Meet the Artists

Friedrich St.Florian - Memorial Designer

 
Friedrich St. Florian
Friedrich St. Florian
Friedrich St.Florian was born in Graz, Austria in 1932. Interested in architecture since his youth, he studied at the Graz University of Technology. He came to the United States to study urban design at Columbia University in New York City. He taught at Columbia briefly before joining the Rhode Island School of Design, presiding over the Department of Architecture and Design.

Since 1974 he has worked as a professional architect in the United States. Keeping his base of operations in Rhode Island, he heads the firm Friedrich St.Florian Architects. He is also a Fellow with the American Institute of Architects. Among his noted works are the commercial venture Providence Place and the Providence Skybridge, both in Rhode Island. In the span of his career he has won several awards for his work, and in 2006 Brown University honored him with the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.

His signature work is the design of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. His vision emerged victorious in a competition in 1997 from over 400 other entrants who vied for the project. He remembered the challenge of protecting the view between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, as the new memorial would be placed between the two, as well as encompassing the Rainbow Pool which rests at the west end of the Reflecting Pool.

St.Florian remembered “I made that sketch showing the plaza sunken into the ground, with earth berms on the side. I looked up and I said, ‘I think we have a winning design!’” On site work began in earnest in 2001, with the memorial opening for the public in April of 2004, and a formal dedication over Memorial Day weekend of that year.
 

Ray Kaskey - Sculptor

 
Photo of Raymond Kaskey
Raymond Kaskey, courtesy of Kaskey Studios.
 

Nick Benson - Inscription Artist

 
Image of Nick Benson
Nicholas Waite Benson began working at the John Stevens Shop at 15 under his father, John Everett Benson. By the age of 18, he was carving commissioned work from his father’s designs. In 1987, he began an intensive year of study in Switzerland at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Schule für Gestaltung, Basel. He returned to the U.S. in 1988 and continued to work under John Benson. Upon John’s retirement in 1993, Nicholas took over as owner and creative director of the John Stevens Shop where he continues to work to the high standards set by his predecessors. He has also designed and carved inscriptions for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, C, and the Roosevelt Memorial, Roosevelt Island, New York City. In 2010, Benson was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.

Last updated: October 4, 2021

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