Christopher Cunningham Dr. Patricia J.

Guthrie HUMA-1315-TC042 (Fine Arts Appreciation)

Final paper: The Vietnam Memorial

Architect: Maya Lin Name of building: The Vietnam Memorial Figure Number: 80 page 70 Date of construction: 1982 Location: Washington D.C. Dimensions and Size: The wall is approximately 246.75 feet long which is made up of 70 separate blocks which are made of granite concrete paneling and is 10.1 in height. Spanning element: steel and reinforced concrete Materials: stone and concrete What is the purpose of the building: The Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. serves as a place of memorial to those both living and dead who sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam war. May Lin the one who helped construct the memorial wanted it to give the visitor a feeling of peace and safety to show that this sacrifice was not in vain but despite that it was an unpopular war it served a greater purpose to remember the dead and the sacrifice they gave to America.

Consider the formal elements and how it relates to the purpose of the building: The Vietnam Memorial stands as a wall made of black granite and stone reinforced Concrete. It list over 58,261 names in addition to another 1200 inscriptions of those either taken prisoner of war or are missing in action while in service in Vietnam. The panel of names contains 137 lines. The first known causality is listed as Richard B. Fitzgibbon June 8 1956 along with his son Lance Corp Richard B. Fitzgibbon following in Sept 1965. All names on the memorial are listed in chronological order from first and last name to casualty date. As you continue down the wall you notice that it faces both the Washington and Lincoln memorial. It allows the viewer to take in the beautiful sites surrounding the memorial with others near by which are surrounded by trees. The viewer merges from a place surrounded by busy streets, and loud noise into a place of serenity and of peace, which allows the viewer a moment of reflection and a spiritual experience.

What principles of design are informed into the architectural schemes: The design of the Vietnam Memorial is asymmetric having neither balance or symmetry to define it. The wall is comprised of black granite stone which comes from Bangalore, India however all cutting of the granite was done in Vermont through a variety of techniques such polishing and flame treating. The wall stands 246.75 feet in height and width which makes the wall a total of 493.50 feet combined. It is composed of 70 granite panels. It has been constructed in a way so that it blends with it’s natural environment and surroundings.

What is the importance of the building? Does it posses meaning beyond its purpose? The purpose of the Vietnam memorial thorough the eyes of the architect is to remind of of the sacrifice of those who had given their lives during the war. The memorial does not just manifest itself by listing the names of these servicemen, it is more then just names on Slate. It is to remind us that freedom comes at a price and that we should not take for granted what men and women in the armed service have to risk at keeping America safe even if it means losing your life.

References: Source #1 Sayre, Henry M. A World Of Art. Pearson Custom Publishing, Boston Mass. 2006 Revised Fourth Edition Ch 4 pg 70 Fig 80 Source #2
Robert Campbell, "An Emotive Place Apart," A.I.A. Journal, May 1983 Retrieved February 5, 2006 from

Source # 3 The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Webpage Wall information page:

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