Our proposal differs from traditional memorials seeking to provide a place in which not only the 'man', Dr Martin Luther King Jr is memorialized, but a place in which his 'message' and the 'movement' can continue to grow and develop and inspire others to bring about change.
Our design responds to the brief by turning site constraints into a design opportunity. A restrictive height limit appeared likely to severly impair the presence of any proposed memorial.
We overcame this by conceiving a recessed space, which allowed dimensions of 10m height and 50m diameter.
It is a contemplation space enclosed by glass and is set below ground level to focus and intensify the experience.
A circular ramp delivers people to the space and once inside, words of Dr Martin Luther King Jr envelope the space to inspire us all to strive for human dignity ‘with a flaming passion where no depressing clouds of perceived inferiority form in our mental skies.’
The space has no roof which allows the cylindrical walls to frame the sky above and bring a vertical dimension into the space. This vertical framing is amplified at night when a cylinder of light extends the walls skyward and establishes an ephemeral presence for the memorial high in the Washington night sky.