Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center
The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (hereinafter referred to as BYHMC) must reveal the truth about the events that took place in Kyiv in 1941-43 because of the perception of the break with the past and at the same time because of the sense of continuality of memory. It must become a place where memory crystallises and finds its shelter.
The events of the Holocaust that took place in Babyn Yar for a long time were supressed. The traces of mass murder were originally destroyed by the Nazis, and then the landscape itself as a result of the Kurenivka tragedy and decisions taken by the Soviet authorities was radically changed - the ravine was buried. The BYHMC project is intended to restore, "switch on" the memory through the image of "switching off", focusing on constant attempts to "to switch off" the memory about the Holocaust in Soviet times. The proposed idea of "counter-monument" is opposed to the Soviet tradition of commemorating by installing monuments and is embodied in the connotative "silent" architecture of the Memorial Center. The project declares the refuse from the Soviet tradition of memorialization and honoring according to the only true scenario and appeals to the human dimension of the tragedy of events. The memorial center creates a field for expanding the range of personal emotions, which will give visitors the opportunity to get material for the synthesis of new senses, and not the systematic interpretation of history. Instead of building a memorial that embodies the immutable truth, we offer each visitor to take part in a process that will stimulate the continuous work of mind and emotion. BYHMC must become a multifunctional center that combines exhibition space that drives a powerful experience, as well as educational, dialogue and research centers for a wide range of visitors: victims of the Holocaust, their relatives, young people, students, pupils, researchers, residents and tourists. The area of the Memorial Center, surrounded by the Alley of Sorrow, the Alley of Martyrs and the Alley of the Righteous Ones with a large number of non-systemic memorial signs and with the Menorah in close proximity to the building, will become the space where the past, present and future are combined. This will happen through the story of the past and the creation of the present and future through cultural and scientific events. The platform for dialogue will spread awareness and knowledge about the Holocaust and its impact on humanity. Past and future, existing and new, absent and present, are matched in the design site and create a field for dialogue. The black interiors of the underground part of the building and the burrowing of the bottom of the ravine tell us about the tragic history of the place, the white overhead part and the white concrete paving slabs leading to the new memorial center represent more likely opportunities for the future. The walls of the exhibition are decorated with black lacquered steel; all the other surfaces are of white concrete.
EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE THROUGH THE REPRODUCTION OF THE HISTORIC LANDSCAPE
The proposed partial reproduction of the Babyn Yar topography of the 1940s, namely the emphasis on two authentic hills - historic witnesses of events in the western part of the site, and the disclosure of the relief of the ravine itself by pulling the pulp in the lower floor of the museum's part of the Memorial Center is aimed at creating a powerful emotional influence in visitors This decision highlights the connection of the Holocaust with the restored historical landscape, namely the deep Babyn Yar, from which the Jews and other victims of the Holocaust last seen the sun. Also, the project marks the place of the historical Jewish cemetery, and in the territory of the park area paving and landscaping reproduces spots of authentic grass. In this way, history is manifested in space, and the museum tells peacefully and honestly about the tragedy of the Holocaust.
