Maya Lin: Making the Memorial

One thing that’s particularly interesting about how Maya Lin was able to be the designer of the Vietnam War Memorial is how that she was able to do it as part of a class project she was doing at Yale, and not for the competition, so it was just designed the way she thought it should look like.  The design and her inspiration  for the project came from and architectural seminar course where they focused on funeral architectural design and how people expressed their emotions through funerary constructions.  In her quest to come up with a great design, she made the decision to not do any specific research regarding the Vietnam war, and the political strife that surrounded it either.  She believed that politics had eclipsed everything the veterans had done with giving their lives for their country.

At her school she talks about how the power of a name is extremely important, and at Yale they have at Memorial Rotunda inscribed with all the alumni that have been killed in wars.  Another memorial that made a lasting impression on her and aroused her curiosity was the monument of the missing soldiers of the WWI battle of the Somme by Sir Edwin Lutyens.  This monument included over 10,000 names of people who were missing because they couldn’t be identified, “the memorial acknowledged those lives without focusing on the war or on creating a political statement of victory or loss. This apolitical approach became the essential aim of my design; i did not want to civilize war by glorifying it or by forgetting the sacrifices involved. The price of a human in war should always be clearly remembered.  This is why her design was a display suspended above ground that just listed the names of all the fallen soldiers in battle, and served as a way of remembering them while not glorifying war in any way with the execution.


Making the Memorial. (Accessed April 29, 2017)


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