National Holocaust Monument finalists reveal designs


Six Finalist teams  presented their design concepts to the jury on February 20, 2014. A public viewing of the six finalist concepts will be held at the Canadian War Museum the evening of February 20th, 2014. The public was invited to view the concepts, meet the design teams, and share their comments.

5 teams from Canada and 1 from the USA are awaiting a decision from a seven-member jury composed of accomplished professionals in the fields of art and urban design, a Holocaust survivor, and representation from the National Holocaust Monument Development Council. The jury will recommend the winning design team to the Government of Canada. Comments from the public will be shared with the jury prior to making the final recommendation to the Government of Canada.

Excerpts from Team Design Intent statements

TEAM AMANAT (includes landscape architect Daniel Roehr) – see above
“For the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa, we will represent a world torn in half. What other symbol can so clearly evoke such unspeakable damage and loss, than a fragment that remains of a broken world? The loss is real and authentic. The Holocaust has left us in a partial state. This condition is one we all understand, not only those who lived through the Holocaust, but those who have come
to know about it and even those who have still to learn. The comprehension and acknowledgement of this state of partiality, is a proposal for transformation.”


TEAM KLIEN (includes Terraplan)
“The monument creates a meaningful connection to the Holocaust for all visitors, including those who have no direct link to it or to its victims, opening their hearts and minds to an understanding of the Holocaust for both its historic specificity and as a universal metaphor of evil. It fuses moving image, sound, and landscape into a solemn all-embracing experience with the widest possible appeal. It impresses upon visitors the evil of this atrocity so that they examine and confront the dangers of silence and the consequences of indifference, helping to ensure that its horrors will never be forgotten. It encourages visitors to remember with sensitivity and solemnity the millions who died and suffered, along with the resilience of the survivors, perpetuating and honouring their memory among future generations. It evokes the lives of those who perished, celebrating the vitality of the human spirit even in the face of hopelessness and annihilation and it engages visitors by the use of significant and meaningful all-enveloping multimedia works of art, creating a memorable multi-sensory experience.”


TEAM LORD (includes landscape architect Claude Cormier)
“The National Holocaust Monument in Canada’s Capital must be a place of memory and mourning, honouring and commemorating, a space for questioning and learning and an unforgettable experience. Our proposal is a contemporary Monument designed in the 21st century for generations to come. This is a fully integrated proposal in which architecture, landscape, art and interpretation communicate the hardship and suffering of the victims while conveying a powerful message of humanity’s enduring strength and survival.”


“The new monument is envisioned as a geological form emerging from the earth, lifting a portion of the Canadian landscape. This geological event symbolizes the process of becoming, the creation of a space for living, a place where the power of memory turns toward the future but whose roots remain implanted in a past whose repercussions we continue to live. The monument is not merely an object erected in space as one might expect. It is a path, a passage, a form of “space-time” through whose moments of discovery and meditation we experience a range of emotions and epiphanic realizations. The “passage” is analogous in its commemorative significance to Pesach Passover, whose literal meaning is to “pass through”, to “pass over”, to “go beyond”. The passage — a “materialized memory” — is therefore comprised of these three principal stages, notions that will shape our personal experiences sensorially and cognitively. Indeed, as we pass through this architecture of memory, we are not spectators but active participants, actors.”


“When faced with the daunting task of creating a memorial to honour the victims and survivors of that most recognized of collective human travesties, one cannot escape a fundamental conundrum. How can a monument in the public realm evoke the enormity of the catastrophic experiences of the Holocaust – experiences which defy abstraction or simplification, by virtue of being so specific, so traumatic and so vast?”


“Articulating a conceptual approach to this project requires facing a multitude of complex artistic, design, historical, ethical, and social questions, such as: How can we welcome into public space the voices of victims and survivors, without attempting to “speak for them”? How can an existing site never intended to ‘house’ a subject like the Holocaust, be meaningfully transformed into a Holocaust Memorial Site? How might our design contribute to re-de!ning the physical, political and cultural landscape in Ottawa, while establishing signi!cant ethico-political dialogues with other Sites of Memory in Canada and elsewhere in the world? Can this project assist in framing collective and spontaneous acts of remembrance, as well as demand pro-active engagement toward building a better world?”



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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at