UVA Memorial to Enslaved Laborers

UVA Memorial to Enslaved Laborers

Charlottesville, Virginia
United States
UVA Memorial to Enslaved Laborers

TYLin provided structural engineering services for a new circular memorial park near the University of Virginia's central lawn.

The new memorial seeks to formally acknowledge the individual lives and forced labor of the enslaved African Americans who built and sustained everyday university life. The interior of the structure lists known names and allows for additional names that may be discovered through further research. Historians estimate that around 5,000 enslaved laborers worked at Thomas Jefferson’s historic university.

The memorial, circular in form and 80 feet in diameter, rises out of the ground and reaches a peak of eight feet. Clad in local granite, the structure is supported with concrete buttressed retaining walls that back the sloping stone pieces. A smaller interior ring, accessible via a circular path, has a stone bench with a water feature for visitors to pause and reflect.

Image credit: Alan Karchmer/OTTO

Best of Design Awards – Winner, Project of the Year; Winner, Public and Social Impact, 2020
Architect’s Newspaper

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