John Ronan Architects selected to design Fallen Journalists Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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John Ronan Architects selected to design Fallen Journalists Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The memorial site is a triangle parcel on the corner of Independence Avenue and 3rd Street with a direct view line of the U.S. Capitol. (Courtesy Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation)

In Washington, D.C. the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation (FJMF) announced today that John Ronan Architects will design a monument indebted to journalists who died in the line of duty, not far from the National Mall. Upon completion, the Fallen Journalists Memorial will be the first national memorial dedicated to press freedom and journalists who have lost their lives in service to that cause.

John Ronan Architects beat out stiff competition for the job. The Chicago firm triumphed over shortlisted submissions by Höweler + Yoon, NADAAA, MOS and Hood Design Studio; which were announced earlier this year.

FJMF’s Design Team Selection Committee included Paul Goldberger; David Dreier, Barbara Cochran, and Vincent Randazo of the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation; landscape architect Mia Lehrer; Cornell professor Milton Curry; critic Blair Kamin; Eden Rafshoon, President of the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies; and Alan Harwood, a partner at AECOM.

aerial map showing location of monument
Site Map (Courtesy Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation)

In 2020, U.S. Congress authorized a triangle parcel on the corner of Independence Avenue and 3rd Street for the memorial’s construction. The forthcoming design by John Ronan will be just across the street from the National Museum of the American Indian and have a direct sightline of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Renderings of the proposal haven’t been released, but the winning architects described their design as a “journey of discovery that unfolds slowly, space by space, like a story that casts the visitor in the role of investigative journalist,” said John Ronan, founding principal of John Ronan Architects. “I look forward to working with the foundation to create an inspiring place of remembrance which honors those who have sacrificed their lives in pursuit of the truth and celebrates the First Amendment foundations upon which democracy is built,” Ronan continued.

David Dreier, chairman of the FJMF, said the Chicago-based firm “was selected because of his sound grasp of our vision for the memorial, as well as his creativity and attention to detail.”

“Equally important, we were inspired by his unique and compelling design concept, which calls for the use of transparent materials to convey themes of clarity and light to reinforce the importance of the work of journalists, photojournalists and a free press,” Dreier continued.

Barbara Cochran, FJMF’s President, added: “After receiving and reviewing so many thoughtful submissions, we knew we made the right decision in the selection of John Ronan Architects. Their team delivered ideas that crystallized the vision we have always wanted for this memorial: to be a place of reflection and appreciation, for learning about press freedom, and most importantly, that honors the journalists who lost their lives in service of freedom.”