February 24, 2018



Victoria Tower Gardens, London
The winning competition entry, announced 24th October 2017, is the result of a close process of collaboration between Ron Arad Architects, Adjaye Associates and Gustafson, Porter + Bowman as Landscape Architects.
The National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre honour victims and survivors of events now reaching the edge of living memory. It evokes shared experiences which defy abstraction or simplification, but must also be inclusive, relevant and resonant with a broader and younger audience.
A gently meandering path leads across a gradually rising hill, inviting ascending visitors for views of the river and Westminster. It is then revealed as a cliff edge over a fractured landscape, held up by tall patinated bronze walls which inscribe 22 paths - one for each country in which Jewish communities were decimated during the Holocaust. Both cohesive and fragmented, the paths are a shared experience only from afar; the journey through them is experienced individually, as visitors are led down into the threshold below - a space for contemplation and transition.  
The visceral, non-verbal experience, in close proximity to the bastion of democracy, may inspire future generations to connect the events of the Holocaust to other human tragedies of other times and places, and take a stance on wider issues of human rights and freedoms.


GUSTAV KLIMT (1862-1918)

GUSTAV KLIMT (1862-1918)
Oil, Silver, and Gold on Canvas
© 2015. Neue Galerie New York/Art Resource/Scala, Florence

Adjaye Associates, Ron Arad Architects and the landscape architects Gustafson Porter + Bowman have been selected to design the UK’s new Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre.
After an international competition, with 92 entries in total and ten finalists, Adjaye Associates, Ron Arad Architects and Gustafson Porter + Bowman were selected unanimously as the winning team, by a jury including the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Mayor of London, the Chief Rabbi, experts from architecture, art and design, and both first and second generation Holocaust survivors.
The design team will be led by British architect, Sir David Adjaye, who is known for creating sensitive yet compelling designs. His recent work includes the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. and the Idea Stores in London’s Tower Hamlets.
Located next to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
Its co-located Learning Centre will contextualise the memorial above and use the stories and facts of the Holocaust to explore anti-Semitism, extremism, ......, racism, homophobia and other forms of hatred and prejudice in society today. From its location next to Parliament, it will ask questions about the role of society and its institutions in encouraging respect for others and preventing hatred.
The jury praised the winning team’s proposal to create “a living place, not just a monument to something of the past” and the desire to create an immersive journey for the visitor who would enter a memorial embedded in the land. The jury found the proposal deftly resolved an essential challenge of the brief: being visually arresting (“highly visible from near and far”) yet showing sensitivity to its location and context. The concept was found to have clear potential to be developed into an iconic memorial and intriguing educational experience, attracting visitors from the UK and beyond to learn and reflect.
The winning concept is at an early design stage. It will now undergo further development through discussion with Holocaust experts, survivors and other victim groups, and local residents, Westminster City Council, Historic England, Royal Parks and other statutory consultees. As part of this process, the United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial Foundation will also work closely with other organisations and experts on the contents and approach of the co-located Learning Centre.
The jury also awarded honourable mentions to two teams – heneghan peng architects and Sven Anderson, and Diamond Schmitt Architects.
The winning design concept was inspired by research into the site, Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament, with Sir David Adjaye describing the location as a “park of Britain’s conscience”. The memorial links with the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, the Burghers of Calais and the Buxton Memorial: all four recognising injustice and the need to oppose it.
In order to keep the park as a park and to maintain the green space, the team placed its Holocaust Memorial at the far southern end of the gardens, embedded in the land. Accordingly, a visitor approaching the memorial would see a subtle grass landform with only the tips of the memorial’s fins “bristling in the distance”, its intriguing design giving a sense that something is happening underground and encouraging people to find out more.
The design concept takes visitors on a journey that culminates in confronting the 23 tall bronze fins of the memorial, the spaces in between representing the 22 countries in which Jewish communities were destroyed during the Holocaust. Entering the memorial would be a sensory experience. While the outside and inside space emphasises collective gathering, the 23 bronze fins require the visitor to enter in an isolated, solitary way, each pathway planned as a different experience. Each path eventually leads down into the Threshold – a generous hall which acts as a place of contemplation and transition into the Learning Centre below ground. The Learning Centre includes a “hall of testimonies” and a “Contemplation Court”: a silent, reflective space with eight bronze panels. On leaving the memorial, the circulation route ensures visitors will emerge to see the classic uninterrupted view of Parliament – and the reality of democracy.
Sir David Adjaye, speaking on behalf of Adjaye Associates, Ron Arad and Gustafson Porter + Bowman said:
The complexity of the Holocaust story, including the British context, is a series of layers that have become hidden by time. Our approach to the project has been to reveal these layers and not let them remain buried under history. To do so, we wanted to create a living place, not just a monument to something of the past. We wanted to orchestrate an experience that reminds us of the fragility and constant strife for a more equitable world.
We are deeply honoured to have been given the opportunity to tell these stories to the nation through a National Memorial and Learning Centre. It is critical these highly important and emotive historical touchpoints are explored, so that future generations are able to experience, learn, reflect and act.
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and jury member, Sajid Javid, said:
‘’Through this project, we stand up as a nation; we stand together regardless of our religion, race or background; and we stand against ignorance and bigotry. The new Learning Centre will not only remind us of mankind’s capacity for darkness, through the story of the Holocaust and other genocides - crucially, it will also remind us of our incredible capacity for good.’’


