Halos - Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Proposal

While walking through the site we were struck by how the trees and topography visually obscure and frame a series of cellulated spaces. The experience of encountering one unique space, followed by another, begins to perpetuate a desire for discovery. We sought to design a place that could foster a spectrum of unique journeys. A place to walk around lost in thought, marked by occassional moments of respite and reflection. 

The majority of this proposal consists two elements; pathways and planted scaffolds. A network of concentric paths (whose composition is akin to rain drops rippling across the surface of water) provides access to the entirely of the site, while larger overlapping rings directly connect foci such as the ridge, ponds, and memorial areas. The plant covered scaffolding defines spaces, provides privacy, and encloses unique areas. The scaffolds take on a variety of forms, tilts, and arcs, which in combination provides a dynamic spatial and visual experience, unique at every angle and footstep. It also has a life all its own, changing season to season, and attracting birds and other wildlife. 

The area designated as “Memorial Hill” holds the sacred soil, which has been shaped into a large “dew drop” and encased in resin. The engraved granite benches incircle the sacred soil. But rather than placing each bench on individual pedestals, we’ve shown them as being integrated into a large sweeping bench, spaced evenly apart, but joined together. 

We felt it was critical to approach the design of the various areas of the site differently. The large clearing benefits from a substantial installation, but the forested area surrounding the ponds is beautiful as is. Therefore, we aimed to provide access routes only where needed and as invisibly as possible, so visitors can fully enjoy the place. Two bridging paths tangentially intersect at the center of the smaller pond. While another path slopes down into the larger pond itself, resulting in an arched waterfall.