A homage to the shipyard’s defining role in national defense, throughout time
Built into a hillside in front of the Puget Sound Shipyard, the Memorial Plaza pays homage to the long lineage of workers at the shipyard. The plaza includes seasonal water features, natural and polished stone, modern steel sculptures, specimen landscaping, custom fabricated furniture and interpretive elements intended to honor the lives and contributions of the naval shipyard workers over time. The graphics and stories were photomechanically etched into stainless-steel surfaces of repurposed old ships and the forms are evocative of those found in large seagoing vessels constructed at the naval shipyard.
At the south end of the plaza near the employee entry gate to the shipyard, the interpretive elements focus on present-day workers––these pieces are refreshed periodically to honor current employees. The shipyard’s pivotal role in WWII is documented at the plaza’s center; this area includes the tip of the USS South Carolina, a battleship recently decommissioned at the Shipyard. The elements at the north end of the plaza focus on the role of women in the workforce during WWI.
During construction, the city placed a photo of the woman heating rivets in the newspaper with the question “Who is this woman?” The phone rang weeks later, with a man responding, “That’s my mom”. His mother was Esther Bielmeier an eighteen-year-old who worked at the Shipyard from 1917-1918. This personal link back to the community embodies the pride and purpose of the experiential graphic design work the visioning, brands and experiences group endeavors to create in every project.
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