The Design and Structure of One World Trade Center and its Environs: A Visual Persuasion Analysis

By Richard Bello, Frances E. Brandau and Terry Thibodeaux.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The appeal of many designed structures that act as memorials is often primarily visual. Because the terrorist attacks of September 11, 1991 were on such a scale that they resulted in a paradigmatic shift in the way many people from around the world think and feel about terrorism, we chose to examine the persuasive messages inherent in the recently constructed One World Trade Center in New York City, as well as its immediate environs. These include the Center itself as well as the 9/11 Memorial Plaza and Museum. More specifically, this paper uses the theoretical work of Paul Messaris on visual persuasion to analyze these structures for the messages that many visitors to them might deduce. Messaris' key concepts of indexicality, iconicity (and by extension, analogical visual representation), and syntactic indeterminacy are each explained and then individually applied to the memorial elements mentioned above, with an emphasis on what the experiences of typical visitors are likely to be.

Keywords: Visual Persuasion, Urban Planning, Cultural Values

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp.1-9. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 872.866KB).

Dr. Richard Bello

Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA

Dr. Frances E. Brandau

Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA

Dr. Terry Thibodeaux

Chair, Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA

Terry Thibodeaux is Chair and Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Sam Houston State University.