The new Dublin Veterans Park (in Dublin, Ohio) was awarded to PLANT after an invited international two-stage competition. The Dublin Grounds of Remembrance is a one-acre park designed to commemorate the service of veterans and revitalize the town’s heritage settlement. The project eschews a traditional monument in favour of promoting the act of habitual walking and social gathering, reinforcing the journey of remembrance and creating new significance for the land.
The project comprises a copper Loggia with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Concord Hymn (1836) laser-cut in bronze, Recognition Walk with bronze Guide Rail, ceremonial area, Memory Wall, Sycamore Grove, custom lighting, planting regeneration including a new storm-water strategy, and a Dedication Seat-Wall engraved with the five branches of the U.S. Military all surrounding an 1840s cemetery. The collective ritual centres on the parade ceremony, with the backdrop of the Loggia, a sloped grassy amphitheatre shaded by the Grove of Sycamores, the inscribed stone wall where wreaths can be laid, and a flagpole.
Emerson’s poem was originally written for Concord’s centennial celebration of the start of the Revolutionary War: making an ancestral connection between the original fight for independence as a necessity for freedom, and all veterans that have followed.
Sycamores are symbolic of memory and rebirth: In addition to their river-side habit, Sycamores are symbols of longevity, renewal and shelter – their roots go back in Ohio over 130 million years. Their shedding bark mixes young and old on the trunk (it is literally inter-generational), and their branches are striking white, giving them a strong winter aspect when Veteran’s Day events occur.
The Grounds promote a daily and individual ritual journey choreographed from the large gathering space around the cemetery into the woods by the river, ending at the Memory Wall – a place for intimacy and archiving messages. The Walk is calibrated to pace movement with the textures of limestone screenings and paving. The sound of the crunching underfoot, the wear on the path, and the feel of the Guide Rail reinforce the physical and mental remembrance that generates personal meaning for the site. The Walk is edged by the bronze Guide Rail which guides movement and quietly marks the site boundary. The handrail’s shape invites touching, while providing support and registering the passage of visitors by polishing through usage.
This enduring public landscape serves as the hub for Memorial and Veterans Day ceremonies, and as a daily retreat for visitors of all ages. The project has become a vital part of City’s program to revive the 19th-century heritage hamlet.
For more information and ongoing activities at the Grounds, please visit the City Of Dublin’s site.