The June 5th Memorial park is a monument to building safety; constructed in remembrance of the six lives lost in the Center City demolition collapse on June 5, 2013. This memorial reconfigures the site at 22nd and Market to create a compact design filled with symbolism, beauty, and nature; designed to be experience both day and night.
Written by Architect, Scott Aker, AIA
A unique feature of the June 5 Memorial is that it is one park with two spaces — a sacred space for reflection, and a raised terrace space for public gathering. The design uses angular walls to weave the two spaces together, making a long, narrow lot seem larger and more spacious. The corners at both ends of the park are joined at acute angles, designed to make the thick walls appear thin— inviting people to touch the granite edges as they move into the park.
The June 5 Memorial Park uses innovative construction to bring out natural qualities of the building materials giving the memorial its unique character. 1) Black and gray granites are finished in three ways: high polish, smooth, and rough cut. 2) The concrete is exposed aggregate, a chemical process applied to concrete that reveals the variety of stone structure usually left hidden beneath the surface. 3) Natural bronze metal screens add warmth and positivity to the space. 4) An array of textured plants were selected for the raised beds and trees chosen to blossom yearly around the time of the anniversary. Significantly, all the building material used in the memorial is cut to a 5-foot square module, in remembrance of the date, June 5.
Memorialization through light and color is a special quality of the June 5 Memorial park. In front of the memorial sculpture, titled "Witness," are individual round markers in the concrete that commemorate where bodies of the victims of the collapse were found. These colored markers correspond to window colors in the sculpture that were chosen by family members. Set within a spiral pattern cast directly into the pavement, these markers form a constellation of memory that can never be forgotten. At night all the white stones in the spiral illuminate with a soft blueish glow.
Moving through the space beginning at Market Street towards the College of Physicians, the pavement first slopes downward into the sacred area, creating a sunken garden, then upward to the plaza, where six honey locust trees shade a space for public gathering. This area will feature tables and chairs for general seating. The tall “identity wall” directly behind the gathering space borders the edge of the park and contains a window area to view the future of building in the City; and this window symbolizes the June 5 Memorial park’s next chapter — advocating building safety in the City of Philadelphia and beyond.
The park design was approved by the Philadelphia Art Commission on June 3, 2015.
A team of professional designers collaborated over a period of six months to develop a final plans. Over $150,000.00 in design hours has been donated by licensed design professionals in the Philadelphia area.
Architect/Lead Designer: Scott Aker, AIA, Artist: Barb Fox, Lighting Designer: The Lighting Practice, Engineers: Pennoni Associates, Landscape Architect: Synterra, LTD & The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), Project Management: Brandywine Realty Trust