Wilson Marker

Princeton University

Set in Stone, but Not Static

People gathered in front of the memorial.

Project Overview

In collaboration with architecture firm Studio Joseph, Bluecadet designed a new memorial space at Princeton University. The project proposed to convert a central plaza on campus into a space for reflection and connection. We incorporated innovative building materials and lighting design with Studio Joseph’s architectural plan to create a dynamic space that allowed for more nuance than a static memorial.

Project Videos and Images

Confronting Leadership, and Failings

The Missing Voices plaza was proposed to confront the challenging legacy of President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson was a wartime leader and champion of international policy, an avowed racist who dramatically and destructively set back racial equality in the American government, and also the president of Princeton University from 1902-1910.

People on the plaza

Telling More Stories

Missing Voices proposed to create a space for the voices of people who are overlooked and excluded from popular accounts of American History—including those whom Wilson’s policies left behind. The memorial architecture embodies these voices in the abstract, and a seamlessly integrated media element provides a tangible platform for their voices to be heard.

Transparent concrete

Translucent concrete allows for a shifting program of lights to shine through behind a lasting surface.

Transparent concrete

A Canvas for Conversation

A long wall borders one side of Missing Voices. At first glance, it’s a simple concrete structure, but as visitors approach, there’s more. Quotes about history—and who gets to tell it—surface on the wall, drawn from a wide cast of speakers, famous and not, contemporary and historical. LED lights and screens, hidden under translucent concrete, achieve an effect that is harmonious with the layout and materiality of the memorial while providing a dynamic layer of content.

The plaza’s design encourages all who gather to stop and engage in conversation: a number of benches, some facing one another, create social niches, and the media element provides an ever-relevant conversation-starter.