TORONTO – Diamond Schmitt Architects received an honourable mention for its design of the United Kingdom’s Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre. The international competition with 92 entries and ten finalists was won by the team led by Adjaye Associates, it was announced today.
The memorial and learning centre are to be situated in Victoria Tower Gardens in London next to the Houses of Parliament. In noting the shortlist comprised some of the world’s most talented architects, the jury cited the Diamond Schmitt design for creating a journey from light to dark to light, where the memorial creates 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, which included the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, UK’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and both first and second generation Holocaust survivors.
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 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.”
The team led by Diamond Schmitt Architects included Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Martha Schwartz Partners, Entuitive and Arup. For more on the competition and shortlisted designs, please click here:
Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca) is based in Toronto with studios in Vancouver and New York City. Informed by urbanism, driven by design, the firm’s extensive portfolio includes performing arts centres, post-secondary facilities, and residential, institutional and commercial buildings. Current projects include the Collection and Conservation Centre at the Canadian Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, Robarts Common at the University of Toronto and Buddy Holly Hall in Lubbock, Texas.