American Memorials & Cemeteries

Architecture can be very powerful, especially when given the honor of building a memorial. In honor of Memorial Day in a few weeks, I want to explore the different memorials and cemeteries in the United States dedicated to those who gave their lives to make this country what it is today. My father and grandfather were both in the military, so I have been lucky enough to visit most of these beautiful places.

cemeteryArlington National Cemetery, Virginia – Arlington National Cemetery is a United States military cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. 624 acres have been dedicated to the dead soldiers of the nation’s conflicts, beginning with the American Civil War. The cemetery was established during the Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, which had been the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s wife Mary Anna (Custis) Lee (a great-granddaughter of Martha Washington). The cemetery, along with Arlington House, Memorial Drive, the Hemicycle, and the Arlington Memorial Bridge, form the Arlington National Cemetery Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in April 2014. Like nearly all federal installations in Arlington County, it has a Washington mailing address. Some other fun facts: President Herbert Hoover conducted the first national Memorial Day ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery, on May 30, 1929; Beginning in 1992, Morrill Worcester donated thousands of wreaths around the end-of-year holiday season to be placed on graves at Arlington. He has since expanded his effort, now known as Wreaths Across America, and supplies wreaths to over 230 state and national cemeteries and veterans monuments across the country.

koreonwarKorean War Veterans National Memorial, Washington D. C. – Located in Washington, D.C.’s West Potomac Park, southeast of the Lincoln Memorial and just south of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall, The Korean War Veterans Memorial commemorates those who served in the Korean War. The Korean War Veterans Memorial was confirmed by the U.S. Congress (Public Law 99-572) on October 28, 1986, with design and construction managed by the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board and the American Battle Monuments Commission. The initial design competition was won in 1986 by a team of four architects from The Pennsylvania State University, but this team withdrew as it became clear that changes would be needed to satisfy the advisory board and reviewing agencies such as the Commission of Fine Arts. A federal court case was filed and lost over the design changes. The eventual design was by Cooper-Lecky Architects who oversaw collaboration between several designers. President George H. W. Bush conducted the groundbreaking for the Memorial on June 14, 1992, Flag Day. The companies and organizations involved in the construction are listed on the memorial as: the Faith Construction Company, the Richard Sherman Company, the Cold Spring Granite Company, the Tallix Art Foundry and the Baltimore District of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The memorial was dedicated on July 27, 1995, the 42nd anniversary of the armistice that ended the war, by President Bill Clinton and Kim Young Sam, President of the Republic of Korea, to the men and women who served during the conflict. Management of the memorial was turned over to the National Park Service, under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group. As with all National Park Service historic areas, the memorial was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places on the day of its dedication.

wwIImemorialNational World War II Memorial, Washington D.C. – The World War II Memorial is a memorial of national significance dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II. Consisting of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a plaza and fountain, it sits on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Opened on April 29, 2004, it was dedicated by President George W. Bush on May 29. The memorial is administered by the National Park Service under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group. As of 2009, more than 4.4 million people visit the memorial each year. A nationwide design competition drew 400 submissions from architects from around the country. Friedrich St. Florian’s initial design was selected in 1997. On WWIIpicSeptember 30, 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed a 12-member Memorial Advisory Board (MAB) to advise the ABMC in picking the site, designing the memorial, and raising money to build it. A direct mail fundraising effort brought in millions of dollars from individual Americans. Additional large donations were made by veterans’ groups, including the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge and others. The majority of the corporate fundraising effort was led by two co-chairs: Senator Bob Dole, a decorated World War II veteran and 1996 Republican nominee for president; and Frederick W. Smith, the president and chief executive officer of FedEx Corporation and a former U.S. Marine Corps officer. The U.S. federal government provided about $16 million. A total of $197 million was raised. Over the next four years, St. Florian’s design was altered during the review and approval process required of proposed memorials in Washington, D.C. Ambassador Haydn Williams guided the design development for ABMC.

