Zukerman, both of Newton, and Elena Kalman of Elena Kalman Architect, Stamford, Connecticut. The jury had time to question the architects, reflect on the designs, and listen to jurors’ commentary.

Among the most moving of the comments was provided by Newton fireman Jay Bourgeois, who participated in rescue operations at the World Trade Center site. Bourgeois explained that he was voting for Sangiolo’s design because it plainly referenced the day when thousands died. Fifty years hence, Bourgeois explained, no one will encounter Sangiolo’s monument and wonder what it represents.

Sangiolo’s work incorporates symbols of each of the three September 11 sites: two granite tables oriented in the same manner as the Twin Towers; an outer boundary shaped like the Pentagon; and a third element symbolizing the flight path of Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. In addition, the granite tables will sit on stone cut into the shape of the Roman numerals for 9 and 11: IX and XI.  These numbers can be read as 9/11 from either front or back. Inscriptions will appear on top of the tables and possibly also in the monument’s floor.

“I think that Jay put into words what a lot of us were sensing about the four, very different, very impressive designs,” said Sande Young, the chairman of the Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee. “But no one else could have stated it as movingly as Jay.”

Prior to the presentations, the thirty jurors, which included Newton residents, city officials, a family member of one of the Newton victims, and representatives of the Newton Police Department and the Newton Fire Department, toured two proposed sites for the memorial. One site sits on City Hall property. The other is on the other side of Commonwealth Avenue from City Hall.  A decision on the final site is not expected until the Fall.

The Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee is a non-profit corporation founded by Newton residents to raise money for the creation and permanent maintenance of a memorial to the Newton residents and others who died on September 11.  It has applied for tax exempt status from the I.R.S.