Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial
Location: Sandy Hook, CT, USA
Client: SHPM Commission
International Competition / Research
Team: Ji-Hwan Park & Blake Pettus
Entry from Riverside road is led by a vista to the Memorial Gate where it connects the Sandy Hook Memorial Park to the Newtown community and to the world. The long and linear gate reveals itself as an inviting and exploratory place to observe the entire memorial park. Unique level differences and convenient access provides diverse experiences and a sense of safe place.
Protected by trees, the twenty-six connected benches in the memorial level represent the twenty-six victims. These benches symbolize the children and teachers holding hands together while the outer six benches represent the six teachers who died protecting the children. Each victim’s name is engraved on the benches. The benches axially connect to the direction of their school along the Memorial Gate. Finally, the benches stand overlooking the reflecting pond for their eternal destination, PEACE.
As the last element in the park, the two existing ponds are united and reborn as the reflecting pond. This conjoined pond preserves sacred soil as part of the fountain to acknowledge the outpouring of support from around the world. Additionally, the pond helps to relieve wounds through the soothing flow of water from which evolves a peaceful and contemplative setting. Visitors may observe the reflecting pond from the supporter’s benches below the memorial level as the park itself becomes part of the Treadwell loop through its connection to the existing trail system.
The victims’ benches and the sacred soil glow in the dark like eternal stars in the night sky. The victims are remembered as honored and timeless; the white color of the bench materials represents their pure sacrifice while the construction reflects their sturdy resilience.