LaWaSo Ground is a contemporary memorial and a community ground of (La)nd, (Wa)ter, and (So)il designed to help bridge some of the cultural dichotomies of our time through the lens of material culture. Sited on the lawn of First Christian Church, the installation draws from an acknowledgment of the silenced and suppressed voices of the past, and advocates for more diverse inclusion in the future. LaWaSo Ground combines stone elements that echo the topography of the limestone quarries found in the region with landscape mounds reminiscent of Indigenous earthworks along the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys.

Water is the common element linking the two formal pieces of the installation and is manifested in several ways including engraved patterns across the stonework. The pattern motifs were designed by Indigenous artist Katrina Mitten, a citizen of the Myaamia Nation of Oklahoma. A 3D printed metal bracket for the limestone tower is being developed with the advanced manufacturing team at Cummins Technical Center, as part of Kim and partner Dorian Bybee’s ongoing material and fabrication research. Indiana limestone plays a complicated symbolic role, referencing its use in the construction of civic monuments across the United States. Meanwhile, the scale and location of the project are meant to establish a dialogue with Henry Moore’s Large Arch and the clock tower of First Christian Church.

First Christian Church
Eliel Saarinen, 1942

Once a railroad depot, the church on this site today is known as one of the first “modern” buildings in Columbus. The Irwin and Miller Families commissioned Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen to design First Christian Church in the Modern style. Completed in 1942, the basilica and campanile arrangement is a streamlined reinterpretation of Italian Renaissance church forms. Also notable is the sunken garden that flows under the education wing. Many of the interior elements were designed by Saarinen’s wife Loja,Charles Eames, and his son, Eero.

Jei Jeeyea Kim is an Assistant Professor at the J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program of Indiana University. She received her Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and graduated with distinction. Jei has worked at several architecture studios, including PATTERNS, DavidClovers, and GEA in LA, and MAD Architects in Beijing. Her research and collaborative work effort through haptiK|B, Kim Bybee Design, has focused on material culture and its contemporary use of a prevalent local material—Indiana limestone. Her recent research includes vernacular material application styles along the “Stone Belt”, and a stone panel system utilizing 3D printed brackets for structural support.