African burial ground national monument
The African Burial Ground National Monument commemorates an estimated 15,000 free and enslaved Africans who were interred in Lower Manhattan’s Negro Burial Ground, a site that once extended 6.6 acres beside the Collect Pond. The Monument, oriented to true north and east, occupies more than two-thirds of the 1/8-acre portion that now remains. EKLA PLLC worked with the Monument Architect to resolve urban design issues of massing, circulation, and on-site/off-site connectivity, so that the interpretive scope of the monument could be fully realized.
Native shadblow (Amelanchier) trees, selected for their significance as early sources of food and subsistence, frame the view of the Monument from the Ted Weiss Federal Courthouse Building lobby. Honey locust trees cast very light shade as a backdrop to the Monument in its urban setting. Earth mounds within the
re-interment area were designed to become singularly irregular in shape over time, so that the area – reminiscent of the Collect Pond – will contrast with the manicured landscape immediately surrounding the monument’s three elements: the Ancestral Chamber, Circle of the Diaspora and sunken Libation Court.
National Organization of Minority Architects 2009 Design Excellence Honor Award