Minnesota Fallen Firefighter Memorial

St. Paul, Minnesota

LEO A DALY worked with the Minnesota Fire Service Foundation to create a memorial site in honor of fallen firefighters from across the state. The memorial is located on the grounds of the State Capitol and is a “sculpture within a sculpture”, as it houses the Minnesota Fire Fighter Memorial Statue previously on display at the Minneapolis airport.

The memorial consists of a large weathering steel monolith supported by a field of light structural elements, “floating” over the Memorial Statue. The weathering steel oxidizes to create a rusty patina, in a process that is analogous to the rapid oxidation of fire. Symbolically the structure provides visitors a sense of the weight of the danger of service precariously supported by a multitude of small columns corresponding to years in which Minnesota firefighters have been killed in the line of duty—a built acknowledgment of the sacrifices made by individuals on behalf of the greater community.

An oculus in the monolith provides a flood of light for the statue—a firefighter in the act of rescuing a girl—positioned at the focal point of the structure. The structure provides a visual terminus for a major site axis down a sidewalk, mediating between the scale of the Capitol Mall and the scale of the statue, which was originally planned for an interior space. It straddles the line between a landscaped garden and a new paved gathering area which will provide the site for an annual recognition ceremony for all those that have given their lives in service to their communities as firefighters.


Minnesota Fire Service Foundation

At a glance

Memorial featuring a sculpture within a sculpture – a firefighter in the act of rescuing a girl


Honor Award

AIA Minnesota

Popular Choice Winner – Memorials

Architizer A+ Awards


Pro bono architectural design