marinecorpsMarine Corps War Memorial, Washington D.C. – The United States Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) is a national monument in Arlington, Virginia, United States. Dedicated 62 years ago in 1954, it is located in Arlington Ridge Park, at the back entrance to Arlington National Cemetery and next to the Netherlands Carillon. The war memorial is dedicated to all U.S. Marine Corps personnel who have died in the defense of the United States since 1775. The memorial was inspired by the iconic 1945 photograph of six servicemen raising an American flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. It was taken by Associated Press combat photographer Joe Rosenthal. Upon first seeing the photograph, sculptor Felix de Weldon created a maquette for a sculpture based on it in a single weekend. He and architect Horace W. Peaslee designed the memorial. Their proposal was presented to Congress, but funding was not possible during the war. In 1947 a federal foundation was established to raise funds for the memorial. Created By Felix De Weldon, And Inspired By The Immortal Photograph Taken By Joseph J. Rosenthal On February 23, 1945, Atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands.

libmemorialLiberty Memorial, Missouri – The Liberty Memorial, located at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, is a memorial to service men and women who served in World War I. Fundraising began October 1919 and groundbreaking commenced on November 1, 1921, when the city held a site dedication. The memorial was completed and dedicated on November 11, 1926. On September 21, 2006, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne declared Liberty Memorial a National Historic Landmark. On December 19, 2014, President Barack Obama signed legislation recognizing the Liberty Memorial as a national memorial. he national design competition was managed by Thomas R. Kimball a former president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) according to National AIA rules. A disagreement between members of the Kansas City Chapter of AIA and Kimball over the rules, caused almost half of the local members to resign in April 1922. They immediately went on to form the Architectural League of Kansas City, which was merged back into the AIA in the early 1930’s. Unlike the AIA at the time, the Architectural League of Kansas City provided membership to less experienced architects and draftsmen and provided social and educational opportunities as well. Regardless of the controversy, many local architects submitted entries including those who resigned from the AIA. The jury, however, was unanimous in their decision to award the contract to New York architect Harold Van Buren Magonigle.

archNational Memorial Arch, Pennsylvania – The National Memorial Arch is dedicated “to the officers and private soldiers of the Continental Army December 19, 1777 to June 19, 1778”. The Arch is situated at the top of a hill at the intersection of Gulph Road and Outer Line Drive in Valley Forge National Histroic Park, Chester County, Pennsylvania.The Arch was erected in 1910 by an act of the 61st Congress. Initially, in 1908, it was proposed to erect two memorial arches in the park, but the bill was amended to create a single arch to save money. It is modeled on the Arch of Titus in Rome. The architect in charge of the arch was Paul Philippe Cret, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. The arch was criticized by the Philadelphia Record who observed that arches are typically urban structures and questioned its location in a rural setting. The 60-foot high arch was dedicated on June 19, 1917 in a ceremony attended by a number of U.S. Congressmen. Paul Cret did not attend as he was then en route to France where he served as an interpreter for the U.S. Army

wwIImuseum National World War II Museum, Louisiana – Formerly known as the D-Day Museum, the National WWII Museum is a military history museum focusing on the contribution made by the United States to Allied victory in World War II. It was designated by the U.S. Congress as America’s official National World War II Museum in 2003 and maintains an affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution. The Museum opened on June 6, 2000, the 56th anniversary of D-Day, and has since undertaken a large-scale expansion project which is still ongoing. In addition to the original building, known as the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, the Museum has since opened the Solomon Victory Theater, the John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion, the U.S. Freedom Pavilion, the Boeing Center, and the “Road to Berlin” portion of the Campaigns of Courage pavilion. There are further plans to construct what will be called the Liberation Pavilion.

