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carolina museum of the marine

project story

Originally initiated in 2006 but on hold for fund-raising, CJMW was re-engaged in 2022 when the Museum Foundation received a grant. When this new facility is completed, it will house exhibits, educational spaces, offices and a Hall of Honor. The building is being designed to achieve LEED Silver certification. The owner’s charge is that the museum be both celebratory and contemplative—not solely a memorial experience honoring fallen Marines, but also a tribute to both the Carolina Marines and to the communities that are so vital to the Marines’ success. The site and the building are conceived as a journey through the Marine experience; materials, form, massing, and detailing are used to communicate and celebrate this experience. Above all, the building embodies the unequivocal, unbending resolve of a Marine.

The parti for the organization of site and building was the symbolic cresting wave of an amphibious landing. The wave element becomes the basis for the building form as well as a means of guiding the visitor’s journey, which begins at the highway with the view of an iconic form. The visitor experiences the wave element as either a path along which to travel or a wall through which to look or pass. At the end of the journey, the wall surrounds the visitor to form the Place of Honor.  Outside the cresting wave, the architecture is strong, forceful, angular, and heavy, grounded in concrete and stone forms.  Inside, the architecture is lighter, with water, metal and glass representing the Marines’ fluid adaptability.  

Specific materials—granite, stone, concrete, glass, metal, water—are all emblematic of the Marine culture. For example, the granite wall of the exhibit hall has a rough and unhewn texture at the entrance, gradually evolving to a polished finish paralleling the recruit’s journey through training. And water, imperative to the function of the Marines, becomes an important unifying element in the design. Building geometry, hierarchy, and detailing are influenced by elements common to Corps life and structure, such as the stance of a Marine honor guard. Images common to their everyday visual landscape, such as campaign ribbons decorating the chest of a Marine and the MARPAT camouflage pattern, are incorporated into the building fabric.


Location: Jacksonville, North Carolina
Square footage: 28,000
Services: master planning, architecture, interior design, ffe