Thornton Tomasetti recently served as the structural engineer for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, which will be dedicated on August 28, 2011 in Washington, D.C.
Thornton Tomasetti provided structural design and construction administration services for the new memorial, which occupies a four-acre site along the Tidal Basin. It is adjacent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial and sits on a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.
The design features natural elements such as stone, water, and trees on a crescent-shaped plaza. The engineers worked closely with the geotechnical consultant to overcome challenging soil conditions as the entire memorial rests upon piles driven to bedrock.
The project includes a large sculpture and massive stone gateway with two waterfalls that are served by below-grade pump rooms and a 175-ft-long access tunnel, as well as a 3,000-sf building that will house a bookstore and public facilities. The plaza is surrounded by curving, stone-clad retaining walls carved with inscriptions.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. was created specifically to build the monument, a venture that has been more than a decade in the making. The memorial was built by a design-build team consisting of a joint venture of McKissack & McKissack of Washington, D.C. (the architect of record); New York City-based Turner Construction Co.; Gilford Corp. of Beltsville, Md.; and Tompkins Builders, Inc. of Washington, D.C. The construction cost of the project is $120 million.