The memorial honors and commemorates the 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
The memorial highlights natural features on the site (topography, large trees, and bodies of water) and unifies these assets into a comprehensive experience for both able-bodied individuals, as well as those with disabilities.
Water guides visitors through the memorial spaces and creates different moods, atmospheres, and relationships as it traverses the landscape.
The visitors’ experience is also shaped by rough-hewn stone walls and a walking platform constructed from Connecticut grown timber. Water signifies the life force moving through, and merging with nature. Stone embodies permanence and immutability. Wood draws connections to the surrounding forest and allows the walking platform to touch lightly on the landscape.
The entry is located on the upper portion of the site and is marked by a reflecting pool that directs the visitor’s gaze outward to the surrounding landscape. To enter, visitors descend under the pool by way of a staircase that is carved into the Memory Monolith.
Inside the monolith, visitors will find a plaque documenting significant facts and events about December 14th, 2012. A container holding the “sacred soil” related to that day is embedded in the wall behind the plaque.
Upon exiting visitors descend to a wooden platform that extends over the open meadow portion of the site, toward the ponds and the wooded area beyond. At this point, the sound of trickling water is audible, drawing the visitor’s attention back to the stone monolith they have just exited. Water, flowing down from the reflecting pool washes over the names of the deceased, which are carved into face of the stone ediface.
From the platform, visitors can sit and view the meadow or follow a shallow water channel that ends where the walkway projects out to the ponds and wooded area at the back of the site. From this vantage point, a water basin is visible, but inaccessible. This marks the location where water completing its cycle through the memorial spaces returns back to its source.
Competition organized by the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission
Elizabeth Golden, Philip Straeter