Adjaye Associates win UK Holocaust Memorial competition

Adjaye Associates, Ron Arad Architects and Gustafson Porter + Bowman have been selected to design the UK’s new Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre. Following an international competition, the team has been unanimously selected by a Jury including the UK’s Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Mayor of London, the Chief Rabbi as well as first and second generation Holocaust survivors and architecture and design experts.

Adjaye Associates, UK Holocaust Memorial
The winning Adjaye Associates design

The Jury praised the winning team’s proposal to create “a living place, not just a monument to something of the past” and the ‘desire to create an immersive journey for the visitor who would enter a Memorial embedded in the land.’

The Holocaust Memorial has been conceived following in depth research into the site, Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament. Describing the location as a “park of Britain’s conscience” the design team have linked the new Memorial and Learning Centre with the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, the Burghers of Calais and the Buxton Memorial: all four recognising injustice and the need to oppose it.

Alongside the winning winning Adjaye Associates submission, Canada’s Diamond Schmitt Architects received an honourable mention for its design of the United Kingdom’s Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre. The jury cited the Diamond Schmitt design for creating a journey from light to dark to light, where the memorial created a void in the Gardens intended to symbolize loss and absence.

Diamond Schmitt Architects presented “an elegant, restrained design and an impressively rigorous and detailed approach,” said the jury. The jury also noted the elliptical walls of the proposed design were inscribed with the names of the concentration camps, and the six million victims commemorated through a series of ingots impressed into the cast-iron structure, a reference to Britain’s manufacturing history.

The Diamond Schmitt submisison, UK Holocaust Memorial
The Diamond Schmitt submisison, UK Holocaust Memorial

“The relevance of a Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre is just as important today as it was post-World War II,” said A. J. Diamond, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects. “While we are of course disappointed in not having won the design competition, we applaud the United Kingdom’s intention to remember the consequences of hatred and educate the public about the perils of racism and intolerance.”