Milhomeh un Sholem, a Yiddish Translation of War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)
by Shelomoh Sheynberg. Vilna, 1927


'' The Prints and Etchings Room of the Felix Warburg Family Mansion, Built in 1908 and Donated to the Jewish Museum in 1944. Now ️ The Jewish Museum Ground Floor ''

Föhrenwald DP Camp Poster. Concert of Violinist Patricia Travers Koncert - Fidlerin 
Patricia Travers. American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee AJDC, 1948, Undated

SALADOR DALI 1904 - 1989
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 51 x 77 cm
Private Collection

'' A Rare 16th Century Hebrew Book Was Among the First Books to be 
Digitized for the Vilna Collections Project. ''

In the Oldest Synagogue in the City, the Synagogue of Saul ben Judah Wahl (1541-ca.1617, Who Was King of Poland for 24 hours,) an Old Man Sits Over a Book on the Wooden Steps Leading to the 'Bimah' ( Reader's Platform ), Lublin, pre-1924.

Yivo Reading Room, Man Reads Yiddish Paper 

“A tyrannical ship captain inveigled Jewish children aboard his ship and their mothers gathered on the shore to save their children.” This image is from the 1901 Yiddish translation of Solomon ibn Verga’s classic Hebrew work Shevet Yehudah (The Staff of Judah), first printed in Turkey in the mid-16th century. The book chronicles persecutions of Jews in different lands, especially in Spain. This book from the YIVO Library is one of the many Yiddish books now being digitized for YIVO’s Vilna Collections project. It was once part of the famed Strashun Jewish public library in Vilna. ''

Collector Fritz Grunbaum

A Vivo Library & Archives Stamp New York Ca. 1940


A design collaboration between Ron Arad Architects and David Adjaye Associates, with Art Strategies Inc & Tatar Art Projects.
Addressing the challenge and responsibility of creating a public monument which evokes a shared set of experiences relating to the holocaust and its survivors -experiences which defy abstraction or simplification- is fundamental to our proposal. It must also honour the victims and survivors of events which took place a great distance away from Canadian soil, and which are now reaching the edge of living memory.
Shunning direct didactic or symbolic content, our proposal centres on an array of thin walls or foils, 14m in height and 20m in length, spaced 120cm apart from each other -just enough for a visitor to pass through in single file. Passage through the monument is a shared experience only from a distance, and in retrospect, once others have journeyed through it as well.
There are 23 textured, tinted and articulated concrete foils in total, facilitating 22 pathways -one for each country in which Jewish communities were decimated during the Holocaust. Their combined impact, an interplay between robustness and frailty, cohesiveness and fragmentation. The narrow passages pull the eye upwards, through canyon-like undulations which frame the sky above.


Part of the Strashun Library collection, this book is an example of a sefer evronot, 
a genre that uses rabbinic chronology for determining how to calculate 
the Jewish calendar and times for prayer. 

'' People receiving packages, at the remittance office of the American Jewish 
Joint Distribution Committee, Warszawa, 1920 ''

