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NEW YORK -- The latest design for the Sept. 11 memorial entrance pavilion has a facade that evokes the World Trade Center's twin towers, and builders still hope the memorial will open by the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
The three-story, asymmetrical glass and steel building is the last piece of the 8-acre memorial plaza at ground zero, a redesign of a building first introduced as a much larger museum space three years ago.
Craig Dykers, architect for the Norwegian architectural firm Snohetta, said the reflective steel facade was inspired by the World Trade Center towers. He said natural light will hit the building at different points of the day and change its appearance.
"At times, you'll see yourself in the building," Dykers said Tuesday at the design unveiling.
The building, surrounded by oak trees between the footprints of the destroyed towers, features a sloping atrium that will shine light down a staircase leading to the Sept. 11 museum. Two trident columns that formed the base of the face of the original towers will stand by a stairway that stood above ground from Sept. 11, 2001, until it was moved last year.
The pavilion, ranging from 57 to 72 feet high, includes ticketing services for memorial museum programs, space for a security area for visitors, a 180-seat auditorium, a cafe and a private room for Sept. 11 victims' family members.
One-fourth of the space will include rooms for mechanical equipment serving the complex, including an adjacent transit hub and the memorial plaza.
The ongoing construction of the multibillion-dollar transit hub and the memorial has become central to the re-evaluation of the budget and schedules of all projects at ground zero. An underground mezzanine for the hub overlaps with part of the tree-covered memorial plaza.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the 16-acre site, is issuing new budget estimates and deadlines by the end of the month for five office towers, a performing arts center, the transit hub and the memorial.
Memorial foundation president Joe Daniels said work on that mezzanine would have to be finished by July 2010 to allow the memorial to open by the 10th anniversary of the attacks. He said opening by Sept. 11, 2011, "is both possible and essential."
The Port Authority has said that date would be a difficult deadline to meet, although the memorial plaza could be open to the public for a 10th anniversary ceremony.