Nous Engineering
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National Memorial for Peace and Justice

Montgomery, Alabama

The Washington Post writes, "The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a somber, hilltop pergola of rusted steel overlooking the city that saw the birth of both the Confederacy and the Civil Rights Movement, is one of the most powerful and effective new memorials created in a generation." The New York Times states, "The country has never seen anything like it."

On April 26, 2018, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) opened the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.

The Memorial is centered on six-acre site and has become the first national memorial to victims of lynching. Constructed of over 800 corten steel modules representing each county where racial terror lynchings took place, the structure contains the names of over 4,000 lynching victims.

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  CLIENT |  Equal Justice Initiative   LOCATION |  Montgomery, Alabama   ARCHITECT |  MASS Design Group   STAFF LEAD |  Matthew Melnyk, SE   COMPLETED |  2018

CLIENT | Equal Justice Initiative

LOCATION | Montgomery, Alabama

ARCHITECT | MASS Design Group

STAFF LEAD | Matthew Melnyk, SE

COMPLETED | 2018

 Although the primary structure is exposed, the design intent was to have the structure disappear from the observer’s perspective. Cantilevers in excess of 35 feet were limited in depth and supported on a series of limited perimeter columns which were optimized to achieve a minimal structural appearance. A careful balance was struck between load bearing columns and suspended modules to maintain the same size profile for all vertical elements and further blur the structural system.

Although the primary structure is exposed, the design intent was to have the structure disappear from the observer’s perspective. Cantilevers in excess of 35 feet were limited in depth and supported on a series of limited perimeter columns which were optimized to achieve a minimal structural appearance. A careful balance was struck between load bearing columns and suspended modules to maintain the same size profile for all vertical elements and further blur the structural system.

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 Fiberglass, GFRC and corten steel were all evaluated for use as the suspended module before selecting the steel shells to reduce loading demands on columns and cantilevers. Strict performance criteria had to be applied to the roof steel design to limit deflections and ensure a visibly clean horizontal plane. A combination of member sizing, camber, framing configuration and adjustment capabilities built into the attachments of the modules allowed for a precise control of the roof level.

Fiberglass, GFRC and corten steel were all evaluated for use as the suspended module before selecting the steel shells to reduce loading demands on columns and cantilevers. Strict performance criteria had to be applied to the roof steel design to limit deflections and ensure a visibly clean horizontal plane. A combination of member sizing, camber, framing configuration and adjustment capabilities built into the attachments of the modules allowed for a precise control of the roof level.

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 As historical research continued even during the project development, more counties were added to the memorial during the design phase. Nous Engineering generated a parametric control to allow for the Equal Justice Initiative and Mass Design group to reorganize the 800 modules listing county names in an order that satisfied the memorial experience. The location of the modules ultimately drove the steel framing alignments.    For more information about this project please visit  www.eji.org  and  www.museumandmemorial.eji.org

As historical research continued even during the project development, more counties were added to the memorial during the design phase. Nous Engineering generated a parametric control to allow for the Equal Justice Initiative and Mass Design group to reorganize the 800 modules listing county names in an order that satisfied the memorial experience. The location of the modules ultimately drove the steel framing alignments.

For more information about this project please visit www.eji.org and www.museumandmemorial.eji.org

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