Architecture Visiting Faculty Recognized for Design of Memorial Concept

416 Memorial Park, View from the Lake

Visiting Assistant Professor Sang Dae Lee of Auburn’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture is Principal of UNITEDLAB Associates, which has garnered significant recognition since its founding in 2006.

UNITEDLAB’s latest award-winning project, 416 Memorial Park, is a concept submitted for an international competition. The project has received three prestigious awards and attracted attention from various architectural publications.

The project was honored with the 2023 AIANY Design Awards Citation by The AIA New York State, signifying its excellence and contribution to the architectural field. Additionally, it received the 2023 American Architecture Awards Winner in the Parks and Gardens category by the Chicago Athenaeum and an AN’s 2023 Best of Design Awards Honorable Mention from the Architect’s Newspaper.

The purpose of 416 Memorial Park is to create a cultural space commemorating the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster, which claimed over three hundred lives in 2014. Designed as a complex of exhibition and educational facilities along with a columbarium, the park serves as a touching reminder of the tragedy and a space for collective remembrance.

416 Memorial Park, Memorial Garden & Walkway
416 Memorial Park, Memorial Garden & Walkway

In the project’s description, the architects aimed to build “a place of sublimation rather than a simple memorial space.” They sought to encapsulate the profound sorrow and loss experienced by those affected by the disaster while offering a space for healing and reflection. The roof garden, featuring 250 birch trees planted to commemorate the victims, symbolizes “the conception of new life and is a sustainable design element.”

The project maximizes the visitor experience through thoughtful design elements, such as a gradual descent into the memorial space, mirroring the sinking ship, and a sequence of movements that leads visitors through various interconnected spaces. It also includes a pop-up event space and connects to educational and exhibition facilities, providing public engagement and commemorative events.

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Sang Dae Lee