These memorials are an important part of our American history, and only a small “thank you” to the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our Country. There are other ways we can honor Veterans this Memorial Day. Donate to the Wounded Warrior project, donate an old cell phone, send a care package, help build homes for injured veterans, drive a veteran to an appointment, or help a veteran heal with an animal companion! Even a simple “thank you” will make their day brighter.

5 Ways to “Go Green” in Architectural Design

recycleEarth Day is on April 22nd, so I thought I would get the “go green” awareness started a little early this month! With the amassing chatter around the world about global warming, we have seen a rising trend in doing things that are good for the environment, or, as we like to call it, “going green.” Even in the world of architecture, firms are beginning to specialize in sustainable construction or other environmentally friendly practices. Sometimes called “building green,” this type of construction utilizes responsible and efficient materials. These materials are better for the environment and, in many cases, are also better on the budget for people or organizations that construct them. Here are 5 ways that architects can incorporate “going green” into their design:

  1. Use of Sustainable Materials – Sustainable products are those products that provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal. Some examples of sustainable materials are bamboo, clay, adobe, hemp, recycled rubber, cork, straw, coconut palm, timber, and textiles. Many home improvement stores offer these types of materials for different projects. A great example is refurbished hardwood flooring! Cork is a great accent wall for a kitchen or office. It basically becomes a giant bulletin board where you can display photos or notes.
  2. Use of Biodegradable Materials – Biodegradable substances are capable of being broken down (decomposed) rapidly by the action of microorganisms. These include food scraps, cotton, wool, wood, human and animal waste, manufactured products based on natural materials (such as paper, and vegetable-oil based soaps). The most commonly used biodegradable material used in the construction field is insulation. Greensulate is a great example of this innovative material.
  3. Incorporating Natural Lighting – Homeowners spend big money to power the lights in their homes every day. Each time you turn on a light, kilowatts are being used in order to provide you with that light – and that means that the electric company is using valuable resources such as oil and gas. The best solution to this problem is to incorporate as much natural light as possible through windows and skylights.
  4. Purchasing “Energy Star” Appliances – ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. In order to earn the label, ENERGY STAR products must be third party certified based on testing in EPA-recognized laboratories. In addition to up-front testing, a percentage of all ENERGY STAR products are subject to “off–the–shelf” verification testing each year. The goal of this testing is to ensure that changes or variations in the manufacturing process do not undermine a product’s qualification with ENERGY STAR requirements. Appliances range from refrigerators, dishwashers and washer/dryers to ceiling fans, light bulbs, and pool pumps.
  5. Creating an Outdoor Space – Finally, you want to incorporate outdoor space within the architectural fabrication design. You may want to have an open-air lobby, a large patio or in the process of finding the right deck contractor in Los Angeles CA to manage your backyard. Adding trees and other plants to your yard is one of the easiest ways to help the environment!

The St. Petersburg Pier Project – My 2 Cents

*UPDATE 04/15/16* Today we received an email from the City of St. Petersburg containing a link to a virtual tour of the new pier design. Previously, as you can see below in my original blog post, I did not feel great about the new pier design. I felt even more worried after they announced that the design did not fit in the budget and they were planning on eliminating most of my favorite design elements to keep it in budget. Well, today I am filled with hope and happiness for our landmark. The email stated, “On Thursday, April 7th, the St. Petersburg City Council passed resolutions approving both the schematic design and funding for the new St. Petersburg Pier. The votes authorized city staff and the design team to proceed with the next phases for design and construction for the Pier.” The article states that initially, funds were allocated for the development of a new Pier, from Spa Beach to the end of the Pier Head. However, an additional $20 million to develop the Pier approach became available through TIF funds from the downtown tax district. This is very exciting news because now there is enough money to incorporate ALL of their designs. Although I am still a little skeptical of the overall design, and feel that it still lacks excitement, I feel a lot better about it now after this news, and taking the virtual tour. See for yourself here


The Pier has always had a special place in my heart, since I grew up here. Every year until age 15 we would go to the Pier for ice cream on my birthday. I have countless memories playing put-put golf, attempting to fish (with no luck), exploring the aquarium, and even singing karaoke at Cha-Cha Coconuts, the rooftop restaurant. I was absolutely devastated when I heard the news of demolition. But after some thought, I realized that it wasn’t the end of the Pier… just a new chapter and growth for our cities biggest landmark.