MEMORIAL CENTER. BUILDING
The "quiet" architecture of the building of the Memorial Center is more likely to contribute to inner experience than to demonstrate its own presence. The white façade "is excluded" from the natural environment, symbolizing the main idea of the project. Separate elements of the support are also "excluded" from the body of the facade. Preserving the architectural "silence" helps to form a coherent human favorable environment for sensory perception, and awareness of the tragedy by everyone...The building is a bright ascetic space from two supermassive floors, as well as a ground floor and two underground floors. The two overhead floors are raised on supports to ensure the combination of space inside and outside. The building is square in the plan of 70.5x70.5m. Absolute mark of the roof is +187.00 m. The monolithic building is made of white concrete. To provide the natural light of the overhead part of the building, 5 atrium holes were designed. A separate, powerful symbolic load is the sixth atrium, which is located above a kind of "patio", tangent to the lobby and providing the possibility to enter it from the educational-dialogue center. The courtyard of the 6th atrium is square in the plan and surrounded on all sides by blank walls, covered with a sail vault. It is not planned as an element-part of the building, but rather an embodiment of the absence of this part, which symbolizes the irretrievable disappearance of a part of the human community, the physical expression of uncompensated loss. The space is practically closed and is intended for partial sensory deprivation, however, it has a split from the bottom, thus integrating into the context of the surrounding landscape. A round hole in the vault, together with the split, appeals to the universal human experience of insecurity and vulnerability. In the courtyard space there is planted a tree that is an expression of consolation and continuity of human life, and must become a symbolic place "...appointed for all living" (Book of Job 30:23). The memorial center is divided into two parts: in the underground - two floors are presenting an exhibition with permanent and temporary expositions, in the overhead - the premises of the educational and dialogue center, the audience zone, the research center, the administration. In the underground part at the level - 2, a symbolic street space, which reproduces the historical relief of Babyn Yar, is formed by excavation of the soil. This split is the most emotional part of the center, the climax of the exposition. At the same time, the split is partially exposed to outside and accessible to visitors of the park. After visiting the exposition, the visitor enters the space outside under the notching and sees the difference between the existing and historical relief, which shows the thickness of the layer, which covers the memory of the Holocaust, and also allows you to realize the feelings of the victims of the tragedy. From this point, the visitor can see the symbolic slope seen by the victims in the last seconds of life, as well as feel the outside temperature, natural light and see the sky. At level - 1, exhibition spaces are located for permanent and temporary expositions. At level 0 there is a foyer, waiting areas, a cafe, a bookstore, a cloakroom and other necessary accompanying facilities. At level 1 there is a learning and dialogue center and an auditorium area with access to visitors and a separate VIP-area. At level 2 there is the administration of the memorial center, the library, the fund storage, and others like that. The vertical communication is carried out using elevators and stairs. The entrance to the building is arranged on all sides. From west, north and east - for visitors, from the south - for service and VIP guests. The main entrance is aimed at Dorohozhychi Metro Station and interconnection zone A. Delivery and loading takes place on the south side of the interconnection zone C. The location of the building provides access for fire departments from all sides. Cafe with a separate entrance is located on the north side of the building, the café terrace is oriented to the Alley of the Righteous Ones. A separate entrance to the store from the western side on the main pedestrian crossing from the metro station is offered. The BYHMC lobby is pedestrian with the possibility of a through passage and with the exit through the amphitheater on the eastern side of the building (towards the cemetery). The outer staircases representing the slope of the ravine under the building on one hand are a magnet and part of the exhibition, and on the other hand are another evacuation way from underground floors. The staircase, cutting the building down the center, is a short way from the exhibition space to outside in the event of an emergency.
