For victims of crime and their loved ones, a commonality is that their memories are often manifested through the perpetual struggle for justice, recognition and even compensation.
Although their grief and memories will most likely endure, it is positive action and empowerment through healing that a community can help foster. The idea of “community” is the essential theme for this memorial.
With this in mind, we have placed a circular void into the park, with the surrounding landscape gently sloped up to itstruncated perimeter. The resulting section creates the opportunity for a variety of experiences: from within the void, an intimate and tactile experience, from above looking into the void, an experience at “arm’s length”, or the ability to experience it from a distance surrounding the memorial. The idea that one could sit on the grass berms surrounding the memorial, the way that a friend might sit nearby to provide comfort, and still experience this sense of community, is essential to maintain the desired accessibility of the memorial. The circular void forms a protected semi-private space, or “espace calme” within the park, yet it splays open to the north, revealing the interior space to the approaching visitor upon entry, and setting up a direct relationship to the adjacent lawn and event space.
The placement of the memorial between two natural mounds on axis with the park office structure overlays a formal geometry onto the site, yet conveys a more subtle relationship within the natural park setting. A lighted circular path is inscribed in the lawn to connect the entry sidewalk south to the memorial structure, and north to the park office. This gentle arc defines the eastern edge of the event space in front of the memorial, leaving the western edge open to the park and lake beyond. The path is created with walkable grass pavers with a density gradient, and it emerges from the park lawn, defining the walkable path, yet leaving the landscape uninterrupted as it blends with the natural landscape. The gentle arc of the path slows one’s approach and allows visitors to make a measured entry to the memorial interior.
Composed of open-joint bronze rectangular plates, the curved metal surface surrounds the visitor and defines the memorial as a protected space. Individual bronze plates can be dedicated, inscribed, or laser or watercut with text in memoriam revealing the light source behind to provide both a visual, and tactile experience. The oil rubbed bronze plate suggests permanence, and recalls our history of traditional public statuary in a contemporary form. The supporting shell and bench is formed of reinforced concrete. The symmetrical plan geometry lends itself to traditional modular casting, or ideally the modules could be 3d printed in California using reinforced polymer concrete.
Design Architect: ZERAFA STUDIO LLC in collaboration with Gregory T Waugh, Architect
Project Name: Orange County Crime Victims’ Memorial
Project Design Team: Jason M Zerafa, Gregory T Waugh, Patrick C Clare, Nick T Winter
Client: OC Crime Victims’ Memorial Foundation/OC Parks
Use: Public memorial and landscaping
Phase: International Competition Winning Scheme
Project Year: 2014