The New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial Park was designed as part of a competition to be located in Phil Chacon Park adjacent to Kirtland AFB. Our design team won with a Memorial Garden concept, which commemorates a veteran’s experience through 7 garden stations. The stations are translated into park-like settings including picnic tables in “The Conversations” to large scale sculptures by Jesus Moroles in “The Fallen Friend” and “The Battle.” “The Word from Home” features a black granite wall etched with letters to and from New Mexican soldiers during the country’s various conflicts, and is one of the most beloved.
Careful consideration was paid to all aspects of the park including each planting. Individual plants were chosen to reflect the beautiful New Mexico colors, be drought tolerant and even patriotic. Rose bushes herald names such as "Purple Heart," and "Peace". Grasses represent "Amber Waves of Grain" set against the “Purple Mountains Majesty” of the Sandia Mountains.
Over the years, the park program evolved to include a shade structure over the semi-circular amphitheater. Designed to provide maximum shade at 11:00am on May 30, Memorial Day, the structure still allows views of the sky and event fly-overs. The structure won the 2004 Engineering Excellence Award.
This park design was built using a master plan, community involvement, and a flexible program to accommodate the changing needs of the veterans. This project lasted 16 years. We are proud to have been a part of it and learned many valuable lessons.