The family of a young man whose life was tragically cut short wished to honor him with a memorial. Kelsey Mahoney, an interior designer at SFS and friend of the family, proposed that SFS collaborate with the family to bring the memorial to life.
A site next to a small babbling creek in a wooded area of the Overland Park Arboretum was selected. The SFS Studio Fabrication team met with members of Joshua’s family to learn more about Joshua and discuss ideas for the memorial. They talked about his interests, noting his life had been dedicated to sustainability, social justice and love of the natural environment. A fitting memorial would be one that responded to Joshua’s passions using natural and locally sourced materials.
Early conceptual drawings delineated the memorial; however, many design decisions were made onsite during construction by the architects/craftsmen. Natural materials, including previously cut local timber, were utilized to create many of the elements comprising the memorial.
SFS architects/craftsmen brought the memorial to life through the design, fabrication and installation of multiple site elements, such as seating, steel/stone gabions and decorative stones. Weathering steel was used to convey the young man’s thoughts and ideals. Some of Joshua’s favorite quotes were cut into metal plates adorning timber pieces. A curved weathering steel retaining wall allowed for the retention of existing trees and grade. Ipe wood was used to create the various seating elements. The wood’s deep rich color complements the weathering steel used in the various elements and its durability contributes to a long-lasting and beautiful tribute. Natural light filtering through the overhead canopy touches many individual surfaces of the site elements.
The family commented the design and detailing “gave the space life that speaks directly to what our son was about….it is a place of deep peace for us.”