Newtown, Conn., is set to select the final design for a permanent memorial to the 26 people who died during the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The town’s memorial commission will review the top three submissions on July 30 for a memorial to be built on a 5.3-acre site a quarter of a mile from the rebuilt school, which opened approximately two years ago.
Narrowed from 200 submissions, the three finalists presented their designs to the commission on July 17. The top three design teams are San Francisco-based SWA Group; Tempe, Ariz.-based Arleo Design Studio; and a team comprising two Minneapolis-based firms (Damon Farber Landscape Architects and RSP Dreambox) and New Haven, Conn.-based Svigals + Partners. The last also served as the architect for the school building.
SWA’s design includes a series of braided pathways converging on a central communal space with a sycamore tree planted inside a fountain engraved with the victims’ names.
Arleo’s submission has a garden and small “pondless” spillover fountain for each victim. A 3-ft-tall stone wall would hold a granite plaque with separate dedications to the town, the first responders, the survivors and people from across the country that reached out after the tragedy.
The Damon Farber/RSP Dreambox/Svigals + Partners design has six “experiential elements” in their scheme, including an open green space, a grove, a reflection pool, a bench and an arbor.
The commission’s choice of the winning submission must be approved by the Newtown Board of Selectmen. The final decision could be announced in August.
Design submissions were due December 2017. In the design guidelines released in September 2017, Kyle Lyddy, the memorial commission’s chairman, wrote that he is confident that the final design “will offer a sense of peace to those in our community and beyond. With your help, we’re committed to ensuring that those lost are honored with lasting meaning.”