AMES, IA - Iowa State University Campus

Fall 2016

Assignment: Develop a definition of neo-monumentality and use it to design a memorial space on the Iowa State University campus for a war of your choosing.

Neo-monumentality: Movement. Interaction. Learning. Technology. Our interpretation of neo-monumentality challenges the blandness of historic monuments by taking advantage of modern technology and ways people interact in the current world. This proposal intends to steer away from the idea that a monument is just an object people perceive in space. Rather, it interprets the object as the space people exist within. 

Approach: The world already has countless war monuments, especially those which are specifically tailored to World War I. With this assignment, we wanted to redefine the interaction between user and monument. While considering the four main concepts above, our design started with analysis of circulation paths on campus. This helped us to appropriately integrate the monument into the dense urban context on campus. We then further analyzed WWI trenches through extensive research and used it as a starting point for detailing the monument. This helped us develop the jagged paths. Each path is dedicated to a military branch represented by ISU in WWI. Each wall on those paths represents an ISU veteran who lost their life during the war. These walls are finished with rough cor-ten steel to contrast with the smooth, undulating landscape one initially sees upon reaching our monument. Cor-ten was selected as a modern interpretation of the rough, jagged trenches. The irregularity of the path widths promotes a subtle sense of movement and interactivity as one passes through. Each of the cor-ten walls are further detailed with LED lights which can be used to display information. These lights also give the design a strong sense of character at night. The new landscape we have developed gives the user opportunities to experience the monument from any angle. Whether one studies on the mounds or walks through the paths to cut between sidewalks, our monument creates a new landscape on the Iowa State University campus which welcomes users from all angles.