TCU Veterans Plaza Design
description was provided by Michael
Bennett, TCU Class of 1978, a principal
with Gideon Toal Architects and Planners
of Fort Worth, and designer of the plaza.
planning the TCU Veterans Plaza, we worked to create
a design that embodied the sacrifice and heroism of
veterans and their families. In an attempt to
symbolize this, we conceived the idea of a grove of
trees as a symbol of the TCU community. Like a grove
of trees, the members of the TCU community belong
together, depending on and complementing one another
throughout their lives. When one of the trees in a
grove is lost, the grove is no longer the same,
leaving a patch of sky where there once was none.
In this same way,
the trees missing from the grove on the west side of
Veterans Plaza symbolize the absence of those
veterans who were lost in war. Within the space
where the trees would have stood is a monument
with plaques bearing the names of the fallen. The absence of tree limbs above the
monument allow sunlight to penetrate during the
day, illuminating the monument and providing a
symbolic link to the heavens.
Uplighting washes the face of the monument structure at night.
The trees are softly lit from below, creating a
ceiling of leaves bathed in light. The absence of
tree branches above the monument again leave an
opening in this “ceiling,” giving visitors the
opportunity to view the night sky through the break
in the canopy.
Low walls with
seating situated below the canopy of trees
creates a pleasant and contemplative place. The
landscaping and seat walls extending into the lawn
area were kept low to avoid obstructing the view
across the lawn area. The existing Shirley Boyd
Memorial Flower Garden area has been incorporated
into the western edge of the Veterans Plaza.
The grove of trees on the east side of University is complete, symbolizing the presence of the
veterans among us and our future reunification with
them. The sound of water from a new fountain at the
east end of the axis masks the sound of traffic
from University Drive. A higher curved wall of brick
and cast stone screens the Veterans Plaza from
traffic and parking on Lowden Street and
provides a visual backdrop for the fountain.