UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre
London, United Kingdom | 2016 -
In September 2016, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) launched an international two-stage design competition for a National Memorial to honour the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution. Envisaged as a place for everyone to come to remember the Holocaust, as well as a focal point for annual national commemorations, the Memorial will affirm the United Kingdom’s commitment to stand up against prejudice and hatred.
In collaboration with Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects, our design for the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre focuses on establishing a nationally significant landmark for current and future generations to reflect, mourn and learn, and is drawn from extensive research into the site, its constraints and subject matter. It seeks to respect its context, honour the weight of its responsibility and inspire visitors to strive to draw meaning and purpose out of tragedy. It is an integrated approach, in which the Memorial is embedded within the landscape, and the Learning Centre is embedded within the Memorial.
Through understanding and researching the diverse uses of Victoria Tower Gardens, it was essential that the proposal not only allowed its current activities to remain, but rather enhance the user experience. The creation of a softly sloping landscape provides visitors with a new vantage point to the River Thames, a renewed perspective and relationship to the memorial and a distinctive entry point for the underground Learning Centre. The subtle shift in the landscape allows for all existing memorials within the gardens to remain visible to visitors.
The Memorial Courtyard is designed as a unique, contemplative space that defines the relationship between the Entrance Pavilion, the Memorial and Learning Centre - a garden within Victoria Tower Gardens. Its positioning and design create an environment where visitors can linger, with a landscape that offers a place of calm reflection and a highly flexible environment for formal and informal ceremonies, services and other reverent gatherings. The Memorial Courtyard is defined as a series of gently sloping terraces, framed on either side by the perimeter walls, planting and railings. As the visitor descends their focus moves away from the surrounding park, and towards the Memorial.
Our design uses a palette of natural materials – grey stone, concrete, natural stone and bronze in their unpolished, raw forms – to reflect the honesty and intensity with which our design has sought to approach this traumatic subject. To give an organic quality to the design, we have selected surfaces that are informed by, but do not replicate or mimic, historical references and precedents. These natural materials are robust yet dynamic and assume different qualities over time as they age. This reflects of our design vision, which rejects the notion of a memorial as static and perfected in favour of the idea of the memorial as a living organism.
The project will be submitted for planning approval in early 2019. It is scheduled to start on site in 2020 and is due to open in 2022.
'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)