The Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) along with the Sugar Land Parks Department and Sugar Land Legacy Foundation, is spearheading the design and construction of the Fort Bend County Veterans’ Memorial. The project is a continuation of the TCA Community Project Program, developed in 2010 to encourage collaboration between member companies of the convention host city and to provide a vehicle by which these companies could give back to their communities. The TCA Convention, sponsored by Concrete Construction, will be held in Houston, September 30 to October 2.
“It’s through the host committee (for the convention) that we identify these types of opportunities,” said Mitch Bloomquist of TCA. “They help us to make all of the local connections and to become more aware of the intricacies of their market. This assists in designing an event relevant to the region in which it is hosted. The host committee is also the core team for the community project.”
Patti Miller, Director of Business Development for E.E. Reed Construction and chair of the 2013 TCA Convention Host Committee, approached the Sugar Land Legacy Foundation earlier this year in search of a project. The foundation works to increase the quality of life within Sugar Land with a vision to facilitate the development of more diversified recreational, cultural, and civic opportunities.
Jim Browne, Director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Sugar Land assisted the Legacy Foundation in identifying three potential projects, and the host committee selected the one that most closely fit the scope they were prepared to offer and the potential for application and exploration of tilt-up concrete construction.
TCA Board of Directors member Jeffrey Brown of Powers Brown Architecture offered his firm’s services to design the memorial. “We decided to alter our process in keeping with the spirit of the project by getting as many of our team members involved as possible,” said Brown. An internal ideas competition was held and nine schemes were submitted, representing all Powers Brown Architecture office locations. An eight-person jury was assembled to review and vote on the schemes in May 2013 at the Powers Brown Architecture office in Houston.
The memorial will be located in Sugar Land’s Memorial Park and will be part of what the Parks and Recreation Department are calling Memorial Trail. There are two elements in the park itself that establish the beginnings of the Memorial Trail, which the subject of this competition will complete. The first two components are a Flag Court with flags from the nations where the veterans being honored have fought. The second is a general Honorary Plaque. The Veterans’ Memorial will complete the ensemble and result in a Memorial Trail that is a subset or overlay on the extensive park walking trail system.
The memorial site itself is really a two-part area comprising a mound on the east side of the allocated boundary area and a peninsula to the west side of the same area adjacent to and extending into the lake. The goal of the memorial is to exploit the site in a way that accommodates two distinct, but perhaps overlapping, tropes of honor- the Celebratory and the Contemplative.
In addition to the interpretive program, the goal is to explore the architectural potential of tilt-up concrete construction. “We asked those submitting designs to think of the tilt-up potential – to think of its method, its materiality, and its possible treatment. We asked them to look to innovations in forming, acid etching, over pour, sand blasting permeability, variation in thickness, and so on,” said Brown. “We wanted them to think of things that have never been done with the method, but do so only in service of the greater idea and purpose of the program.”
The internal design competition produced many ideas. The winning proposal, designed by Matt Stephens, will be taken on by the Powers Brown Architecture’s Houston design team for design development and the production of construction documents. Elements of a second place proposal designed by Brian Burnett, Garret Delano, and Mike Fecco may also be incorporated into the final memorial.
Powers Brown Architecture will serve as Architect of Record for the project and E.E. Reed has agreed to build the memorial. The consultant team will be selected once the design of the memorial is set. Products, accessories, and other tilt-up industry services will be provided by TCA members at no cost to the project. Discussion of these items is taking place with the TCA’s Global Associate Council.
A dedication ceremony is being planned in conjunction with the 2013 TCA Convention in Houston for Monday, September 30. More details on this project and the 2013 TCA Convention can be found at http://tilt-up.org/events/2013-tca-convention/.