Native American Memorial in Smithsonian, Washington D.C.
With respect and honor to Native American veterans, our design for the memorial begins with manifestation of their courage and sacrifice to the country. In this regard, the memorial design unfolds from the center of the wetland. Outline of the existing wetland is traced over to create the form of space as if it is naturally given from the current environment rather than manly built structure.
The center of the wetland is shaped as a form of shelter to create void space through strings of chains which consist of copper, bronze, and silver chains. Through the mixture of colors, we intend to reflect cultural symbol and metaphorical form of bravery and sacrifice from silhouette of feathers which is to convey the heart of a warrior of Native Americans.
In order to experience the wetland and the memorial, we further developed bridges to connect people to the heart of the wetland with relief wall sculptures which depict major military conflicts that native American Indians have served alongside the bridges’ passageway. The center is placed to experience the bravery heart and loyalty of the native American soldiers in abstract expression of the form by shaded form of shelter with central sculpture feather.
Through the elements of the memorial, we imagine the built feature of chains and structure above are to reach up toward the sky acting not only as structural support, but also as a spiritual linkage between souls and the sky above. Countless metal chains hanging from the roof structure provide a balance between openness and sense of enclosure, as if it resonates native American soldiers’ hearts toward others. Thus, installed LEDs at the end of the chains is a way to give a sense of space, and symbolically it is to represent hope which is gained from sacrifices.
In summary, the memorial is vague in form but concrete in space, metaphor by outline but substantial by lights, and unique by surroundings but familiar by nature. Sacrifices and dedications to the country by Native American Soldiers shall not be forgotten.