Vietnam War Memorial designer, Maya Lin

13 08 2008

Maya Lin was only a 21-year-old senior at Yale University at the time, but her work was chosen in a national competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. She says,

“I just sort of visualized it. It just popped into my head. Some people were playing Frisbee. It was a beautiful park. I didn’t want to destroy a living park. You use the landscape. You don’t fight with it. You absorb the landscape . . . When I looked at the site I just knew I wanted something horizontal that took you in, that made you feel safe within the park, yet at the same time reminding you of the dead. So I just imagined opening up the earth”

Since its unveiling in 1982, the Vietnam War Memorial has become a point of reference, inspiring a new generation of American memorials. Lin has been quoted as saying, “I would hope that it always gives a moment to pause, that we absolutely cannot forget the high price of war.” Today Maya runs a studio in downtown New York.

Maya Lin in an interview with Washington Post writer Phil McCombs in Brent Ashabranner
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