Few know that Native Americans are more likely than any other population group to serve in the U.S. armed forces. A new National Native American Veterans Memorial spotlights the contributions and sacrifices of Native Americans who have served. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. has recently selected the design by artist Harvey Pratt titled “Warriors’ Circle of Honor.” The memorial will break ground in 2019 and is expected to open in the following year. According to a statement from the Smithsonian Museum, Pratt designed “an elevated stainless steel circle” built on a stone fountain in the shape of a drum. The water symbolizes the blessing of holy ceremonies, and a fire will light up at the base of the circle during Veterans Day and other holidays. Pratt is a self-taught Oklahoma-based artist and a Vietnam War veteran. As a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, his work deals with the history and traditions of those people and other Native American communities. Pratt partnered with Hans and Torrey Butzer of Butzer Architects and Urbanism in designing this memorial. Last year, Congress commissioned the museum to build the memorial to honor “the contributions of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians who have served in the military since colonial times.”
Posts tagged with "Veterans":
The Allied Works Architecture-designed National Veterans Memorial & Museum (NVMM) is rapidly rising on the shore of the Scioto River in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and is on track to open in July 2018. Allied Works’s design for the two-story, 53,000-square-foot memorial museum, a circular building with a glass curtain wall ensconced in a spiraling concrete superstructure, is the result of a closed 2013 design competition that included David Chipperfield and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The winning scheme includes a ramp that wraps around the edge of the building and up to a rooftop “sanctuary” plaza, while large concrete arches crisscrosses the museum’s exterior to symbolically elevate the sanctuary. The sanctuary will be exclusively for ceremonies, events, and reflection, and from renderings, it looks like the rooftop plaza will include amphitheater seating and look out into museum’s exhibition space. Inside, the museum’s programming will similarly follow the building’s curves, with exhibition galleries arranged in a ring. A double-height great hall will greet visitors at the entrance, while two floors of permanent exhibition space will be arranged in a central ring and provide access to the sanctuary from inside. “Thematic alcoves” will be scattered throughout the museum, each meant to evoke a specific emotion and relay the challenges faced by veterans. Landscape architect OLIN will be handling the surrounding greenery and have designed a memorial grove in the middle of a circular path near the museum. The grove will also contain a stone wall with a reflecting pool at the base. The museum’s development, design, and construction were led by the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC). The group is also managing the exhibition curation, as well as raising approximately $80 million for the project. The NVMM, which claims to be the first national veterans museum, has set its sights on being part museum and part memorial, with veteran narratives being placed front and center. With only 1 percent of the population currently serving in the military, the museum's mission is to expose guests, who may not personally know a veteran, to the stories of servicemen and women, while also stimulating conversations around what it means to serve. While originally planned as the Ohio Veteran’s Museum, the scope was drastically expanded to include the stories of veterans from across the country, and from every branch and conflict. In November 2017, the House passed a bill officially designating the museum a national site, capping a years-long push by the NVMM for federal recognition.
Today, Syracuse University announced New York City-based SHoP Architects the winners of a six-month competition to design the new National Veterans Resource Complex (NVRC) on the school's campus. Programmatically, NVRC will include classroom spaces for veteran-focused programming, as well as a conference center and a roughly 1,000-seat auditorium, both of which can host community activities, lectures, and national events. Gallery spaces will exhibit the robust history of veteran support at the school. The NVRC will offer state-of-the-art vocational and educational programs designed to advance the economic success of the region’s and the nation’s veterans and military families, including research and programming connected to the veteran and military sectors. “The programmatic demands on this building, its historic symbolism for the University, and the gateway role it will play on the campus dictate a very high level of performance in its design—a building that is at once inviting to all and a specialized tool perfectly suited for the specific work that will take place there,” SHoP's William Sharples said in a statement. The NVRC is part of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council’s winning proposal titled Central New York: Rising from the Ground Up, which is part of Gov. Cuomo’s $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI). The facility will house the Syracuse University and Regional Student Veteran Resource Center, the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps, the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs “Vet-Success on Campus,” the National Center of Excellence for Veteran Business Ownership, Veteran Business Outreach Center and Accelerator, Syracuse University’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs, and the University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). The committee included Chancellor Kent Syverud, J. Michael Haynie, vice chancellor of veteran and military affairs, Andria Costello Staniec, associate provost for academic programs; Julia E. Czerniak, associate dean of the School of Architecture; Jared Grace, graduate student in the School of Architecture and Army ROTC cadet battalion commander, Breagin K. Riley, assistant professor of marketing in the Whitman School of Management, Peter Sala, vice president and chief campus facilities officer, and Michael A. Speaks, dean of the School of Architecture. The process was led by Martha Thorne, dean of the IE School of Architecture and Design in Madrid. The NVRC is expected to be complete in the spring of 2019.
