A Soaring Memorial

A Soaring Memorial

Postcards, a soaring sculpture in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island in New York City, is a memorial to the 274 Staten Island residents who died in the September 11, 2001 attacks and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The two curved panels, often described as wing-like, frame a view across New York Harbor of the former site of the World Trade Center twin towers. Each is 30 feet high. They include 274 granite plaques, 9”x11” – thought of as commemorative stamps – bearing the names and silhouette likenesses of the Staten Island victims. The memorial, designed by New York architect Masayuki Sono, is named Postcards despite the fact that the two panels clearly resemble large white envelopes.

The great white wings are described in Wikipedia as being “white marble.” This is incorrect. They are glass-fiber composite.

Postcards was built by New England Boatworks of Portsmouth, Rhode Island durign 2004, and unveiled on Sept. 11, 2004. The design was originally conceived as concrete panels, but it was determined that the cantilevered structures would be unable to deal with high wind loads. After structural analysis, a composite of e-glass and vinyl ester resin over a foam core was designed. It was fabricated by vacuum infusion using Reichhold, Inc.’s Hydrex 100-HF, low-styrene, 100% vinyl ester resin, a resin specifically designed for that process. The materials are laid up in the mold dry, and then placed under vacuum. Then, the resin is introduced and forced through the laminated layers of reinforcement by vacuum pressure. This piece had as many as 38 layers in some locations.

By switching from concrete to composite, weight was reduced by 90%, and cost by 30%.

Images sourced as noted.