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Let Peace Ring
Memorial Garden Offers Solace in Loss

Landscape Architecture by STB Landscape Architects

Let Peace Ring

Located on the CSU San Bernardino campus, STB Landscape Architects donated a small garden that could be used for quiet contemplation in honor of the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist shooting. The firm did not want to create a heavy, "memorial themed" space, so the donated landscape includes simple features such as plantings, boulders, benches and a sitting wall.

On December 2, 2015, fourteen people were killed in a terrorist attack consisting of a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. Five of those killed had graduated from the nearby California State University, San Bernardino.

As the campus landscape architectural consultant, STB Landscape Architects, Inc., was approached to create a memorial to those alumni. They chose to repurpose a small, under-used garden space just outside of a study hall in which the students had attended classes. The idea was to create a "Peace Garden" that would honor the lost lives in a reflective setting. While brainstorming with his wife, Shawn Burch, president of STB Landscape Architects, states that she quickly came up with the idea of a "Peace Bell," and the rest of the design fell into place after that.

The firm contacted several bell manufacturers to find one that would fit the project's theme and provide the deep, resonating tone that would have the emotional impact they were looking for. Once they had found the right one, they designed the structure that would hold it. It is a five-sided pedestal with bronze dedication plaques for the alumni with the firm's own peace related quote directly under the bell. STB Landscape Architects set the structure in a central location behind an existing concrete seat wall. In keeping with the "silent memorial" concept, the five alumni theme is repeated with a five-sided monument, five benches, five large boulders, five weeping blue junipers and five white rose bushes, with an additional nine representing all fourteen victims of the attack.

Working closely with campus staff and the project contractor, the Peace Garden was dedicated exactly one year from the date of the event. Families of the victims, along with major news media, attended the ceremony. The bell was rung slowly fourteen times for each shooting victim. The clapper was then removed to be used only on each yearly anniversary, the third of which was December 2 of this year.

Burch states, "In over forty years of working in this field, this was the most emotionally driven project for me." As it was unthinkable for the firm to profit from this tragedy, their services were provided pro-bono.

If you would like to be featured, simply send a paragraph describing your pro bono project, along with 4-5 high-resolution photos, to Allie Lapporte., 714-979-5276 x139

As seen in LASN magazine, December 2018.

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September 20, 2019, 3:48 am PDT

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