Winners Announced for Competition to Rethink Monument Avenue

November 20, 2019

Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing

Winners Announced for Competition to Rethink Monument Avenue

The winners of an international design competition to conceptually reimagine Monument Avenue were announced tonight at the Valentine


RICHMOND – This evening, the winners of an international design competition to conceptually reimagine Richmond’s Monument Avenue were announced during a special closing reception at the Valentine.

The competition, overseen by the Storefront for Community Design, mOb Studio and VCUarts, was launched last year and received nearly 70 design proposals from across the globe. The 20 finalists were determined by a panel of jurors and have been on display at the Valentine since February of 2019. This exhibition Monument Avenue: General Demotion/General Devotion, sparked intense debate, engagement and conversation across the Richmond community.

The jury acknowledged project strengths in several areas, and through their deliberations, chose to bestow awards in four different design areas. The winners announced tonight include:

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For consideration of scale:

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Memorial
Shane Neufeld and Kevin Kunstadt

Out of more than 2,000 votes cast by visitors to the Valentine’s exhibition, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Memorial was also the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

“We would like to thank the jurors and the Richmond community for holding this challenging and ambitious competition, and engaging artists, architects and designers from around the country,” Shane Neufeld, a member of the design team, said. “Our proposal attempts to redefine how we perceive history through design, and specifically, to do so in counterpoint to the means and methods employed by the existing statues on Monument Avenue. We feel fortunate to be a part of this dialogue and hope that our design provides a strategy – rather than a solution – for a continued discourse and future progress.”

For thoughtful handling of programming:

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The Richmond Engagement Corridor
Pratt Institute Group #2
Courtney Knapp, Claudia Castillo de la Cruz, Maria “Angel” Munoz Martinez, Dhanya Rajagopal, Danielle Monopoli, Jane Kandampulli, Dina Posner, Di Cui, Camille Sasena, Aishwarya Pravin Kulkarn

“Nine women, representing five countries and three master’s programs at Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment, developed this proposal,” said Dr. Knapp, Pratt Institute Professor whose students developed the Richmond Engagement Corridor design. “The team visited Richmond in October of 2018, and left inspired by the complex, dynamic city they had encountered. This inspiration grounded the ideas in the proposal while also expanding their understanding of anti-racism praxis and reparations.”

For response to difficult and complex context:

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Center For Productive Conversations
Archie Lee Coates IV, Jeff Franklin, Anya Shcherbakova, Phil Gibson, Dillon Kogle

“Ideas are powerful. Positivity (just like negativity) has a way of seeping into the cracks and taking hold. As a studio, we believe in a positive future for Monument Avenue: one with diverse groups of people energetically exploring new ideas in the public and productive setting of a museum,” said Archie Lee Coates IV, a member of the design team. “With the Center for Productive Conversations, we can create new perspectives that are inclusive of everyone, respectfully looking back as we boldly look forward. It will be no small task to realize these ideas, but thankfully the process has already begun with the opportunity to propose them.”

For thoughtful proposals for both temporary and permanent interventions:

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Lori Garrett, Robert Riddle, Neil Walls

“I am grateful to the sponsors of this competition and to the Valentine for this exhibit because it provides a catalyst for conversation that is critical not only for true change in our city, but for communities across the country,” said Lori Garrett, a member of the design team. “I entered because I believe we unequivocally need to provide the monuments with the historical context that enables us to understand how the heritage of some has perpetuated the physical and social bondage of others. Hopefully our design entry not only will contribute to the on-going dialog, but instigate actions that further Richmond’s journey of racial reconciliation.”

These four honorees were selected by a jury panel that included national and local practitioners and educators in the relevant fields of planning, architecture, landscape architecture, curatorship and social justice.

“We’re excited to honor these individuals and groups for their innovative and bold approach to conceptually rethinking the future of Monument Avenue,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “It has been an adventure hosting this exhibition, and I hope that the dialogue created by these proposals has helped Richmonders better understand the role of monuments in our daily lives and how we can move forward as a community.”

“Working together to oversee this competition has really been an eye-opening experience and a truly educational exercise for everyone involved,” said Camden Whitehead, Associate Professor for Interior Design at VCU and Principal, Sadler & Whitehead Architects. “Looking at the winners, all of the proposals and the public response, it’s clear that design has a central role to play in moving forward, and this competition is where that difficult work starts.”

Each winning design will receive a prize of $2,000. Visit for higher-resolution versions of the winning designs.

The winners, along with the 20 finalists and all other submissions, are on display in Monument Avenue: General Demotion/General Devotion at the Valentine through December 31, 2019.