Memorial in Brussels
This proposal was created for a competition to design a memorial for the victims of totalitarian regimes.
The memorial commemorates the countless victims of totalitarian regimes. Recent news show that we can still learn a lot from our past. We have to keep the memory of these dreadful atrocities alive in order to prevent something similar happening in the future. That’s why we’ve put the emphasis on displaying the process of totalitarian states dismantling society. The geometric composition hints at the utopic being of totalitarian systems where artificial principles rule over humaneness.
The memorial consists of a raster and two vertical elements. The strong raster put onto the square emphasizes the horizontal directions implying that of an endless space. This endlessness signalizes that we will never have grasped the whole picture we can only understand fragments of it. There are two vertical elements: „The Well of Remembrance” and „The Arches of the Spirit”. „The Arches of the Spirit” serve the inner reflection. It is created by an eternal architectural element, an arch.
An arch is a blank state, it can be part of a museum building, a viaduct, a colosseum or a totalitarian government building. By itself its function is not determined. By being arrayed in a matrix in this case, it becomes an exaggeration of itself. By gradually excluding the outside world it evokes subtle feelings prompting the visitor to dive into its own soul.
The „Well of remembrance” is its counterpoint, a plane of water inserted in the raster. As an abstract mirror it gives the outside viewing perspective to the monument, and opens up the memorial in the vertical dimension as well. The whole memorial is built up of small bricks. It’s conveying its message by the multiplication of these simple elements. Near the vertical elements the bricks are sometimes transformed into plaques conveying messages from past and contemporary humans regarding totalitarianism.
The proposal uses two materials: large format stone pavements and traditional small sized bricks. The arched structure’s walls are built in a hollow way, so the monument is kept lightweight. All the brick elements are built with mortar in a traditional way. This way there is no need for additional steel or concrete structural elements. The quotes on the walls are etched into special bricks, which have a black finish. The chairs around the square are weatherproof steel chairs. They can be bolted into the pavement for security reasons.