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Design Process

Concept to Construction

From those three designs, President Rowe chose the winning design and shared it with the Board of Visitors in April 2019. Architect Will Sendor '11 was the designer of the chosen concept, entitled "Hearth." The next steps in the memorial process included finding an architectural and construction firm to make the design concept into a reality. Richmond-based architects Baskervill and construction firm Kjellstrom & Lee, as well as the Memorial Building Committee and William & Mary's Facilities Maintenance team, spearheaded this phase. The Board of Visitors matched private gifts totaling more than $1 million. The groundbreaking for Hearth: Memorial to the Memorial took place in May 2021.

Memorial Vessel Competition Course

The vessel at the heart of the Hearth Memorial was designed as part of a class directed by Prof. Michael Gaynes, informed by his students, and selected through a related university-wide contest. The jury chose the Unity Vessel concept which was based on the research of Prof. Neil Norman and illustrations and renderings by Hope Norman, Treva Norman, and Liam Norman. 

Historic Bricks Featured in Hearth: Memorial to the Enslaved

There is a small section of six historic bricks near the base of Hearth. In contrast with the darker section of interior bricks near Hearth’s center, these bricks are framed and featured prominently. These are historic bricks, found by a team led by Dr. Susan Kern, then Executive Director of Historic Campus, in the summer of 2019. During a project to widen the brick pathway to the Wren Building, workers discovered an early 18th-century drain. The drain’s access point was unknown prior to June 12, 2019. Archaeologists Nick Luccketti ’71, Andy Edwards ’71, and William & Mary Center for Archaeological Research staff uncovered this drain and were able to view its interior. Enslaved people constructed this vaulted drain, accomplishing brickwork that required both skills and knowledge. Enslaved people also made the bricks. It is only fitting that loose bricks found during the drain dig are now part of Hearth.