The Peace and Justice Memorial Center

Project description

In Montgomery, Alabama, stands a moving tribute to a tragic and not-so-distant past. The Peace and Justice Memorial Center is part of the Memorial to Peace and Justice Park and Pavilion complex designed for The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). The site serves as a national memorial to victims of lynching and racial violence.

The design and development of the building complements the Peace and Justice Memorial park and pavilion complex and provides both additional features to the program, including a gift shop and auditorium, as well as additional space for visitor parking.

In addition to the classic tasks of programming, design and budget. The design and construction of the facility faced two main challenges. The first was to deliver the installation on a tight schedule. These challenges were successfully addressed by first conducting a design charrette with EJI founder Bryan Stevenson and EJI staff. Under the direction of Clay Dorsey, Founder and Principal of Dorsey Architects, the conceptual design for the Peace and Justice Memorial Center was completed and approved in an exhaustive day. The design and construction of the facility was accelerated using Dorsey’s project delivery methodology of overlapping design and construction activities.

The second challenge was to come up with an attractive and aesthetic design proposal while
simultaneously respond, salute and respect the monumental power, emotion,
and the cultural significance of the Memorial Park for Peace and Justice in a humiliating approach that was addressed by providing a monumental entrance with a granite memorial water wall with names inscribed commemorating 24 men and women lynched or killed in racially motivated attacks during the 1950s, including Emmett Till and suffrage activists Harry and Harriette Moore. The deaths commemorated at the Center sparked protests and activism that fueled more than a decade of social change.

Additionally, in addition to the above, the facility has been sculpted into the existing landscape with an elevated terrace that serves as a “porch” and provides panoramic views of the Memorial for Peace and Justice grounds and the Garden of the Peace Memorial (also designed by Dorsey Architects).

The selected colors and materials of the Peace and Justice Memorial Center, which contrast with the colors and materials of the Peace and Justice Memorial park and pavilion, represent the highlighting of a dark period in our society.

The Center serves as a space where visitors can learn about the history of racial inequality in the United States, explore the work of EJI, and engage with artists and thought leaders for a deeper understanding of the human rights.

About Byron G. Fazio

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