Location: Dayton, OH
Collaborator: Any Deal (artist) & Landon Crowell (sculptor)
Though a shroud hung over the City in the aftermath of the August 4th shooting tragedy that took nine lives, shimmering lights shone through the darkness—lights of hope and collective support when Daytonians from all backgrounds came together. Inspired by these moments of unity, the design envisions a welcoming, inclusive commemorative space that honors the lives of the victims; a place where people can contemplate the collective and continual effort it takes to build a peaceful and tolerant society; and a location that inspires hope, togetherness, and healing.
The memorial is composed of four elements that create a deeper, layered experience: the Community Room offers a safe, public space where people can reflect and find respite from the urban context; a Healing Garden that honors an old existing crabapple tree; Memory Stones that commemorate the nine lives that the community lost; and the Sky Gate, which is composed two stone slabs that lean towards each other to create a gateway. The gateway serves as a threshold, symbolizing the passage from trauma to healing, from sadness to joy, from dark to light, from the individual to the collective. The stone slabs reach towards the sky and yet never touch at the apex, symbolizing the continual effort required to build a tolerant and peaceful society. The gateway aligns with the azimuth of the sun at 12 noon on August 4th. During this time, the sun will appear over the Enduring Tree.