SHoP, Snøhetta, and Adjaye named finalists for the National Veterans Resource Complex at Syracuse University
London-based Adjaye Associates, New York–based SHoP, and Oslo/New York–based Snøhetta have been announced as design finalists for Syracuse University’s new National Veterans Resource Complex (NVRC). Selected out of 28 other firms, the three finalists will now visit and engage with the university and veteran community to develop proposals for the multi-use facility. The NVRC will be home to the University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) as well as the school's Regional Student Veteran Resource Center, the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps, the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps, the National Center of Excellence for Veteran Business Ownership, Veterans Business Outreach Center and Accelerator, as well as the University’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs. The building will be programmed with classrooms, a conference center, gallery space, and a 1,000 seat auditorium to facilitate local and national veteran-focused events. The site of the project is tentatively set for the western end of the Waverly block, which will be visited by each office in the coming weeks. Their visits will also include meeting with the campus community to discuss the possibilities of the project in preparation for the presentation of their final design proposals in April. Also planned for March, the Syracuse University School of Architecture will facilitate lectures by each of the firms. In a statement David Adjaye discussed the relation of his practice to the goals of the University and the NVRC, “Syracuse University’s ambition to make the NVRC a combined educational and community centre as well as a national hub for America’s 22.8 million veterans and their families resonates deeply with my own commitment to architecture that empowers communities and has global resonance.” Both SHoP and Snøhetta remarked on the honor of working on a project for the veteran community. William Sharples, principle at SHoP, noted, "The NVRC at Syracuse University will occupy a special place in the life of the city, the campus, and the community of veterans nationwide it is intended to serve. Everyone at SHoP is honored to be a part of this process." Craig Dykers, founding partner of Snøhetta echoed Sharples, “The poet RJ Heller once wrote, ‘In the aftermath we are because they were.’ Courage is contagious and being a part of this process at Syracuse to benefit our veterans in a groundbreaking new facility is exciting and humbling for all of us at Snøhetta. This is more than a handshake: we are doing something revolutionary for those whose origins are from the same stuff.” Along with competing to design the NVRC, each of these three offices is also contending to design the Obama Presidential Library in Chicago.
Heroic Food Farms in rural New York teams up with Ennead to provide micro-housing, mentorship, and jobs to displaced veterans
Shaken by war and existentially disoriented, most veterans struggle to reintegrate and find work. A nonprofit food farm on the outskirts of New York City is being eyeballed as a possible housing and training solution for displaced veterans. The masterplan by Ennead Architects and RAFT Landscape Architecture includes eight micro-housing units for individuals or couples. The homes, equipped with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette, will all be programmatically linked by a community building for living, dining and instruction. The housing units, which are positioned in relationship to one another, rest on piers to “sit lightly on the land” and are interconnected by raised decks. The architects declined to install a living room in order to encourage tenants to use the community building for leisure. Meanwhile, the existing farmhouse, hay loft, and barn will be renovated. "It's about striking a balance between creating privacy for the individual and fostering a sense of community with shared spaces that open out to the view," said Andrew Burdick, director of Ennead Lab, the architecture firm's public interest and pro-bono division. Sited on 19 acres in the hilly Hudson Valley, the shed-like dwellings are designed to meet Passivhaus standards of extremely low energy consumption. The configuration of the buildings – a quadrangle surrounded by residences with linked porches, takes after Thomas Jefferson’s academic village at the University of Virginia. Veterans will receive instruction and mentorship, as well as job placement at nearby farms during harvest peak season. On the Heroic Food Farm site, they will raise livestock and cultivate produce in the greenhouses. Though small in scale, Burdick hopes the food farm can become a prototype to help plug the gap in the U.S. labor market, whereby a simultaneous shortage of agricultural workers and high unemployment among veterans presents a promising opportunity to connect those dots. According to report by the Wall Street Journal, the shortage of farm workers reduces agricultural production by roughly 9.5 percent per year. Statistically, one possible cause is that 30 percent of farmers are over the age of 65, while less than 10 percent are below 35. Screenwriter Leora Barish, founder of Heroic Food Farms, told Architect Magazine: “We know that supportive housing is one of the keys to sustaining programs for returning veterans.” Currently, New York ranks among the top ten states with the highest veteran population and veteran unemployment rate.
