Tri An Monument © 2016
Client: Tri Ân Foundation, Louisville, Kentucky, US
Status: Competition Design
Design: Monolab
Team: J.W. van Kuilenburg with Vania Citraro, Ignacio Rodriguez, Vergara Dominguez, Zuzanna Mariola Gąszczak, Flavia Oddi, Dalila Pace, Maura Rotelli, Angela Verrengia


…deep gratitude for defending freedom


In Louisville, Kentucky, a diverse group of citizens led by Yung Nguyen, an immigrant from Vietnam, has conceived this idea of a monument of thanksgiving; a place of special recognition for the tremendous sacrifices the American and South Vietnamese Armed Forces made during the Vietnam War in order to give the Vietnamese people a chance to live in freedom. The foundation’s name is “Tri Ân”, which means “deep gratitude” in the Vietnamese language.

A site was secured in an existing park dedicated to veterans. It is in Jeffersontown, a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky.
It is situated on a sloping hillside site within a park with other monuments to veterans nearby.
Circulation paths within the monument might organize the exhibits and invite recreational park visitors to visit.
More private areas and seating might provide respite, and allow for passive contemplation.
Three issues will be exhibited:
1 the history of the Vietnamese country and its people leading up to the war,
2. the geographical and political divisions that existed within Southeast Asia region,
3 images of the land of Vietnam and show the lifestyle of its people.

The conceptual design is made of one simple sheet of paper: it consists of a gate and two rings. People revolve around a central patio and have access to a landscaped garden on the hillside.

Circulation pattern
The circulation pattern takes visitors through four zones. The first three zones bring people together; the fourth zone serves families and individuals.

1. Entry zone
Nine flag poles, a gate and seven embedded emblems represent the monument as seen from the road. Visitors walk through the gate, in-between the emblems onto a suspended loop that protects another open space below.

2. Information zone
A ramp leads down to a circular lower level that has an information zone and a central patio at its heart. A suspended ribbon around the patio displays information:
– printed (Background and History: general introduction on the people and culture of Vietnam),
– and by interactive touch screens (the War with the North: information on the war and its consequences).

3. Collective mental zone
For contemplation, reflection and remembrance (Those who Served). The central patio is a collective space for larger groups up to 100 people. The somewhat sunken floor is covered with over 750.000 crosses that represent all who served and sacrificed. The patio has several trees.

4. Landscaped garden
For individual contemplation.
The lower level gives access to the hillside by a second ramp where a series of little natural enclaves are nested. These serve individuals, families or small groups. Several species of climate proof Vietnamese trees, plants and flowers make a peaceful garden.

The gate, floors and ramps are made of white concrete. Balustrades are made of curved glass. All ramps and slopes fit wheelchairs.