Michael Arad is an Israeli-American architect who is best known for being the designer of the World Trade Center Memorial. He won the competition to design the memorial in 2004 Arad, an Israeli citizen, was born in 1969 in London, where his father, Moshe Arad, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States and Mexico, was on a diplomatic mission. Arad lived in Jerusalem for nine years. He did his military service in a Golani Brigade commando unit. Arad received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, and a master’s degree from Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture. He moved to New York City in 1999 and worked as an architect at Kohn Pedersen Fox for three years. After KPF, Arad briefly worked for Leclere Associate Architects. When he submitted his design to the competition for the World Trade Center memorial, he was working for the New York City Housing Authority, designing police stations for the New York City Police Department. Arad now works for Handel Architects, which has offices in New York and San FranciscoArad was selected from 5,201 competitors as the winning designer of the World Trade Center Memorial with “Reflecting Absence” – a pair of pools set 30 feet deep in the “footprints” of the downed towers, with cascading waterfalls surrounded by the names of the dead, areas at bedrock level where the public can mourn and family members of the victims can grieve in private, a space for 9/11 relics and a “living park” at ground level meant to symbolize life and rebirth. Ideas for design Unidentified human remains recovered from the World Trade Center site would be interred at the bottom of the north tower footprint at the site’s deepest point, 70 feet underground. At street level, with the help of landscape architect Peter Walker, Arad proposed a cobblestone plaza with moss and grass and planted with eastern white pine trees. “This design proposes a space that resonates with the feelings of loss and absence that were generated by the death and destruction at the World Trade Center,” Arad said in the statement. Initially criticized for the starkness of the design and failure to differentiate the civilian victims from those who died in the line of duty, Arad presented a revised version in conjunction with Walker. The high cost of the project, originally estimated at $1 billion, also sparked controversy.Contact a speaker booking agent to check availability on Michael Arad and other top speakers and celebrities.