Design for London’s New Holocaust Memorial Is Unveiled

An international competition for the design drew 92 submissions. Mr. Adjaye’s team, which includes the Israeli architect Ron Arad and the landscape architecture company Gustafson Porter & Bowman, was unanimously selected by a jury that included the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan; the chief rabbi of Britain and the Commonwealth, Ephraim Mirvis; the president of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York, Alice M. Greenwald; and Holocaust survivors.


A subterranean exhibition space in the memorial will address anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred and prejudice. Credit Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects

Peter Bazalgette, chairman of the U.K. Holocaust Memorial Foundation, was the head of the jury. In a news statement, he praised Mr. Adjaye’s team for creating an “emotionally powerful experience” and for their “understanding of the complexity of the Holocaust and their desire to create a living place as well as a respectful memorial.”

The location of the project, which will receive 50 million pounds, or about $66 million, of public funding, has drawn criticism from neighboring institutions, local residents and government officials, however.

This month, the Imperial War Museum, which is about a mile from the memorial’s proposed site, called for a reconsideration of the plans for the education center. The museum expressed concern that the center would compete with its own Holocaust gallery, due to open in 2020.

The plans for the memorial’s learning center include the recorded testimonies of 112 Holocaust survivors. As well as commemorating the victims of the Holocaust and addressing anti-Semitism, the subterranean center would also examine hatred and prejudice in other forms, including racism and Islamophobia.

This year, a letter was sent by critics of the plan to all members of the House of Lords, the upper house of the British Parliament, saying that the gardens where the memorial is to be located would “cease to be an amenity for ordinary people” if it went ahead.

“The gardens are extensively used by residents, visitors to London, and the many thousands who work nearby, including those working in the Palace of Westminster,” the letter said. “They are an oasis of calm, enjoyed as a place of exercise, play, picnics, sunbathing and dog walking.”

The memorial is scheduled to open in 2021, although it is yet to be granted planning permission.

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