AIA Presents:
Location:Washington, DC
Architect:Maya Lin with Cooper-Lecky Partnership
Year Built:1982
Fact:The initially controversial design is now the standard against which all memorials are judged.

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Vietnam Veterans Memorial
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Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a national war memorial located in Washington, D.C., which honors members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War and who died in service or are still unaccounted for. Maya Lin’s elegantly simple design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial — two black granite walls emerging from and receding into the earth — was initially quite controversial because it lacked the monumental statues of preceding monuments but today is the standard against which all memorials are judged. The memorial is also the highest-ranking project in the poll designed by a woman.


The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was a seminal project that serves as a testament to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in the most poignant way. Rarely in the history of architecture has there such an original idea, and idea who in turn has influenced many memorial projects since then.

D. Rodman Henderer, AIA

Its not just a visual reminder of war or a statue to the solders but a something that you too contemporarily experience by going into this sort of reflective and dark space in the earth with an almost grave-like overtone and really take on the true sense of a memorial.

Donald McDonald, FAIA

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