Martin Luther King Memorial cleared for construction
The National Capital Planning Commission, the agency that oversees the planning of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., has approved a revised security plan for the Martin Luther King Memorial, green lighting construction to begin.
Designed by ROMA Design Group of San Francisco, which won the commission in a competition that attracted 900 submissions from 52 countries, the memorial will be built on a four-acre site along the Tidal Basin in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, where Dr. King delivered his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
The memorial is conceived as a landscape experience to convey three fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King’s life: democracy, justice and hope. Its circular form relects the configuration of the shoreline and nurtures inclusivity. Along the Tidal Basin are located the historic cherry trees, which will be joined by new ones to maintain the integrity of the larger landscape. They add another dimension to the Memorial as they bloom in April, around the time of King’s death.
The struggle of the civil rights movement and the promise of democracy reveal itself to the visitor in a journey through the site, which begins at entry with the 'Mountain of Despair', twin portal stones inscribed with excerpts from Dr. King’s famous civil rights speech of 1963, and concludes with the 'Stone of Hope'. It features a 30 ft tall likeness of Dr. King, standing vigil, awaiting delivery of the promise.
Estimated to cost $120 million, the memorial, which will be the last to be built on the Mall, is slated for completion in 2011.