Location: Newtown, CT
In collaboration with Caleb Linville
This proposal attempts to resonate with the personal and collective grief emanating from the events of December 14, 2012, and provide space to reflect on the individual children and educators lost that day.
The memorial is a collection of pathways and landforms that together function as a an aperture, framing lines of sight and connecting the interior and exterior of the memorial space. The site strategy draws inspiration from the existing topography and the contemplative experience of descending from the ‘upper,’ to the ‘lower’ fields, and on to the ponds below. The tiered landscape offers distinct transitional moments at each level, and the opportunity for the memorial to imbue meaning through this sequential descending experience.
Visitors approach the memorial by two primary pathways that connect to the parking lot on the “upper field” and an accessible drop off on the ‘lower field.’ These paths guide visitors through the site and also foreground the geometry of the memorial itself, creating a gradual transition from natural site to built form.
The memorial emerges at the ‘lower field’ where the paths converge at a central gathering space lined with benches and trees. The large, triangular massing subtly shifts the topography to define the memorial’s outermost edges and frame a central gathering space. Only a narrow opening allows visual access into the site, enforcing a strong linear connection and a singular point of entry.
As one moves through the portal, the orientation of each landform shifts yet again, framing a triangular space flanked by stone walls and parallel to the water along it’s hypotenuse. A vaulted roof spans the length of the space, panoramically framing the pond and landscape beyond. Visually, the outside world has been removed.
The shelter’s longest wall serves as a memorial to the individuals that lost their lives. The wall is separated into 26 unique panels with two types of stone finish – smooth and hammered. A polished bronze band marks the height of each of the 26 victims, resulting in a staggered line traversing the memorial wall.