Dublin Grounds of Remembrance Ohio, American Landscape Architecture, Building, Architects
Dublin Grounds of Remembrance in Ohio
American Public Reflection Area – design by Plant Architect inc.
2 May 2011
Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
BRINGING MEANING TO THE GROUND DUBLIN GROUNDS OF REMEMBRANCE – DUBLIN, OHIO
Design: Plant Architect inc.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set with joy a votive stone,
That memory may their deed redeem,
When like our sires our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare,
To die, or leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare,
The shaft we raise to them and Thee.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
from The Concord Hymn, 1837
Dublin Grounds of Remembrance : page with award information
The Dublin Grounds of Remembrance is a one-acre park honouring veterans and their families with a sequence of structures for public and private reflection. On a site with no prior military significance, the project eschews a traditional “monument” in favour of promoting the act of habitual walking and social gathering to reinforce a collective, community remembrance, and create a new significance for this land.
The copper Loggia is the formal ceremonial backdrop, panoramic window, and shelter – it is the hub for Veterans and Memorial Day celebrations, and daily provides an intimate experience with its bronze poem wall and seat at the ends. The Memory Wall is huddled in the natural ravine where intimate contemplation can be had, and messages left. Between these structures, the limestone walk, bronze Guide Rail, and new Sycamore grove choreograph the contemplative route – creating a rhythm of remembrance.
The architectural and landscape elements draw from and reveal the cultural and natural history of the site to explicitly tie the experience and structures to the site: The crisp transparent Loggia, cut letters of Emerson’s Concord Hymn, and the perforated Memory Wall frame the rugged ravine landscape at large and tiny scales; the smooth Indiana limestone Dedication Wall and bronze Guiderail that polishes with use and hugs back with its form, highlights by contrast the jagged limestone cemetery wall; and the rugged Memory Wall and startling mottled Sycamore bark draw from the texture of the ravine’s limestone cliffs and trees.
THE LEGACY FOR THE CITY OF DUBLIN
The project was the result of an international 2-stage design competition in 2007. The Veterans Committee requested a “veterans project” to commemorate military service on a marginal site – a ravine right of way which forms a donut around the 1840s village cemetery. Once prominent at the head of the village, the newly built library and school now turn their back on the cemetery. The open, grassy site borders a deep and secluded wild river ravine leading us to use this dramatic dual spatial/textural character to structure a dual nature for the project – creating a formal place for public gathering, with informal places for intimate contemplation.
Just outside of Columbus, Dublin’s 50-acre 1840s settlement had ballooned into a 16,000-acre sprawling golf suburb in just thirty years, nearly abandoning the historic village. This project is key to the City’s programme to revitalize the heritage settlement, by making it a destination that is vital to the lives of the new Dubliners.
On Memorial Day 2009, the City orchestrated the first of the new semi-annual rituals on the new site, with 1000 people sitting and standing before the Loggia (twice as many as ever before) for the military speeches, and then being escorted by bagpipers into the ravine. The wheelchair accessible site is walked daily and the Memory Wall is constantly filled with notes from and to loved ones. The park has its own website (www.dublin.oh.us/veteranspark) which outlines its history, and showcases events in the park, and the park has been included in the recently commissioned bicentennial History of Dublin mural. The ritual has been fully integrated into the town’s ethos, renewing the village, and creating a “place” out of an undefined piece of turf. There is now a place and a way for this vast new population to take root.
PRIMARY SOCIAL ISSUES
This project defines a community ritual framed by architecture and landscape as a third alterative to the Ideological battle between representational heroic bronze statues and abstract, conceptual approaches raging since Maya Lin’s Vietnam Memorial, and recharged by 9/11 and the Iraq War. It considers how to generate meaning, as a means to create and reinforce community – making it clear why one would serve.
Promotion of environmental stewardship underlies the project – an understanding of the land is crucial to wanting to save it and serve it.
The Grounds of Remembrance is a one-acre park. The site surrounds the 1840s village cemetery behind the library and school. The open, grassy site borders a deep and secluded wild river ravine. This dramatic dual spatial/textural character underlies the dual nature of the project – creating a formal place for public gathering with informal places for intimate contemplation.
The Loggia is copper, 10′ ∑ 60′ ∑ 12′ high with a Bronze Panel laser cut with two stanzas of Emerson’s Concord Hymn. The Dedication Seat Wall is Indiana Limestone engraved with a dedication to the five military branches including their crests cast in bronze. The Memory Wall is Indiana and North Shore (Ohio) limestone with bronze rectangular tubes set through wall, and a laser cut bronze sign. The Recognition Walk is made of limestone-screenings edged with engraved limestone dedication pavers, and crossed with stripes of elongated concrete pavers. It is continuously lined with the Guide Rail – a custom extruded bronze handrail supported on aluminium pickets. Major entrances to the Recognition Walk are framed by bronze pickets and an engraved limestone threshold. The entire space circumscribed by the Guide Rail to the edge of the wild ravine is planted with a grove of Sycamore trees – ancient natives of Ohio and this ravine. The project included additional ravine tree restoration.
“Noble” materials with long life spans (copper, bronze and limestone) ensure the project lasts the ages with minimal maintenance. The copper and bronze were manufactured, and limestone quarried, within 100 miles of the site. Paving is self-draining ensuring maximum stormwater permeability. Fifty new trees (twenty-eight Sycamores and twenty-two mixed native ravine restoration trees) provide a significant new source of oxygen, as well as canopy replenishment.
Lisa Rapoport, Chris Pommer, Mary Tremain, Lisa Moffitt, Olivia Mapué, Elise Shelley, Jane Hutton, Heather Asquith
Local Architect/Engineer: Jack D Walters and Associates, Ohio
Copper Contractor: The Durable Restoration Company, Ohio
Bronze Contractor: Quality Architectural & Fabrication Inc., Ohio
Structural Engineer: Blackwell Bowick Engineering, Toronto
Electrical Engineer: McMullen Engineering Co., Ohio
Soils Engineer: BBC&M Engineering Inc., Ohio
Civil Engineer: Hull and Associates, Ohio
Dublin Grounds of Remembrance images / information from Plant Architect inc.
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