Martin Luther King Junior Memorial (Washington, DC, USA, Competition)

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MLK’s writings and speeches are the most important artifacts we inherited from him.  His words are so profound and powerful. The challenge for the monument design is how to create a space where people can read MLK’s words and being induced to act and to realize his dream.

The design proposes four layers of glass wall. The two outer layers are clear glass panels and the  interior layers are etched with phosphorous material of MLK’s speeches and writings.  This glass wall will allow a person to focus their eyes to three different views.  First is to focus on the text, allowing (s)he to read and understand the meaning of the writing. Second is to focus on his or her own reflection on the glass to encourage introspective thinking.  Third is to focus on other people across the wall to encourage action.

These glass walls are arranged on a concrete platform with denser arrangement in the middle. Concrete benches and granite information slabs inserted around the walls  for  contemplative/interactive sitting and providing the history of MLK’s words. Visitors will  begin the experience at more spacious outer area allowing them to create their individual or group territory around the wall. As they approach the center, interaction between individuals or groups are inevitable due to the density.

Flowing water cuts through the center of the concrete platform directing visitors’ experience to the other end of the memorial.  It starts from the memorial entrance and free fall on other end to the basin symbolizing freedom.

At night the pink phosphorous texts will glow transforming the memorial to fireflies of MLK’s words and blending it with the existing cherry blossoms around the monument.



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