On the territory of the Memorial Center there is a park area, a cemetery and the authentic Babyn Yar hills open for viewing. The path to the memorial center is paved with large chopped plates made of white concrete, as well as facades of the building. This pavement is contrasting to the existing one in the park, and the new, which is denoted by the historical terrain of the ravine. The white path is a guide for guests and is the easiest way from the metro station to the Memorial Center with regard to the distance and difference of terrain. The projected landscape combines the sites of the reserve and integrates into the existing structure of memorial and natural entities with a respectful attitude to all complex historical layers (both in physical and symbolic dimensions). Manifesting the rejection of the traditional monument - the object of worship, the projected landscape does not have a clear script and defined paths and destinations. It is not intended to give a single true answer. At the same time, it creates a human environment for sensory perception and realization of personal experience of unprecedented loss consciousness. The BYHMC territory becomes the center of existing memorial structures (alleys). Green plants require sanation. Also, trees and a mixture of Siberian dogwood shrubs (Cornus alba 'Sibirica' and Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire') which will have red color in the winter, will be added here. The depth of the former ravine is marked by paving and filling of stones of different factions. The deepest part of the ravine is covered with large granite slabs, which gradually change the size and move into a fine gravel bearing in the place of the slope of the former ravine closer to the mountain. This technique, besides the marking of the old topography, has an audible image: large stones create a quiet low sound while walking, and a small bulk creates louder and higher sound, and is accompanied by a contrasting tactile sensation. The former Jewish cemetery remains open to the passage, field grass is planted there and bridges are constructed that reproduce the burial structures according to the project plan for the years of the cemetery existence. This literal representation of the cemetery makes it possible for each visitor to join a personal ritual to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust by taking a pebble and putting it on a concrete bridge. The territory of the park is accessible from everywhere, where plants are not planted. On the slopes and at the bottom of the plot unpretentious Morro sedge (Carex morrowii) and small periwinkle (Vinca Minor) are planted. Removing sick plants and young scrubs around old trees opens up the park's perspective. The authentic Babyn Yar hills are exposed from trees. The lack of trees in the hills and their presence in the roundabout is aimed at recreating the visitor's historical picture, when the ravine was covered by the victims of the inhumane act, and on the hills there left no one any more ... The hills are well viewed from both the park and the building of the Memorial Center and cause a sense of touch to the events of the Second World War. Within the limits of the historical contours of the ravine, in order to make a discovery of the idea of presence, the new trees of Gleditsia triacanthos "Skyline" are plunged into the system of a geometric grid. The contrast of regular and landscape plantings will create a system for spotting historical and modern vegetation. The lower vegetation layer is also planted on the territory of the park, namely, White Dogwood 'Sibirica' (Cornus alba 'Sibirica) and Cotoneaster Dammeri Major. Mass planting of turf is located mainly in the part of the park near the museum. The rich red color of branches of turf in winter is symbolic in nature. The Cotoneaster is planted on the sides of the authentic slopes. Such placement will protect the slopes from erosion. The hills are covered with the vegetation layer, created from local annual plants and perennials. The green arches of the undergrowth of the ravine have an ascetic character. The palette of plants is compressed: small periwinkle (Vinca minor) and stink bugs (Dryopteris filix-mas). These perennials are planted with a low density, between the casts of stones. The contours of the historical topography - the boundary between the lawn and the fill, sometimes are marked by a low retaining wall. Also, the historical boundaries of the ravine are marked by a regular grid of new trees and concrete pillars on the former cemetery territory. On the territory there is a monument to the dead Roma - "Romska kibitka (nomad tent)", which is proposed to be left in an authentic place.
AVAILABILITY AND COMMUNICATIONS
The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center is one of the key elements of the National Historical and Memorial Reserve "Babyn Yar". The center does not contradict with the existing objects of memory on and around the designing area, but seeks to become a place where all the statements and layers of historical meanings in this territory are combined. The hiking paths are organized in such a way that visitors can reach the Memorial Center from the three memorial alleys: the Alley of the Righteous Ones, the Alley of Martyrs, and Alley of Sorrow. The main pedestrian road to the Memorial Center is being arranged by Dorohozhychi metro station. Near the metro station the project provides parking for 64 cars (interconnection zone A). In the interconnection zone B, an intake of tourist buses and parking for 10 cars are being arranged. Along with the building of the Memorial Center near the loading area a parking is arranged for 11 cars for the less-mobile groups of people, VIP-visitors and technical needs. We have to cherish the interest in places of memory. Life goes on, and soon the first generation will appear in Ukraine, which will not be able to see live witnesses to the Holocaust. We have no right to become "switched off" from the global process of preserving the memory of the Holocaust. It was an unprecedented horrific and difficult process to understand, which must not be repeated. The Memorial Center with its special environment, located on the territory of the historic-memorial reserve, must create a narrative, the basis of which is memory, honor, understanding of irreparable loss and treatment of society for the benefit. Generations of contemporaries are not responsible for the consequences of the Holocaust, but are responsible for preserving its memory. BYHMC must become a place where memory recreates a break with the past and at the same time creates a space to seek meaning in the future.