National Holocaust Memorial
London, United Kingdom | 2016 -
In September 2016, the Department for Communities and Local Government launched an international two-stage design competition for a National Memorial to honour the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution.
Working in collaboration with Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects, our winning proposal focuses on establishing a nationally significant landmark for current and future generations to reflect, mourn and learn. The proposal integrates Learning Centre, Memorial and landscape into a synergistic “total work” that resists traditional notions of dictation, and instead encourages users to engage holistically with subject and space.
The design includes a gently meandering path which leads across a gradually rising hill, inviting ascending visitors for views out to the River Thames and Westminster. This is then revealed as a cliff edge over a fractured landscape, held up by tall patinated bronze walls which inscribe 22 paths - one for each country in which Jewish communities were decimated during the Holocaust. Both cohesive and fragmented, the paths are a shared experience only from afar; the journey through them is experienced individually, as visitors are led down into the threshold below - a space for contemplation and transition.
Our proposal includes a new landscape intervention - a subtle but distinct slope of the landscape just below the existing tree canopies– to offer users a new vantage point and a distinctive experience within the park. This bold gesture will create a new sense of place within the gardens and become a new landmark within its immediate context. It will offer visitors a new vantage point to the River Thames and a new perspectival relationship to the overall memorial grounds. This slope will also allow for the existing memorials within the park to remain visible with no interruption from the newly transformed landscape. Key metropolitan views into London are also undisturbed.
This visceral, non-verbal experience, in close proximity to the bastion of democracy, may inspire future generations to connect the events of the Holocaust to other human tragedies of other times and places, and take a stance on wider issues of human rights and freedoms.
'The new Holocaust memorial will remind us where unchecked hatred can lead', The Times (October 2017)
'Design for London’s New Holocaust Memorial Is Unveiled', The New York Times (October 2017)
'UK chooses design for Holocaust memorial alongside parliament', Financial Times (October 2017)
'Holocaust Memorial design winners announced', The Jewish Chronicle (October 2017)
'Team led by David Adjaye to design UK's Holocaust memorial', The Guardian (October 2017)
'Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects win UK Holocaust Memorial International Design Competition', Gov.uk (October 2017)
'Adjaye/Arad team wins Holocaust memorial competition', Architects' Journal (October 2017)
'Designs for Holocaust memorial go on display at the V&A' (August 2017)
'UK's holocaust memorial should serve as a warning to future generations', Daily Mail (August 2017)