Christopher Counts Studio with Artist Joseph Norman proposal for UNESCO’s Permanent Memorial for the Victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade was created to blend an innovative 21st century design based on a ribbon form with a powerful interpretation of the Middle Passage. The concept for this proposal measures approximately 180 feet by 80 feet. However, this design concept is amorphous in its scope, scale and shape relative to the selected site.
The memorial is symphonic in structure and comprised of four distinct movements that tells the story of the Middle Passage that is devoid of sentimentality and undeniable in its truth. The story is told with more than one thousand bold, larger than life figures made out of ceramic, which will flow from a mosaic treatment to bas relief and three-dimensional imagery. The Middle Passage is depicted in a clear, concise visual narrative that is easily accessible to people of all nationalities and ages through hieroglyphic forms reminiscent of ancient Egyptian, Central American pictographs and Australian Aboriginal Rock Art.
The structural concept is based on the idea of utilizing the inherent stability of a curved form. The curvature of the ribbon is seen as an extrapolation of the tradition of serpentine site walls – a lightweight, economical wall construction that is given strength and stability by the natural curvature of the wall. In the case of the ribbon, the curvature is truly three dimensional and irregular. Current engineering and fabrication technologies allow the ability to define, analyze and fabricate such highly irregular geometries with relative efficiency.
UN Memorial Competition | New York USA | Christopher Counts Studio with Artist Joseph Norman
Christopher Counts Studio with Artist Joseph Norman
Robert Silman Associates, Structural Engineers
IMAGE CREDITS | Christopher Counts Studio with Artist Joseph Norman