Tucson's January 8th Memorial

Designing a memorial to commemorate the tragic events of January 8th, 2011. Master planning the future site of the Memorial, El Presidio Park.

Approach

On January 8, 2011 a shooting occurred at a “Congress on your Corner” event in Tucson, AZ. It was a Saturday morning. Six people were killed and thirteen wounded, including Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, while participating in a fundamental act of democracy.

An international competition was held to design a memorial to remember the tragic events of January 8th – and the coming together of the community in response.

 

El Presidio Park bird's eye view January 8th Memorial and the Old Pima County Courthouse El Presidio Park program Inside the January 8th Memorial The Inner Wall of the January 8th Memorial Mobile App: stories of January 8th and Tucson history

Solution

The design team headed by the Chee Salette Architecture Office in LA was selected. There are five of us: Marc Salette (principal architect), Tina Chee (landscape architect), Rebeca Méndez (art & design), Wilfried Kramb (lighting), and me, Jackie Kain (history & community).

My specific responsibilities: community outreach, local history research and public cultural and historical interpretation strategies.

Work began in the Fall of 2015 and is ongoing.

 

Highlights

Our vision: The Memorial is integrated within the landscape of El Presidio Park in downtown Tucson, sited directly in front of the Old Pima County Courthouse.

The outer memorial is a Living Wall of desert plants and rocks reflecting the colors of the Southwest, a gentle earthen frame for the Courthouse. The inner memorial offers a space of discovery and reflection.

On the interior memorial wall the stories of January 8th and Tucson are told through its people and history, using symbols inspired by Hohokam petroglyphs. These symbols are organized in a series of lines or strata that evoke the deposition of history and memories, accumulated like geological layers.

The Memorial is a gateway, a bridge, to El Presidio Park, which is transformed into a vibrant cultural, historic and civic space, an everyday park where all may engage and exercise their most basic fundamental civil rights.