Contrabands’ and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial Site
Memorial/Open-Space Design - Design Competition Entry
With: Remington Ham (C.L. Bohannon, faculty)
The objective of this project was to memorialize the site of an historic African-American graveyard that had been buried by development. Limitations of the project included the presence of fragile historic artifacts, ongoing onsite archaeological study, and adjacent highway ramp. The project presented several strengths including the site’s proximity to an existing downtown promenade, interesting topographical features, and inspiring site history and vast provenance.
The design solution included multi-modal connections to the downtown, interpretive signage describing the site’s historic significance, a natural amphitheater and open space, site furnishings and built elements congruent with the visual character of the town, as well as a memorial sculpture and wall commemorating the individuals buried there.
The space was designed to echo the historic character of the surrounding context; allowing this place to reclaim it’s history. Being buried for so long, to emerge with a quality of newness, would compromise the integrity of the site’s history. The design gives the impression that the place has always been there.
Status: Competition Entry
Location: Alexandria, VA, US