Louisville, Kentucky

winning competition entry, 2016

in construction

In Louisville, Kentucky, a diverse group of citizens led by Yung Nguyen, an immigrant from Vietnam, has conceived idea of a monument of thanksgiving; a place of special recognition for the tremendous sacrifices the American and South Vietnamese Armed Forces made during the Vietnam War in order to give the Vietnamese people a chance to live in freedom.

The Monument is situated on a sloping hillside site within a park with other monuments to veterans nearby.

Line of high columns invites distant observer to take a closer look. 8 columns stand side by side, facing the rising sun, the forest, aligned with the river, representing line of defence and connection between two worlds.
Vietnam experience has formed the soldiers and made them brothers; 8 bamboo formed concrete columns are exposed to the sun and rain, reaching to sky and in the same time supporting it, honouring people from 8 countries that fought for freedom.
They are eternal witness in a quiet recessed courtyard, surrounded by walls, paths, ramps and stairs that provide intimacy, access and circulation in the monument and beyond.
Walls are covered with images and words of history, war and of those who served. This prepares visitor for the deep experience. Sitting walls around the courtyard allows quiet contemplation.
Monumental courtyard, suited for outdoor gatherings, is opening down to the hillside slope with green terraces. Suddenly the space becomes elevated base. Heavy altar made of solid Vietnamese polished granite is laid in front of strong columns, on terraces, right between two worlds, recognising their timeless sacrifice.
Distant views framed by the columns become part of the experience. Trees are echoed in the columns; it appears as if they separated from the forest to the higher, safer place.
Recessed monument allows uninterrupted views from outside to the landscape, other monuments and in the monument itself. Different levels and accesses provides diverse experience, also for those with disabilities. Material used are durable and long lasting.