On Sunday, as more than 1,200 relatives and friends of the dead - and President Obama - strolled through the Pentagon Memorial they designed, the couple walked to Independence Park with their boxer, Zoe.
Reflections of 9/11 are intensely personal, Beckman said, and they try to follow the spirit of the memorial they designed. They don't need to hear political speeches to remind them how to feel.
"When the design contest was advertised, the families put out a mission statement: Create a place that makes you think but doesn't tell you how to think," she said. "This resonated with us because Sept. 11 was experienced in so many different ways. There's no way to sum it up in a single image. So we focused on creating individual spaces for each victim, contemplative places for the families."
The winning design Beckman and Kaseman put together consists of 184 benches and reflecting pools, one for each victim, each with an engraved name.
"Instead of one, it's 184 individual memorials," said Beckman, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College. "We didn't want to spell out what happened, but spark clues that would enable a visitor's own interpretation."
For example, each bench is aligned to follow the trajectory of the plane as it approached the Pentagon. Benches that point outward represent Pentagon employees who perished. Benches that point toward the Pentagon represent passengers on the plane. There are no benches for the terrorists.
The couple established their company - Kaseman Beckman Advanced Strategies - in 2002 in New York City. After winning the Pentagon memorial design bid in 2003, they moved to Alexandria, Va., to oversee the project. They came to Philadelphia in 2006, adopting the city as a launch point for work from New York City to Washington. Their projects include the design of the Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial in Texas, but completion awaits final federal approval.
In Philadelphia, Kaseman, 39, and Beckman, 38, both teach at the University of Pennsylvania, where they are in the midst of design work on a major pedestrian project.
On Sunday, Beckman said she was pleased to hear that victims' families lingered for more than an hour at the Pentagon Memorial after the ceremony. It was enough to feel that; she didn't need to see it.
"I'm sure emotions are running quite strong today," she said. "And I'm glad there is a place to accept them."
Contact staff writer John Shiffman at 301-320-6655 or email@example.com.