23 October, 2017

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.

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.

The design concept takes the visitor on a journey that culminates in confronting 23 tall bronze fins, the spaces in between representing the 22 countries in which Jewish communities were devastated during the Holocaust. Entering the Memorial will be a sensory experience. While the outside and inside space emphasises collective gathering, the 23 bronze fins require the visitor to enter in solitude and isolation, providing a highly individual pathway and experience. Each path eventually leads down into the Threshold – a generous hall which acts as a place of contemplation and transition into the Learning Centre below ground. The Learning Centre includes a “hall of testimonies” and a “Contemplation Court”: a silent, reflective space with eight bronze panels. On leaving the Memorial, the circulation route ensures visitors will emerge to see the classic uninterrupted view of Parliament – and the reality of democracy.

Sir David Adjaye, speaking on behalf of design team said: "We are deeply honoured to have been given the opportunity to tell these stories to the nation through a National Memorial and Learning Centre. It is critical these highly important and emotive historical touchpoints are explored, so that future generations are able to experience, learn, reflect and act.”

Ben Helfgott, MBE President, 45 Aid Society, Holocaust Survivors and President HMDT, and Jury member said: “As we - the youngest survivors – pass on the baton of Remembrance, we are delighted to see this wonderful design team deliver a Memorial and Learning Centre which will resonate for generations.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “The outstanding winning concept will provide an entry point for a greater national understanding of the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. This timely memorial will encourage and inspire peaceful coexistence and tolerance and will lead to a better appreciation of what can happen when hatred is allowed to develop unchecked.”