Starting out with 92 entries and a star-studded shortlist of 10 finalists, Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects were revealed as the winning team to design the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre. Proposed to be built next to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, the monument will honor all the victims of Nazi persecution.
Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects also worked with landscape architecture firm Gustafson Porter + Bowman, Plan A, and DHA Designs. They were chosen by the 13-member jury, which included the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Mayor of London, the Chief Rabbi, experts in architecture, art, design, and first- and second-generation Holocaust survivors. The heneghan peng architects + Sven Anderson team and the Diamond Schmitt Architects team were awarded honorable mentions.
Led by David Adjaye, the winning concept is still at an early design stage and will undergo further development through discussion with Holocaust experts and survivors, local residents, the Westminster City Council, Historic England, and other consultants. The final design will be subject to planning approval. Subject to the planning process, completion of the Memorial and Learning Centre are currently scheduled for 2021.
The jury noted the winning proposal for presenting an immersive environment that is also sensitive to its location and context. Inspired by the Victoria Tower Gardens site, the Holocaust Memorial will be located at the far southern end of the Gardens and embedded in the land.
In approaching the Memorial, visitors will first encounter 23 tall bronze fins. The spaces between the fins represent the 22 countries in which Jewish communities were destroyed during the Holocaust.
Each individual pathway through the fins leads down into the Threshold: a spacious hall that serves as a space of contemplation before visitors walk further down to the Learning Centre below ground.
The Learning Centre features a “hall of testimonies” and a “Contemplation Court” — a silent, reflective space with eight bronze panels. As visitors leave the Memorial, the circulation route allows them to emerge to see uninterrupted views of Parliament.
“The complexity of the Holocaust story, including the British context, is a series of layers that have become hidden by time. Our approach to the project has been to reveal these layers and not let them remain buried under history,” said David Adjaye in a statement. “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.”
Check out a video and an aerial plan of the proposal below.
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