Disturbed Harmony | Flight 93 National Memorial

By Leor Lovinger, MLA ’03




In July 2005, Disturbed Harmony, by Leor Lovinger MLA ’03, was chosen as one of five finalists out of more than 1,000 entries for the Flight 93 National Memorial. The winning scheme will be announced in early September 2005.


On Sept. 11, 2001, our cities, our landscapes, and our lives were under attack. Their rhythms and harmony were disturbed. That day, the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93 acted as the country’s first line of defense.

Our concept for a Bravery Wall, with its inscriptions crossing the rolling rural landscape, was inspired by the stories of the telephone calls between the heroes of Flight 93 and their loved ones, through which we all learned about their collective acts of sacrifice and courage. As the wall moves north to south toward the Sacred Ground, ending at the Circle of Heroism, it symbolizes how 40 individuals, bound by fate, confronted evil and chose to act. Because of their actions, Flight 93 will be remembered forever — not in infamy but for their unconquerable human spirit and messages of hope and love.

The scale of the proposed Flight 93 Memorial Park and the rural setting provide the opportunity to create a unique experience. The dragline tells the story of a land in the process of reclamation. Learning about the site’s mining history and witnessing its reclamation resonates with visitors to the memorial, as they acknowledge the past while looking ahead and anticipating the healing of our wounds.

The Bravery Wall, the memorial’s spine, has a strong presence in the 2,200-acre site, yet it will complement the landscape rather than overpowering it. The Bravery Wall unfolds before the visitors as they move through the park, providing many levels of intimacy and opportunities for remembrance and contemplation. Wind, sunlight, sky patterns, and snow transform visitors’ experiences of the wall, making every visit unique.



The full length of the Bravery Wall, crossing the Field of Honor, conveys the magnitude of loss of human life on Sept. 11, as one imagines 3,021 people standing hand-in-hand, stretching the wall’s entire 11,000-foot length across the landscape. An anniversary walk will transform this line in the landscape into a ribbon of life, as participants remember those lost and learn about Flight 93 and the heroes, acknowledge their sacrifice and heroism in the face of infamy, and gain a better understanding of the enduring human spirit.

The hard rock qualities of the granite used in the Bravery Wall blocks are a fitting testimonial to the strength exhibited by those aboard Flight 93. We propose an earth-toned granite, similar in color to the local fieldstone, that will blend with the environment and withstand the harsh site conditions for centuries to come.

As heroism is the outcome of bravery, the Bravery Wall ends at the Circle of Heroism. The Circle of Heroism symbolizes the 40 individuals coming together in an act of collective courage that would change history. Forty stone columns have been carefully located within a setting of stepped terraces, with views across the meadow to the Sacred Ground. Annual events in the space will encourage us to reflect upon the heroes’ connectedness and celebrate our own, while acknowledging them and ourselves as individuals.

We envision a memorial that engages visitors beyond the park boundary, including nearby towns and neighbors. Commemorative benches, donated by local youth, provide resting spots along the Bravery Wall, and convenient locations have been planned where local “ambassadors” can continue to enrich visitors’ experiences. Both serve to link visitors to local communities. Views of the dragline, and out to the surrounding countryside and Laurel Ridge, connect visitors to the region. The Circle of Heroism includes an area where visitors from across the nation and beyond can weave a tapestry of tribute to the fallen heroes through words, symbols, or cherished possessions left behind.

As visitors watch others experience the memorial, commune with the wall, and hear the echoes of the heroes’ voices, they may be drawn to reflect on the values by which they live their lives. Though we are creating a national memorial, which will be a place of inspiration and hope for all who see it, the site will forever remain the setting for the Sacred Ground, the final resting place of 40 very uncommon souls.


Martin Luther King Memorial

By Bonnie Fisher MLA  ’80 / ROMA Design Group

In 2000, ROMA Design Group won the international design competition for the Martin Luther King National Memorial in Washington, D.C.

