UK Holocaust Memorial Designer Revealed


The winner of the United Kingdom’s Holocaust Memorial International Design Competition was announced Tuesday (Oct. 24) revealing the monument that will stand next to the House of Parliament in London’s historic Victoria Tower Gardens.

The team of Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects will design the National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, along with landscape architects Gustafson Porter + Bowman, consultants Plan A and lighting specialist DHA Designs.

The competition, announced last year, saw 92 entries. Ten finalists were chosen, including:

  • Allied Works with Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Robert Montgomery, OLIN and Lisa Strausfeld;
  • Caruso St John with Rachel Whiteread, Marcus Taylor, Vogt Landscape Architects, Arup Lighting Design and David Bonnett Associates;
  • Diamond Schmitt Architects with Martha Schwartz Partners and Ralph Appelbaum Associates;
  • Foster + Partners with Michal Rovner and Future\Pace, Local Projects, Avner Shalev, Simon Schama, Samantha Heywood, Tillotson Design Associates, David Bonnett Associates and Whybrow;
  • Heneghan Peng Architects with Gustafson Porter, Event, Bruce Mau Design, BuroHappold Engineering, Bartenbach and Duncan Boddy (PFB Construction);
  • John McAslan + Partners with MASS Design Group, DP9, London Communications Agency, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Local Projects, Modus Operandi, JencksSquared and Lily Jencks Studio;
  • Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects with David Morley Architects, Ralph Appelbaum Associates and Hemgård Landscape Design;
  • Studio Libeskind with Haptic Architects, Martha Schwartz Partners, Lord Cultural Resources, BuroHappold Engineering, Alan Baxter, Garbers & James and James E. Young; and
  • Zaha Hadid Architects with Anish Kapoor, Event London, Sophie Walker Studio, Lord Cultural Resources, Arup Lighting Design, Whybrow and Access=Design.

According to officials, the 13-person jury chose the Adjaye project unanimously.

“The jury was unanimous in awarding this competition to Sir David Adjaye and his highly skilled and passionate team,” said Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of the U.K. Holocaust Memorial Foundation and the competition jury.

The design, led by Sir David Adjaye, will feature 23 tall bronze fins with the 22 spaces in between them representing the 22 countries in which Jewish communities were devastated during the Holocaust.

“Their ability to use architecture to create an emotionally powerful experience, their understanding of the complexity of the Holocaust and their desire to create a living place as well as a respectful memorial to the past and its surroundings, will combine to create a new national landmark for generations to come.”

The Monument

The design, led by Sir David Adjaye, will feature 23 tall bronze fins with the 22 spaces in between them representing the 22 countries in which Jewish communities were devastated during the Holocaust.

“Entering the Memorial will be a sensory experience,” the firm’s design description notes. “While the outside and inside space emphasizes collective gathering, the 23 bronze fins require the visitor to enter in solitude and isolation, providing a highly individual pathway and experience.

“Each path eventually leads down into the threshold—a generous hall which acts as a place of contemplation and transition into the Learning Centre below ground. The learning center includes a ‘hall of testimonies’ and a ‘contemplation court’: a silent, reflective space with eight bronze panels. On leaving the memorial, the circulation route ensures visitors will emerge to see the classic uninterrupted view of Parliament—and the reality of democracy.”

Adjaye said the team wanted to create a monument that showed the complexities of the history.

“The complexity of the Holocaust story, including the British context, is a series of layers that have become hidden by time," he explained. "Our approach to the project has been to reveal these layers and not let them remain buried under history. To do so, we wanted to create a living place, not just a monument to something of the past. We wanted to orchestrate an experience that reminds us of the fragility and constant strife for a more equitable world.”

In the official announcement, the government notes that the winning design is still in its early stages and now has to undergo further development with Holocaust experts, survivors and other victim groups, and local residents, Westminster City Council, Historic England, Royal Parks and other statutory consultees.

The monument has a completion date of 2021 and will use 50 million pounds ($66.2 million) of public money for funding.


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Color + Design; Competitions; Design build; Europe; Monuments

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