As most people who live in St. Petersburg know… the process of creating a new Pier has been rocky, to say the least. We have seen concept after concept from the architects and eventually we all finally voted on one and most people seemed happy with the choice. Well now it seems like that was all for nothing because the Tampa Bay Times published an article yesterday depicting the NEW schematic design for the Pier… and people are outraged (including myself)! Take a look at this:

new pier concept vs old one

It went from a very unique and standout structure to some rich retirees house in Malibu. There is nothing about this new concept that makes it a destination spot for our city. I rather have the old Pier back than waste $46 million on this garbage. Don’t get me wrong; it is a beautiful design – for a house. This is supposed to be our world famous Pier! The inverted pyramid drew millions of tourists to our city every year. I doubt this new Pier will draw even thousands. Not only is the actual architecture lackluster, but the amenities are also blah. Here is the basic layout of the entire project (for a better look, open their Design Plan PDF):

pier layout

The only 2 things that stand out, in my opinion, are the education center and the event plaza. Everything else is so boring! One tiny restaurant? One bar? No ice cream shop? Oh, there is a wading pool for hot tourists to dip their feet in when they feel faintish – yay! But according to the Tampa Bay Times article – that fun feature may be put on hold. Go figure. It feels more like a walking path of “coastal thicket” to a giant pad of concrete steps for you to sit on and look out at the water. I can go to the beach and watch the sunset. The Pier is supposed to be something that puts St. Petersburg on the map! We need more WOW factor! We need more shops and restaurants and things to DO! I am looking forward to having an event plaza where we would possibly hold some great concerts – but other than that… I rather spend my tax dollars on a highspeed train from Tampa to Orlando.

Research: Vectorworks

Vector worksAs I said in my New Years post, I want to learn how to use Vectorworks so I can be of more assistance to Larry. So, before I start learning how to use the program, I thought I could learn about where it came from and how it has evolved and other interesting tid-bits of information!

Vectorworks, Inc. is a global design software developer serving the architecture, landscape and entertainment industries. It was founded in 1985 as Diehl Graphsoft, Inc. The company produces the Vectorworks family of software, which includes Vectorworks Designer, Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Fundamentals, and Renderworks. These programs are CAD software designed with the intent to help designers communicate effectively and bring their visions to life while keeping building information modeling (BIM) at the heart of the design process. Their headquarters is in Columbia, Maryland and is a part of the Nemetschek Group.

This software has played a formative role in the CAD industry, redefining the marketplace by setting a high standard for its products, and continually testing and refining them to surpass users’ expectations. It has become internationally respected in both CAD and BIM technology categories. The company created one of the first CAD programs, one of the first 3D modeling software programs and the first cross-platform CAD application. They started out as exclusively available for Apple iOS, but later came out with a version that also worked for the PC.

Over half a million designers rely on Vectorworks technology on a daily basis. They include architects, landscape architects, entertainment designers, product designers, and many more! The fact that it is a tool used by designers gives me confidence that I will be able to learn the technology without a problem. And what is even more interesting – Vectorworks products are put to work in more that 85 countries in ten different languages! Besides English, Vectorworks products also come in Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Norwegian.

Another outstanding feature of Vectorworks’ corporate identity is its fanatical devotion to responsiveness to customers. The company’s hands-on training seminars and self-guided training options provide users with a variety of learning tools for the software. Their website has an overwhelming amount of resources from training videos to technical support to inspirational ideas! I am looking forward to this new challenge! We were also recommend to visit Computer repairs in Ipswich for details on how to resolve computer problems.