Architecture and engineering at the 9-11 Museum

When I visited the 9-11 Museum about two weeks ago, I had a hard time reconciling two competing emotions. I was fascinated by the architectural and engineering feats I could see, yet I was only seeing evidence of those feats because of a horrific attack. The horror of that day is well represented, as are the heroes living and dead.


The last beam removed from the World Trade Center site is the attraction in this section of the museum’s main level. From an architectural and engineering standpoint, however, the far wall is more interesting. Called the slurry wall, it was the answer to the problem posed by setting a massive foundation so close to the Hudson River. Workers dug a massive trench which was filled with clay and water, or slurry. The slurry stabilized the trench, allowing the workers to pump in concrete. The heavier concrete filled the trench from the bottom and displaced the slurry, according to museum signage. Once the concrete solidified, cables were pushed through the wall and anchored in bedrock.


South Tower grillage. The museum’s signage described the grillage as a way to distribute the weight of the tower’s columns.


Another view of the South Tower grillage.




A commemorative keyring given to WTC workers upon the completion of the towers. The antenna on the North Tower was added later — because the size of the towers interfered with signals from local television stations.

Part of the North Tower antenna at the 9-11 Museum

Part of the North Tower antenna, recovered at the site.


2 responses to “Architecture and engineering at the 9-11 Museum

  1. Thank-you for these pictures! I’ve been wrestling with a lot of emotions about that day lately. It hit my family really hard, but it is good to remember all of the heroes who rose from it!

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  2. Thank you! I’m glad to share them. Almost 14 years later, that terrible day still feels recent.