SAYA designed the Fields of Memory: Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial Proposal in Atlantic City Boardwalk, USA.
Description from the architects:
SITE & COMPETITION DETAILS:
The Atlantic City Holocaust Memorial Board held an open international competition for selecting a Holocaust Memorial for the city’s prominent boardwalk. The Memorial is planned to be located at a prominent public site, an existing seaside pavilion on the Boardwalk, against the magnificent backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.
712 proposals have been submitted from 55 countries. These have been shortlisted to 13 finalists, and shortlisted to 2 finalists which were invited for an additional round. SAYA’s proposal- one of the top two finalists, was eventually awarded a second prize. The distinguished jury included: Daniel Libeskind, Richard Meier, Michael Berenbaum, Clifford Chanin, Wendy Evans Joseph, and James E. Young.
FIELDS OF MEMORY
How should one address the Holocaust from the distance of seven decades and in a contemporary urban context? Can memorials live amongst casinos and leisure urban activity? Sustaining the memory of the Holocaust along Atlantic City’s boardwalk bares internal contradictions: life and death, past and present, seriousness and joy. It raises questions regarding the encounter between public memory and public space. “Fields of Memory” seeks to bridge this dichotomy, rather than fight it, by creating a site of commemoration that appears as if it has naturally emerged and created itself on the site to form a small urban garden.
The rust-like light stalks -“Shibbolim” (“Rye stalks” in Hebrew) refer to the biblical story of Shibboleth (Judges 12, 5-6) which has become a synonym for hatred on an ethnic or cultural base. The stalks rise to various heights, sway gently in the wind, and produce soft flute-like sounds. They serve as eternal lights- commemorating the loss of millions, yet emphasizing the absence of numerous indivisuals. Their collective presence, motion and sound create the effect of an absent-present crowd which has gathered to testify and tell a tragic story.
Working with a slight rise of the wooden deck, the stalks form an urban garden facing the boardwalk. They also relate to the see grass situated between the boardwalk and the ocean. The contrast between the two somehow blurs the distinction between natural and artificial, life and still-life, present and memory.
A low reflecting-pool at the center of the memorial creates a focal point for gathering, holding ceremonies and laying pebbles as an act of grief. It reflects the visitors during the day, and the stalks during the night.
Rather than facing the ocean, the memorial turns its focus to the city and its people. Situating the seating and gathering areas to face the boardwalk, further accentuates the message that memory and grief are inseparable from life, and that the best way to commemorate loss is binding it with the present.
About SAYA: Design for Change
SAYA is an Israeli-based architectural, planning and design practice in a constant search for new and inspiring solutions for old problems. The core vision that leads our work is “Design for Change”: We are interested in the impact design has on the public good and wish to promote public interests and social causes through architecture, design, planning and policy development. Ranging between visioning public spaces, green development and understanding the connection between conflict resolution, planning and design, we aim to promote a vision for a better world, and believe in the pro-active role architects bear in fulfilling this goal.
|Design Team||Karen Lee Bar-Sinai, Yehuda Greenfield-Gilat, Chen Farkas|
|Location||Atlantic City Boardwalk, USA|