Tribute in LIGHT
John Bennett and Gustavo Bonevardi

Architects, John Bennett and Gustavo Bonevardi responded swiftly to the tragic events of September 11th. Their proposal - Project for the Immediate Reconstruction of the Manhattan Skyline - was designed to fill the void in their city's skyline with high-powered lights recreating the form and image of the lost towers. They believed that this reconstruction would also fill the void in the city's identity and help in the healing process. "We're not trying to make a memorial; this is a rebuilding of our city's skyline, of it's spirit." said one of the architects. Mindful that the project be realizable, that it inspire and not interfere with the rescue and recovery effort, they proposed that the installation be near, but directly not on, the actual site; one option, to float the lights in the New York harbor.

Together with their friend, Robert Hammond (a founder of Friends of the Highline, an advocacy group which wants to save the defunct, raised railway running from 34th to 14th Streets near the West Side Highway in New York City), they circulated their proposal amugst peers, politicians and others in a position to move the idea forward. The response was overwhelmingly positive. This was both a professional contribution to the relief effort as well as personal and cathartic reaction to the September 11th tragedies. Bennett said their proposal was "our way of saying 'we're back and you can't hold us down" "Since we can't save lives we tried to respond to public needs with architecture."

John Bennett (M.Arch Columbia University, 1993) and Gustavo Bonevardi (M.Arch Princeton University, 1986) are co-founders of PROUN Space Studio, an inter-disciplinary firm specializing in architecture and digital filmmaking. Their videos have been included in the exhibitions The Un-Private House and Mies in Berlin (including the documentary Mies and Exhibition Design 1926-1945) - both at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Their video MoMA Builds is currently on view at MoMA.

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