MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Designers from Minneapolis-based firms RSP Architects and Damon Farber are last-round finalists in the design selection process for a permanent memorial honoring the lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Joan MacLeod, principal with Damon Farber Landscape Architects, and Teri Kwant, associate principal with RSP Architects, collaborated with Julia McFadden, associate principal with Svigals + Partners, on the design proposal. Svigals + Partners is a Connecticut-based firm.

Nearly 200 memorial design proposals were submitted from around the world.

Members of the team say they have worked with those impacted by gun violence and with the loss of a child, according to a press release.

(credit: Damon Farber, RSP, and Svigals + Partners)

“From our work with families who have lost children, we knew it was important to design spaces for connection,” Kwant said. “To create a meaningful sense of place that helps people feel safe and accompanied. A place that allows people who have suffered this unique traumatic loss to have the opportunity to talk openly if they choose and feel less isolated and alone.”

MacLeod echoed Kwant’s sentiments.

“This is an incredible honor and opportunity,” said Joan MacLeod. “The site for the memorial presents itself as an ideal cradle, an opportunity to allow the earth to hold our collective sorrows and help heal the community as well as anyone who visits. Our team approached the design with the intention of creating an environment to support quiet reflection and conversation.”

The design selection process will reconvene on July 17, when the final teams will present to the Sandy Hook Memorial Commission. The winning design will be selected in August.