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African Burial Ground Memorial

African Burial Ground Memorial

New York, New York, United States

Client: General Services Administration

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Role: Construction Management Services

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The African Burial Ground Memorial in Lower Manhattan, built by the General Services Administration (GSA) in a joint effort with the National Park Service, acknowledges Colonial-era Africans buried in the 17th and 18th centuries in what was known as the African Burial Ground. As many as 20,000 free and enslaved individuals are believed to have been interred there.

Parsons Brinckerhoff provided construction management services for the memorial as part of an on-call contract with the GSA. The firm’s responsibilities ranged from planning and scheduling for the research and re-interment of human remains to construction quality management. Parsons Brinckerhoff was also involved in preconstruction activities and design reviews for a visitor center in the lobby of an existing building adjacent to the monument.

The memorial, designed by architect Rodney Leon, includes numerous symbolic elements reflecting African culture, all intended to mark the location as a sacred place. It features a sunken circular court with a map of the world centered on Africa; two small waterfalls; a chamber; and a Circle of Diaspora with signs, symbols and images representing African culture.

“This project has a crucial role in educating people about our country’s past and will itself become a part of history,” said Project Manager Nada Cheiban. “You cannot walk past this dramatic memorial without being awakened to the significance of the site. It was a privilege to contribute to something so important and enduring.”

About Government

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