Columbus, Ohio’s new National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) seems to gently lift off from the banks of the recently redeveloped Scioto River like a 3-D spirograph drawing. Allied Works Architecture, in collaboration with OLIN, sculpted seven acres of the riverbank to accommodate a building composed of intersecting bands of structural concrete that thread down into the earth and coil upward. This spiral banding leaves room for a processional ramp that winds from the ground level to a rooftop sanctuary from which one can take in the views of OLIN’s reflective landscape of memorial groves. As the concrete bands cross to form the building’s exterior structure, a custom dark wood acoustic ceiling—not unlike the underside of a mushroom—creates a comfortable gallery space inside. The museum galleries, designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, are filled with the personal stories of veterans. While other museums are dedicated to individual branches of the military or specific conflicts, the NVMM is the first museum of its kind in the United States that tells the story of American veterans as a whole, focusing specifically on how they, as civilians, continue to affect their communities.

Related Stories