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Competition: Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial

An international contest has been launched for a permanent memorial to the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut, USA (Deadline: 15 December)

Open to individuals and teams of architects, landscape architects, designers and artists, the competition seeks ‘healing, peaceful, and welcoming’ proposals for an outdoor monument in Newtown celebrating the lives of the six teachers and 20 children who were shot dead.

The selected scheme will be constructed on a 2.1-hectare greenfield site located a short distance from Sandy Hook Elementary School where the attack happened five years ago. Applications from emerging practitioners are strongly encouraged.

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial project site

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial project site

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial project site

According to the brief: ‘The main focus is to memorialise the victims and the beautiful essence of their individuality instead of the actual event. The memorial should communicate the tragic and sudden loss of the innocent lives and the silence that this event left behind, but at the same time celebrate the strength and courage of the educators who died protecting the children.

‘The memorial will be a public destination that provides an inspirational setting in which to remember the victims of the tragic event that shocked the Newtown community and the world. The design must respond to and respect the existing natural conditions and must provide a peaceful, contemplative environment. Designers are expected to include a high level of ecological awareness in proposed design elements as well as the intended materials and methods for construction.’

Newtown is a small settlement of around 28,000 residents located 100km north-east of New York City in Fairfield County, Connecticut. In December 2012, the town witnessed the deadliest mass shooting inside a school in US history.

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial project site

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial project site

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial project site

The competition, organised by the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission, will deliver a new permanent memorial on a 2.1-hectare site close to the school donated by the local Boys Social and Athletic Club. The open green space currently features several ponds, woodlands, and some walking trails.

The project, planned to complete in 2019, aims to remember and honour the victims of the attack while also supporting the local community and wider republic in their responses to the tragedy. Proposals will be expected to harness natural materials such as stone and water while also demonstrating ecological awareness.

The memorial will be expected to provide a seating area for quiet reflection and may incorporate twenty-six granite benches – donated following a nationwide grassroots fundraiser – featuring the first and last names of the victims may also be incorporated into designs.

Concepts will need to respect the natural setting and may include new paths connecting the memorial to the Treadwell Park trail and nearby ponds. Security lighting and parking for up 20 vehicles will also be required.

Submissions will be expected to include plans, elevations, sections, a conceptual render and a textual description.

Shortlisted teams will be selected in early January and invited to further develop their proposals and produce cost estimates ahead of presentations to the jury. The chosen design will be finalised early next year.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 5pm local time (EST) on 15 December

Contact details

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission
Newtown Municipal Centre
3 Primrose Street
Newtown
CT 06470
United States

Email: SandyHookPermanentMemorial@gmail.com

Visit the competition website for more information

Q&A with Kyle Lyddy

The chair of Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission discusses his ambitions for the contest

Why are your holding a competition for a memorial to the victims of the Sandy Hook attack?

We are hosting an invitation to submit a design to allow designers and landscape architects to come back with creative ways to honour the lives lost at Sandy Hook School. While we have created a document to allow designers to work off, in no way do we want to limit the creativity of those with an idea or a concept they think may fit. The more we can look at and react to, the better we can appreciate those submitting concepts.

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial project site

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial project site

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial project site

What is your vision for the new monument?

We are working with a blank slate of approximately five acres that was land contributed by a private donor. This land is in a residential neighbour although set back from the road, and about a quarter of a mile from the school. It will be important for the look and feel to fit into the landscape of the community, trying to incorporate the different aspects of the land – an upper and lower field as well as two ponds that sit on the land. We do recognise the importance of being efficient with sustainability while maximising the use of the land in honouring those who were lost.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

We hope there is a wide array of ideas submitted from individuals with different backgrounds. We have close to 100 individuals/groups that have submitted their ‘intent to submit a design’ from across the world, and we tried to create a document that offers some openness to the final result. We have had non-professionals and professionals submit a registration and are interested to see a diverse array of memorial submissions.

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial project site

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial project site

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial project site

Are there any other memorial projects you have been moved by?

The 9/11 memorial is one we have resorted back to from a process standpoint. Having visited the memorial in person, it is one that is done incredibly well. It’s a different scope than most memorials in terms of size and spec, but it commemorates with the largeness of the event. There’s meaning behind every placement of the name. Overall, it’s just really touching.