James Madison Cutts receives 1996 Haller Award
for work on Korean War Memorial

The 1996 Haller Award was presented to the structural engineering firm of James Madison Cutts in Washington, D.C., for work performed on the Korean War Veterans Memorial.  The Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated on the national Mall in Washington, D.C., on July 27, 1995.  The memorial consists of a 164-foot long polished granite wall that has been etched with more than 2,400 photographs of Korean War support personnel.  The wall forms one side of a triangular “Field of Service” in which statues of 19 ground troopers proceed into battle.  At the apex of the triangle is a dark, circular reflecting pool with the reminder carved in a single 16,000 pound granite stone that “Freedom is not Free”.

The primary material for the memorial is granite masonry with flamed, honed, and polished finishes.  More than 107,600 stones with a combined weight of 1.5 million pounds were installed.  The granite panels in the 164-foot long mural wall were detailed to precisely align the sixty-four 8-inch panels that rise to 11 feet at the highest end of the wall. Stainless steel anchors, bolts, and clip angles were used to fasten the panels to a concrete base.  Granite paving stones were overlaid to create a smooth junction of masonry.

Masonry was used as structure, landscape, and the primary means of expressing the memorial’s message.  It was selected for the project both for symbolic and fundamental intentions.  Conceptually, masonry recalls the harsh environment of the Korean peninsula and provides a sense of perseverance and enduring quality.  Design of the masonry explored new applications of technological advances while using traditional qualities inherent in the material.  Construction of the masonry demanded exacting standards during fabrication and installation.

James Cutts accepted the award at the Seventh North American Masonry Conference held at the University of Notre Dame, June 3 through 5, 1996.  Others involved with the project include the architect-engineering firm Cooper Leckly Architects in Washington, D.C., the general contractor R.J. Crowley of Laurel, Maryland, the statue fabricator Tallix Inc. of Beacon, New York, and the stone fabricator Cold Spring Granite Co. of Cold Spring, Minnesota.

Additional information on the Korean War Memorial is available on the National Park Services website at www.nps.gov.


Above and below: Seeming to emerge from the grain of the stone, etched photos of support personnel gaze out at the ground troops on their way to battle.


Below: The reflecting pool.



Korean War ground troops move across the “Field of Service” towards the reflecting pool.


The award is named after Professor Paul Haller, who started a renaissance in the use and design of structural masonry. Haller, a civil engineering graduate from the Federal Technical University in Zurich, Switzerland in 1924, was responsible for testing over 1600 brick masonry walls, and based on the results of those experiments, designed an 18-story building with no structural frame. The tall load-bearing walls of this structure were only 12 to 15-in. thick, causing nothing less than a revolution in the structural use of masonry. From this design and his experimental research, rational structural design of masonry became possible.

The Haller Award is presented every three to four years to an individual engineer or an engineering firm that has designed an outstanding work of structural masonry engineering. This award recognizes the beauty, elegance, and economy of structural masonry projects.

Details on submitting packets for consideration for future Haller Awards are included in the Application.

Past Recipients of the Haller Award are:

1999: Whitby Bird and Partners for the restoration of Winterton House, London

1996: James M. Cutts for design of the Korean War Memorial, Washington, D.C.

1993: VSL Corporation for seismic renovation of the Holy Cross Church, in Santa Cruz, California   



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