Portland Fire and Rescue in partnership with Portland State University’s School of Architecture today announced the winner of a competition to design the Portland Firefighters Memorial. After an eight month, two-stage competition with input from firefighters and the general public, the selection committee members unanimously selected the design by Aaron Whelton / Whelton Architecture as the competition winner.
The Portland Firefighters Memorial will be located on the east bank of the Willamette River adjacent to Fire Station no. 21 and directly across from downtown Portland. Whelton Architecture’s design establishes two discernable experiential zones: at the ground level, low horizontal stone benches and walls are rooted into the earth; and in the sky, tall vertical lanterns gently sway overhead. These elements are organized across the memorial field in a series of parallel lines whose overall figure is greater than any one individual mark.
More images and architect’s description after the break.
The figural reading of the memorial changes depending on the distance from which it is experienced. Within the field each individual lantern is clearly identifiable and the space between them is varied to accommodate both individual visitors and larger groups. Seen from greater distances the lanterns merge into a unified line of light in the sky. This constellation-like pattern will expand the presence of the memorial into a symbol which is visible and recognizable across Portland.
The memorial intends to renew its presence within the city by establishing a changing illumination cycle that will connect the profound loss of Portland’s brave firefighters to the daily patterns of life. Each month a varying selection of memorial lanterns equal to the number of historical line-of-duty deaths during that month will be more brightly illuminated. Altering the pattern of light-levels will subtly change the constellation composed by the lanterns over the course of the year and within the memorial will provide a diversity of experiences and opportunities for inhabitation.
A preliminary cost estimate for construction is $2.4 million raised through private donations with the goal being to complete the project in time for a dedication ceremony on June 26th, 2011, the date of the annual service held in memory of Portland firefighters and the 100th anniversary of Portland Fire Chief David Campbell’s death. portlandfirefightersmemorial.org has additional information about the design competition and how donations can be made to the new memorial project.