Architect Tim Walls talked about the project . . .
Timothy J. Wall, AIA
Architect and committee member Tim Wall shared
his thoughts on the symbolism of the Angel of Hope
Memorial Garden design.
On Symbolism . . .
"I have been asked to share a little about the symbolism of our design. This is an interesting challenge because we originally had no intention to make this symbolic or to look like anything. Rather the committee developed design criteria from which the design grew. In preparation for today I reviewed the earliest meeting reports starting in December 2000 and important features included a peaceful park setting, benches to sit on, engraved bricks that could be purchased, space for groups to gather and some type separation from the public. We also identified the need for the memorial to be handicap accessible, open to the public 24 hours a day, in a safe location so that it could be visited 24 hours a day and some distance from playgrounds. And of course the angel statue.
We were and are continually amazed how things worked out. We found Pinhook Park.and Scott Carson will tell you that on a cold overcast February day when he and his wife visited Pinhook for the first time the sun came out when they came into the park and went away when they left. Then the Mayor and the Park Board graciously gave us permission to build here in this beautiful setting. To me this land seems made for this purpose. The wonderful trees, the water all around, it is quiet and peaceful, it's level with good parking and the playground is a good distance away.
We designed an oval space, with a brick path leading to the statue. It is big enough for a group to gather in, or allows someone to sit quietly on a bench (which will be delivered any day now) and a family to read the engraved bricks without intruding on each other's privacy. The walls are low enough to give a clear view all around but provide a barrier between the public park and this private memorial. And we provided light so that hopefully noone needs to be afraid in the dark.
We were also blessed to find Ziolkowski Construction, and subcontractors, who were willing to build this garden for a committee that had no money. The craftsmanship and care that they gave us is wonderful. We have some money now though not quite enough yet.
I was told to speak about the symbolism and there is symbolism here, but it is for the visitor to see if they wish. As we developed the project we saw things, and others saw different things. The walls reach out from the statue to enclose you in a safe place. If you look at the plan you might see a child in his mother's arms, or a womb, or even an angel. At the groundbreaking ceremony Mayor Luecke noticed that it is an ellipse, which like a circle is a perfect shape, but the circle is broken and there are gaps.just as the gaps that occur in our lives when we lose a child. The path is not straight, in fact there is only one short straight line in the entire plan (the contractors loved that), and I think we can all agree that none of our lives go in a straight line. And finally the statue. It rises out of the ground roughly hewn, then it is less rough, then it is smooth and at the top is a beautiful angel.
Finally, the statement that has come to mean a lot for me is something that Mike Wolf, the job foreman, said to me. He was building forms for the foundation, which I'll mention again is all curves and there are different radiuses and many center points and it was not a simple task, and he said "I like this job because it makes me think." Mike was speaking in a construction sense but that fits in another way too.
My wish for the Angel of Hope Memorial Garden is that when people, when you come here it lets you think. All those memories and feelings that too often we keep locked up in the deep places of our hearts because they hurt so much are free to come out for a while. While we are here we can think and remember with sadness and grief and with joy our children who left us too soon. And in that reflection we can heal and find comfort. And maybe those memories won't be locked away quite as deep. But wherever they go we will know that here they are safe and in this place we can think.
next . . .