NEW HAVEN, CONN. – Architecture, art and advisory firm Svigals + Partners announced the June 2021 completion of the New Haven Botanical Garden of Healing Dedicated to Victims of Gun Violence.
Designed by Svigals + Partners as a place for families to honor and celebrate lost loved ones, the garden hopes to raise awareness of the impact of gun deaths and inspire communities to address the multiple roots of violence.
Svigals + Partners designed the garden in close collaboration with the Yale University-based nonprofit Urban Resources Initiative and a local group of mothers whose children have died from gun violence, and who conceived of a memorial garden as a public place of healing. The one-acre memorial garden at the south end of West Rock Ridge State Park centers on a walking path that culminates deep in the site at a circular plaza with stone seating areas surrounded by flowering plantings, creating a serene and protected area for remembrance and reflection.
“The garden will help to restore hope and foster healing for families, friends and neighbors. This is the power of nature offering a contemplative and reflective space for community remembrance and healing,” said Colleen Murphy-Dunning, director of the Urban Resources Initiative.
The brick walking path, called Magnitude Walkway, contains the names and ages of every victim lost to gun violence in New Haven dating back to 1976, about 650 in all. Additionally, the park features a Memory Wall that has tiles engraved with memories of the victims, plus a Tree of Life Plaza at the heart of the garden that is adorned with floral embellishments that compliment open views of West Rock, and strategically set wind chimes that bring a sense of serenity that offset sounds from the nearby roadway.
Also found at the heart of the garden is the Lost Generation sculpture. The aluminum perspective sculpture transforms between various viewpoints, as a reminder of the fragility and strength inherent in the family unit and is symbolic of the future lineages lost when a life is taken by gun violence.
“Svigals + Partners has developed a broad collaborative process for the early stages of design in our projects,” said Marissa Dionne Mead, AIA, the lead design architect for the garden and its centrally located sculpture. “Inviting people to participate, share their stories, and to list to one another are vital components to the success of a community-based project.”
Known for a range of architecture and design work often integrating artwork of its own and by others, Svigals + Partners also served as architect for the new Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn.