Drawing of Maya Lin's 2002 WTC Memorial idea from the NY Times and, on the right, Reflecting Absence from LMDC

While the purpose of the Times article about selected WTC memorial Reflecting Absence is to explain how landscape architect Peter Walker joined original designer Michael Arad, the real story is about designer and WTC memorial juror Maya Lin. Lin, who designed the Vietnam War Memorial as well as the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, AL, as well as a dreamy Wave Field at University of Michigan, was a supporter of Reflecting Absence. The article also includes her September 2002 idea for a memorial the New York Times magazine commissioned, which bears a "superficial resemblance" to the winning design, mainly the pools where the towers once stood, though reporter David Dunlap stresses that Lin did not commandeer the jury into choosing Reflecting Absence.

greg.org does a better job explaing some of the issues with the minimalism that Lin inspired after her design gained power. But the unfavorable reaction to Reflecting Absence can't but remind us of the reaction when Lin's Vietnam War Memorial design was unveiled; the steering committee for that design wanted to add a statue of the soldiers with a flag at its apex. For more about Lin, watch Maya Lin: A Strong, Clear Vision, an Oscar winning documentary by Freida Lee Mock (an intelligent film, this won the year Hoop Dreams, a more expansive movie about the American dream, race, and class, was not nominated for a documentary Oscar).