City Launches Freedmen's Cemetery Design Competition

Page archived as of April 25, 2008

City of Alexandria Launches Freedmen’s Cemetery Design Competition
Competition Guidelines Available Beginning February 6

The City of Alexandria invites design submissions from architects, landscape architects, artists, students, and the general public to memorialize and honor the 1,800 individuals—who escaped slavery by fleeing to Alexandria during the Civil War—that are buried in Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery.  The three-acre site is located at the southwest corner of Church and South Washington Streets in Alexandria. Design Competition guidelines will be released on Wednesday, February 6 and the submissions are due Friday, April 25.

Information and criteria for the design will be available starting February 6 at  Design requirements include interpreting the cemetery site with respect to those who are buried there and providing a focal point consisting of an artistic or interpretive element that respects the integrity of the graves, historic design of the site, and the scale of the adjacent neighborhood. 
The deadline for submission of design applications is 5 p.m. on Friday, April 25, 2008.  Submissions must be mailed to Lee Center, Attention: Design Competition, 1108 Jefferson St.,
Alexandria, VA 22314.  Entries must be submitted on one entry board, mounted on 30”x 42” foam or illustration board.  Each entry board must be oriented vertically, and must include a site plan, a 250-word vision statement, additional images of the proposed design, and a completed entry form.

Each submission will be evaluated based on conformance with the overall mission statement and design criteria outlined in the guidelines.  The finalists’ designs will be displayed for public comment.  Cash prizes will be awarded for winning designs, including $10,000 for first place; $5,000 for second place; and $2,500 for third place.  Winners will be notified by July 2008.  The winning concept design will be developed into a detailed site design with a $1.5 to $2 million construction budget. 

Acquisition of the cemetery site was made possible with funding from the Federal Highway Administration and the Virginia Department of Transportation through the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project. Additional support for historical research and writing and for the design competition came from a Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Park Service.

For more information or to download the competition guidelines, visit