Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Maya Lin - Vietnam War Memorial


Maya Lin was the 20 year old architect who won a competition to create the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC. She had already designed many buildings including the memorial to the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, Alabama. Controversy surrounded the design as soon as it was revealed as many people said it was too simple and "looked like a big black scar on the earth." Lin wanted to make the memorial special so she put the names in chronological order and not alphabetical order so the names weren't lost in a see of the same surname. The article tells of how many people in the 1980s were offended that the architect was an American Chinese student designing a memorial against the biggest American defeat against an Asian country. They thought that it should have been an American who designed it, and not of Asian origin as it was disrespectful to those who fought and died in the War. She was even accused of being a Communist by Conservative politician Pat Buchanan. She defended herself by saying that whatever design she made would cause controversy as it was only 6 years after the War had ended, so all the emotion was still raw and people were bound to criticise her design whatever she did. This shows that maybe the memorial was created too soon after the War as the emotions of the nation were still raw which made the memorial open to criticism.

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