The Montgomery Interpretive Center exists to memorialize the people, events, and route connected with the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. The third of three interpretive centers stretching the 54-mile route, the project is located adjacent to the Alabama State University football stadium along a corner block that serves as a gateway into campus.
The design navigated the site’s steep topography by setting the larger exhibit volume into the ground and terracing the ground plane along the main facade to the entry. The building form mimics the unique wedge shape of the site by using voids to create exterior spaces. A grand covered porch allows for exterior gathering space and entry into the building.
The primary elevation is designed to capture the spirit of the march through an 18-foot-tall limestone facade with a sandblasted relief pattern replicating an iconic image of the event. The angle of the halftone pattern reinforces a sense of movement and the rough crater-like relief in the smooth stone creates a tactile experience as one walks past. Black zinc cladding accentuates the strong roof line while the angular cedar soffit and louver wall reinforce the entry sequence of the building. Micro-perforated zinc panels are paired with wood louvers at the main entry porch to create a sense of enclosure while creating a layered transparency.
Exposed structure, angular white walls, and linear lighting express a more restrained interior to remain flexible for the anticipated exhibition design by the National Parks Service.