Hundreds of historic buildings and landscapes under the administration of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are at risk of being abandoned or demolished, claims a study from the National Trust for Historic Preservation released earlier this month. According to the report, entitled "Honoring Our Veterans: Saving Their Places of Health Care and Healing," the VA has failed to comply with federal preservation requirements and maintain their historic properties, some dating back to the Civil War. The agency has instead favored the expensive construction of new facilities. Owners of over 2,000 historic buildings and landscapes across the country, including hospitals, cemeteries, farm houses, and residences—nearly half of which are unoccupied and at risk of deterioration—claim the VA is currently constructing $10 billion worth of new medical centers despite analysis revealing that it may be more cost effective to renovate existing properties. Texas attorney and preservation expert, Leslie Barras, argues in the report that the VA’s poor management has lead to “wasted taxpayer dollars and the irreversible loss of our nation’s cultural legacy.” The National Trust particularly highlights two projects, the Battle Mountain Sanitarium in Hot Springs, South Dakota, and the Milwaukee National Soldiers Home in Wisconsin, both of which have been designated “National Treasures” by the organization. Battle Mountain Sanitarium was built in 1907 using local sandstone in the Spanish Colonial/Romanesque Revival style. Architect Thomas Rogers Kimball designed the building to provide short-term respiratory treatment for veterans of the Civil War. Instead of restoring the historic building, the VA is proposing to close down the facility and relocate its medical services 60 miles away, citing the claim–identified by the report as false–that patients and staff would prefer a new facility. Another Civil War–era property, the Milwaukee National Soldiers Home and its campus, represents one of the first buildings of its kind in the country as well as some of the oldest in the VA’s holdings. Designed in a Gothic Revival style by Milwaukee architect Edward Townsend Mix in the 1860s, the campus’ stunning "Old Main" stands unoccupied, unmaintained, and in danger of collapse. While the VA’s stock of buildings crumbles, the number of veterans turning to the department for healthcare in the has dramatically risen in the past decade, climbing from 3.4 million in 2000 to 6 million today. But according to the report, the VA has repeatedly elected to construct new facilities instead of putting in the effort to restore and maintain their amazing wealth of historic properties. As Barras told the LA Times, “there’s a perspective that we can’t adapt old buildings, especially for medical facilities.” (Prentice Women's Hospital, anyone?) But preservationists are trying to change that notion.
In speaking to wounded veterans and their families, the Wounded Warrior Home Project found that soldiers returning home face a cumbersome and costly adaptation to their environment. A private-public partnership, including Michael Graves and Associates, global design firm IDEO, and Clark Realty Capital, has unveiled two universally-accessible prototype houses at Fort Belvoir in Virginia where every element is designed for ease of use. Sinks and stovetops are on motorized lifts, halls and doorways accommodate a wide turning radius for navigating wheelchairs, sliding doors open with a light touch. Architect Michael Graves, who was left paralyzed after an illness almost a decade ago, wanted the space to offer independence and dignity to returning soldiers. For example, the design team concluded through conversations with wounded veterans that the therapy room should be secluded from the rest of the living space to offer privacy and retreat; at the same time, the need for visibility inside and outside the house for security and to keep track of playing children necessitates wide windows and clear doors within the house. These homes are intended to be both starting points for future dialogue on accessibility and laboratories for continuing research as more accessible homes are built.