Emanuel Nine Memorial

2020-ongoing | Charleston SC

Client Historic Mother Emanuel AMEC Foundation
Architect Handel Architects
Structural Engineer Guy Nordenson and Associates

This memorial is dedicated to the Emanuel Nine, the nine clergy and parishioners murdered at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in the 2015 white supremacist attack. The project is sited on the grounds of the historic church. It includes a Memorial Courtyard to honor the Nine, which consists of two “fellowship benches” facing each other and encircling a central memorial fountain. There is also a garden dedicated to the survivors, and space for contemplation and prayer.

GNA has worked with Handel Architects to develop the structural design of the marble fellowship benches, the memorial fountain and other site structures. The solid marble benches are roughly oval-shaped in elevation, with their height peaking at 9.5ft. They are concave in section to provide a bench seat at the bottom and slight cover overhead. The benches' arched plan configuration embraces the memorial fountain between them, and they are approximately 63ft and 80ft in length. Each bench is made up of a series of marble blocks, and GNA worked with the team to shape the stone elements so that they support each other. Each block nests into the next through a spiral joint, producing an interlocking effect between the blocks. The engagement of all the blocks working together is what makes the bench stable as a whole.

To learn more, see the Emanuel Nine Memorial's website.