Michael Arad, whose "Reflecting Absence" proposal won the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, has joined the firm of FHL board member Gary Edward Handel. In the New York Times Arad said of Handel, "It's almost like a shared DNA. I felt that I could confide in him and that we would be able to work together very well." Handel Architects will now hold the memorial design contract with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. In the New York Times Handel said, "The opportunity to use your skills to contribute to such an important project is something you just can't walk away from.… It will have first call on all of our time."
Gary Edward Handel is a founding board member of Friends of the High Line. His work advocating on behalf of the High Line's preservation and reuse has been crucial to FHL's success, and his vision and expert guidance played a major role in the success of the "Designing the High Line" ideas competition. Since 1999, Handel's firm has donated thousands of hours of pro-bono assistance to the High Line project. Ed Tachibana, an architect at Handel Architects, designed FHL's new Meat Packing District office and designed and produced FHL's 2002 "Reclaiming the High Line" exhibition at the Municipal Art Society.