GuernseyTingle delivered a simple, dignified design that also fulfilled complex technical needs.
As a result of the lack of appropriate facilities to inter the cremated remains of unidentified and unclaimed United States military service members, the US Congress authorized Arlington National Cemetery to provide a simple, dignified memorial and an ossuary for this purpose. GuernseyTingle was honored to have been asked by the Norfolk District US Army Corps of Engineers to design this facility.
The project guidelines called for a dignified memorial that also needed to meet a variety of functional requirements. The project plan requested evaluation of several sites and approval of the proposed design would have to be obtained from the US Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capitol Planning Commission.
The solution included the creation of an accessible pathway between Patton Drive and an existing Niche Wall where individual soldier’s remains were interred. At its midway point, the path changes direction at a circular element, under which the vault housing the interment rests and on top of which a stone cairn element has been placed. A memorial stone behind the cairn commemorates the sacrifice of the interred soldiers and a bench opposite provides a place to stop and rest and honor the fallen. Six flowering trees surround the memorial to provide shade and to help set this location apart from the regular pattern of shade trees that have been planted in this area of the cemetery.
This design has been praised as being deceptively simple while still successfully fulfilling the relatively complex technical requirements of the program for providing a dignified resting place that honors the sacrifice of a previously unrecognized group of soldiers.