Photo by Pascale Sablan 11/7/2019
PEOPLE'S CHOICE WINNER
Zachary James Naadir Robinson
Martin Luther King Jr. and Hampton Heroes Memorial Plaza
January 21, 2019
The Martin Luther King Jr. and Hampton Heroes Memorial Plaza is a living monument, with new honorees added in the future. The first group of honorees represent significant chapters in Hampton history: Contrabands - Enslaved Journey to Freedom, Hidden Figures, Public School Integration, and the Founding of Hampton Institute. Before the plaza was constructed, there were 3 materials where the plaza is today: cascading water, cast concrete, and formed earth. We introduced a 4th material: Weathering Steel.
About Zachary James Naadir Robinson
I was born and raised through high school in Brooklyn, NY. I began studying Architecture at Hampton University in 2010. There I had the opportunity to travel to France with incredible Urban Designers. Under their tutelage, I developed a passion for Urban Design myself. I focused on designing with consideration to sea level rise, further studied at The University of Miami’s Urban Design. Next, I started full-time with Work Program Architects (WPA) in Norfolk,VA in 2017.
How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?
I discovered my career during a game of hide-and-seek with my Father. I planned out a hiding place - days in advance. I realized I enjoyed designing spaces for specific uses. I knew I had to learn more about the built environment and why.
What do you do?
I do Architectural and Urban Design in Norfolk, VA. Through our firm’s urban design contract I design for a resilient Norfolk. It isn’t overt, but places accessible to as many people as possible is critical to creating a diverse, resilient place.
What excites you in the work you do?
Designing a place that a person or a group have pride for is what excites me most. The second most exciting part of design is when the community impacted by the design takes ownership of the work and champions it forward.
Who or what inspires you professionally?
Norfolk, second only to New Orleans in it’s vulnerability to sea-level rise, has a vested interest in resilience and sustainability. Now, we work to live with the water, and design with respect to our environment. This work inspires me most.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?
My proudest professional achievement thus far is the featured project. I worked with a diverse committee, involved long before I knew about the project, to envision an appropriate memorial. I am proud and honored to facilitate their built vision.
SAY IT LOUD - Virginia People's Choice Winner
Martin Luther King Jr. & Hampton Heroes Memorial Plaza
Photo by Levi A. Robinson, Jr.