Ronan to Lead Design of National Memorial Honoring Fallen Journalists



By Thaddeus Mast
Headshot of John and Jeanne Rowe Endowed Chair Professor of Architecture John Ronan

A national memorial honoring journalists who lost their lives in pursuit of press freedom will be designed by an Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture professor.

John Ronan, John and Jeanne Rowe Endowed Chair Professor of Architecture, and his firm John Ronan Architects will craft the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation’s flagship project to be built in the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The one-third acre triangular site will engage with the theme of transparency with layered glass elements, creating a path leading to the heart of the memorial.

“The memorial will be a journey of discovery that unfolds slowly, space by space, like a story that casts the visitor in the role of an investigative journalist,” Ronan says.

A 10-member selection committee sifted through more than 50 proposals during a 10-month selection process before landing on Ronan’s design concept.

“[Ronan and his team] delivered ideas that crystallized the vision we have always wanted for this memorial: to be a place of reflection and appreciation, for learning about press freedom, and, most importantly, that honors the journalists who lost their lives in service of freedom,” Barbara Cochran, president of the foundation, said in a news release.

The quest to create the memorial began with the foundation’s launch in June 2019, one year after the deadliest assault against journalists in United States history: the mass shooting at a Maryland newspaper, the Capital Gazette, that left five people dead. The memorial is entirely funded by donations at an estimated cost of $50 million.

Ronan and his team will submit a final design proposal in the coming months to be presented and reviewed by various agencies. “I look forward to working with the foundation to create an inspiring place of remembrance which honors those who have sacrificed their lives in pursuit of the truth and celebrates the First Amendment foundations upon which democracy is built,” Ronan said in the release.