Marcus David Peters Circle

Originally completed for ARCH 3050: 6D Design Thinking with Professor Elgin Cleckley at the UVA School of Architecture, Fall 2020

The people reclaimed the Robert E Lee Circle, changing the name to Marcus David Peters Circle after the man who was gunned down by Richmond Police with no crime other being a black man in America. Over the past year, there has been increased intensities at the site of MDP Circle in the wake of the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests. The site saw the Lee statue covered in graffiti by protestors and acted as a stage to activists. The community created a memorial for the victims to those lost to police brutality. Furthermore, gardens, basketball hoops, classes, yoga, and general gathering were reactivating the site like never before. This project seeks to uphold the activity of the site that the community built.

To start, the monument (with Lee removed) will be sunk down 25 feet, leaving 15 feet to remain visible from the street. Next, ropes will be tied from the top of the monument to the outside of the circle. The rope is a call-back to the initial construction of the monument, as the citizens lifted and dragged the statue using rope, each being kept for years after. Now, the rope can act as a shading device and a hanging device to create a dynamic atmosphere. Each strand of rope symbolizes victims of police brutality. The rope can be used to hang plants, flowers, and vines from, or even art pieces. With a sunken circle, an amphitheater-like affect occurs, making the statue a stage of sorts for protests, community events, dances, etc.

The medians of Monument Ave have been reclaimed as pedestrian corridors for more programmatic activity. There is the Historic Corridor, providing information about the site, history, timeline and on-going struggle against white supremacy and police brutality, on axis with UVA and Jefferson’s Monticello/Rotunda. The Reflection Corridor is a memorial space for the victims of police brutality. There is a community garden to reflect on these tough issues. The Expression Corridor allows the community to have space to express themselves amongst these problems. There are murals, public art, performance space. This corridor’s axis is toward the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, so the NMPJ Stone will be dedicated here. Lastly, the Progress Corridor, on axis with the State Capital. This corridor provides resources on how to fight police brutality, systemic oppression and support black and brown bodies. There are volunteer sign ups, black business bulletins, government contact information to fight legally, and other resources.

Each of the corridors are pulled into the center of the circle, creating dynamic public space.

The Circle is now a community space for art, gardening, activism, history, information, and gathering.