Watch a recording of a panel discussion that took place on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020 at 4 p.m. about the design of a new Memorial to Enslaved Laborers (MEL) on the grounds of the University of Virginia.

Hear about the momentum of the project, beginning with student-led initiatives as early as 2010, the ideas competition, final design resolution, and the guiding work of the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University (PCSU). Learn about the robust community engagement process, including descendants of the enslaved and how the shared vision informed each element of the Memorial’s design. Register online.

The design of a new Memorial to Enslaved Laborers (MEL) on the grounds of the University of Virginia marks a critical moment to address the complex history of the University, slavery, and the country. It directly responds to a deep need to address an untold and uncomfortable history – one that is still very much a difficult, though necessary, national conversation on race. The goal of the Memorial is to create a physical place of remembrance and a symbolic acknowledgement of slavery and offers a place of learning and a place of healing.

The Memorial was designed as part of a collaboration between Howeler + Yoon Architects, Studio&, Gregg Bleam Landscape Architect, Eto Otitigbe, and had thoughtful input from many more.

Image courtesy of Höweler + Yoon Architects.


Mabel Wilson | Founder, Studio&
Mabel O. Wilson, is a professor of Architecture and of African American and African Diasporic Studies at Columbia University. She serves as the Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies. Wilson has authored Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture (2017), Negro Building: African Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (2012) and the volume Race and Modern Architecture: From the Enlightenment to Today (2020) with Irene Cheng and Charles Davis. With her practice Studio &, she is a collaborator in the architectural team that recently completed  the Memorial to Enslaved African American Laborers at the University of Virginia.  

J. Meejin Yoon | Principal, Höweler + Yoon Architects
J. Meejin Yoon is an architect, designer, and educator. She is currently the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.  Previously, she was Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture at MIT where she began teaching in 2001. Yoon is the co-founding principal of Höweler + Yoon Architecture, a multidisciplinary architecture and design studio that has garnered international recognition for a wide range of built work. Her design work and research investigate the intersections between architecture, technology, and public space. Yoon received the New Generation Design Leadership Award by Architectural Record (2015), the US Artist Award in Architecture and Design (2008), and the Rome Prize in Design (2005). She is the co-author of Public Works: Unsolicited Small Projects for the Big Dig (2009) and Absence (2003). Yoon received a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University with the AIA Henry Adams Medal in 1995, a Master of Architecture in Urban Design with Distinction from Harvard University in 1997, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Korea in 1998.

Alice J. Raucher AIA, AUA, LEED AP | Architect for the University, University of Virginia
As Architect for the University of Virginia, Alice Raucher directs the architecture, planning and landscape design of the UVA grounds. As the symbolic custodian of Thomas Jefferson’s design legacy, she oversees the architectural selection process for all capital projects. In addition to the World Heritage Site of Jefferson’s original college, Alice oversees a dynamic and expanding campus embedded in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, advocating for design excellence, accessibility, resilience, equity and sustainability. Alice also served in a similar capacity at Yale University. As a practitioner, Alice held senior positions with SOM and James Polshek’s New York office and a partner with Bell Larson Raucher Architects.

Mary Hughes, FASLA, LEED AP | University Landscape Architect, University of Virginia
Mary Hughes, FASLA, LEED AP, has served as the University Landscape Architect at UVA since 1996. Her responsibilities include oversight of contemporary landscape design and cultural landscape preservation for the main campus in Charlottesville as well as the State Arboretum at Blandy Farm and other field research stations as well as the UVA College at Wise. Along with Peggy Cornett and Gabriele Rausse of Monticello, Ms. Hughes serves as co-director of the Historic Landscape Institute, an adult education program featuring the Jefferson landscapes of central Virginia as laboratories for applying historical horticulture and preservation practices. She is the co-editor with Charles Birnbaum of a book,  Design with Culture: Claiming America’s Landscape Heritage (2005), which chronicles the origins of the landscape preservation movement in the United States.  Prior to assuming her current position at UVA, she worked for the National Park Service.  She is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and was awarded the LaGasse Medal by ASLA in 2012 for contributions in the  conservation and stewardship of public lands.