Final Designs Submitted for UK Holocaust Memorial


Final design images have been released for London’s Holocaust Memorial project, which is slated to take shape in the Victoria Tower Gardens, beside the Houses of Parliament.

A formal planning application is also set to be submitted soon as Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects finalize plans alongside landscape architects Gustafson Porter + Bowman.

The Project

The team was selected late last year after the United Kingdom launched an international design competition that saw 92 entries. Ten esteemed 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, the design features 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.

A formal planning application is also set to be submitted soon as Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects finalize plans alongside landscape architects Gustafson Porter + Bowman.

“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.”

What Now

The project received pushback from residents, saying it would destroy the park and would work better located by the Imperial War Museum in south London.

Adjaye has responded to those claims, though, saying that Holocaust deniers have “festered in the U.K.” and that it needs to be next to Parliament.

The planning application is slated to be formally reviewed in the coming weeks. The monument still has a completion date set for 2021 and a price tag of $66.2 million of public funding.


Tagged categories: Color + Design; Design; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Government; Public spaces; Upcoming projects

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