There were more than 1,000 competition entries, and members of the design jury included Ricardo Legoretta, Charles Correia, the designer of the Gandhi Memorial, and Randy Hester, professor of Landscape Architecture at UC Berkeley, amongst others. The design team members included ROMA Design Group partner Bonnie Fisher MLA ’80, Dipti Garg MUD ’03, Joel Tomei MArch ’67, and Carl Baker BA Arch ’99. After winning the competition, ROMA formed a Joint Venture with the Devrouax & Purnell in Washington, D.C. for the implementation of the design. Construction is expected to begin by November 2006 and be completed in 2008.

fisher_1The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is designed to increase our awareness of Dr. King’s message regarding human rights and civil liberties and to help build an understanding of his role as a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and his legacy in shaping the meaning of democracy in America. The project is conceived within the environmental tradition that characterizes more recent memorials such as the Vietnam War and the FDR memorials, rather than the single monument or commemorative building of previous eras. The King Memorial utilizes landscape elements — water, stone, and trees — to heighten the experience of place and to evoke the kind of emotional response that Dr. King conveyed in his poetic use of language. It contributes to the larger Olmstedian landscape of the National Mall and is located on a four-acre site that will be created by the relocation of the existing West Basin Drive. The site strengthens the axial relationship between the King, Jefferson, and Lincoln memorials and expresses the evolving message of democracy through the continuum of time, from the Declaration of Independence to the Gettysburg Address to the Civil Rights speech Dr. King delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

fisher_2This memorial is not designed to be experienced in a single way, with a single message, but rather to have a broad accessibility that appeals to all of the senses, with diverse, repetitive ,and overlapping themes. The introduction of an arcing berm into the dominant horizontality of the site creates a complexity of spaces suitable for moving, viewing, sitting, meeting, speaking, and congregating in large and small groups. The circular geometry of the memorial juxtaposed with the triangular configuration of the site engages the tidal basin and frames views to the water, creating a space that is peaceful and expansive and that, in its form, nurtures inclusivity and a sense of community. Within the space, the words of Dr. King are incised on a curving wall of water, heightening visitors’ sensory experiences and adding to the understanding of his message of freedom, justice, and peace. The memorial engages the visitor by revealing the struggle of the movement and the promise of democracy, with the “Mountain of Despair” (the twin portals of stone flanking the entry) opening onto the “Stone of Hope” (a solitary monolith hewn from the two entry pieces). The image of Dr. King emerges from the “Stone of Hope,” standing vigil and awaiting delivery of the promise “that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This is a memorial that celebrates Dr. King’s hope and optimistic spirit, as well as the value he placed on active citizenship rather than complacency and submission. It is not intended to be a eulogy, nor to focus on death or enshrinement. As Dr. King said, “Death is a comma, not a period.” When the cherry trees blossom in the springtime marking the season of his death, they will celebrate Dr. King’s life and achievement. The memorial is intended to be personally transformative for visitors, building a sense of commitment to the promise of positive social change and higher levels of achievement related to human rights and civil liberties.

The Joint Venture project team is led by Paul Devrouax, Managing Principal; Boris Dramov, Design Principal; and Bonnie Fisher, Landscape Principal (M.L.A. ’80).

Key staff of ROMA Design Group’s current effort include Mimi Ahn, Craig McGlynn, Jim Leritz, Joel Tomei (B.Arch., and M.Arch., ‘67), Dipti Garg (M.U.D., ’03), and Robert Holloway.

Key members of the design team for the competition include Boris Dramov, Design Team Leader, Bonnie Fisher (M.L.A. ‘80), Burton Miller, Robert Holloway and Carl Baker (BA in Arch., ’99). In addition to ROMA, other key members contributing to the design competition include Christopher Grubbs (illustrator) and Dr. Clayborne Carson (historical consultant).

All images courtesy ROMA Design Group. Renderings by Christopher Grubbs Illustrator