Here's the design that didn't win: architect David Adjaye and designer Ron Arad have revealed their shortlisted entry for Canada's National Holocaust Monument competition.
David Adjaye and Ron Arad teamed up with art historian and curator Irene Szylinger and public arts consultant Tatar Art Projects on their proposal for the memorial, planned for a site in the Canadian capital, Ottawa.
The designers describe these as "at times almost perfectly smooth to the touch, and at others left punctuated by the variation of stone aggregate within them".
Here's a project description from the designers:
National Holocaust Monument Ottawa
" The enormous historical literary and dramatic material produced over nearly half a century about the Final Solution, has created a kind of resistance. But it would be perilous if we allowed this "compassion fatigue" to make us forget the singularity of this horror" – Gitta Sereny, 1996
When faced with the daunting task of formulating a design brief for a memorial to honour the victims and survivors of that most recognised of collective human travesties, one cannot escape a fundamental conundrum. How can a monument in the public realm evoke a shared set of experiences relating to the Holocaust and its survivors – experiences which defy abstraction or simplification, by virtue of their being so specific, so traumatic and personal?
Furthermore, the Holocaust Memorial is a Canadian monument honouring the victims and survivors of events which took place a great distance away from Canadian soil, and which are now reaching the edge of living memory.
There is thus an implied responsibility to both strongly anchor the memorial in Canada, home to the fourth largest Jewish population in the world, and to make it inclusive, relevant and strongly resonant with any who visit it, and especially a younger and broader audience. We have been given the opportunity, and have the freedom to build the memorial which stands as evidence for future generations, and the very introduction of such a monument to the capital of this model democracy, defies forgetfulness, or worse, the denial of the Holocaust.
The monument centres on an array of thin walls or foils, each up to 14m in height and 20m in length, spaced 120 centimetres apart from each other – just enough for a visitor to pass through in single passage. While we resist prescribing an 'experience' or enforcing didactic content onto the memorial, our proposal does pose a central, unavoidable theme – the voyage the visitor makes through these foils is one each must take alone. It is a shared experience only from a distance, and in retrospect, once others have journeyed through it as well.
The higher reaches of these foils are individually articulated through dramatic folds and impressions to create an undulating, and at times frayed appearance. These are redolent of the imprints, or scars which events may leave in their wake – the tracery of damage which is both testament to history, and a mark carried into the future.
There are 23 concrete foils in total, facilitating 22 pathways – one for each country in which Jewish communities were decimated during the Holocaust. Their combined impact is an interplay between robustness and frailty, cohesiveness and fragmentation; like pages in a book, or individual members in a tightknit community.
The foils are to be built as slim (it is envisaged that they would range between 50cm at their widest, to approximately 15cm at their thinnest edge), steel-reinforced concrete elements, formed in such a way as to celebrate a wide spectrum of textures; at times almost perfectly smooth to the touch, and at others left punctuated by the variation of stone aggregate within them. The narrow, linear passage between these cannot but pull the eyes upwards, to reveal the canyon-like undulations which frame the sky above. These vary from passage to passage, and may provoke and evoke a variety of emotions and connotations, such as the naturally occurring ravines in the Jordanian desert, or the charged tunnels beneath Jerusalem's ancient Western Wall.
As darkness falls, floor-mounted uplighters near both edges of each foil serve to accentuate the thin sculptural outer faces of each one. From afar, the cohesive volume which envelopes the monument is delicately broken down into its almost frail-looking component parts. From within, and still accessible, the monument offers a well-lit environment from which to enter each pathway. These lead into the darker centre of the path, and ultimately into the light at the end of each passage.
We believe and hope that the immediacy of the physical, non-verbal experience offered by the monument, beyond its categorisation as architectural or sculptural, will serve to inspire future generations to connect the events of the Holocaust to other human tragedies of other times and places, and take a stance on wider issues of human rights and freedoms.


EDWARD MUNCH 1863 - 1944
Dimensions: 91 cm × 73.5 cm (36 in × 28.9 in)
National Gallery, Oslo, Norway

Adjaye Associates believes that architecture presents opportunities for transformation – materially, conceptually and sociologically. Driven by the desire to enrich and improve daily life, the practice’s buildings are designed to meet the diverse needs of the communities they serve. Inspiration is drawn from many influences around the world and the work clearly articulates this enthusiasm for issues of place and identity.
The buildings belong to yet diverge from their contexts, absorbing and animating difference rather than homogenising it. They are bold statements of a complex contemporary world and an unsettled territory of cultural experimentation. Private residences are places of urban retreat, while the civic buildings dissolve the idea of the institution. The emphasis on light, a distinctive material and colour palette, the play between positive and negative and the ability to turn constraints into compelling narratives, are critical themes.
David Adjaye’s vision is one that promotes multiple interpretations of the civic experience. The approach to urban development is driven by the human-scaled complexities of urban living in parallel with the driving forces of topography, geography and climate. The celebration of difference that lies at the heart of the practice’s architecture feeds into its master planning projects – whether school and university campuses, re-developed urban quarters or entirely new cities. The work avoids monolithic statements and the use of utility logics to organise urban frameworks. Rather, it is dominated by the experience of transition, the possibility for capturing memory and meaning and the constant striving for an organic quality that can shift to express the sense of the city as a constantly evolving organism. Adjaye’s ability to navigate many forms of knowledge – from science, engineering and environment to artistic intervention or community involvement – is key to the master planning methodology.
Adjaye Associates works at many different scales, with products and furniture providing a testing ground for form as well as materials. This is something that powerfully informs the wider body of work – from residential to large civic projects. A number of these larger projects benefit from a complete service - from architecture and planning down to the smallest details such as the furniture and signage, while some residential projects encompass permanent furniture elements that are integrated into the overall structure.
David Adjaye’s belief in working together with artists and other cultural thinkers has led to a number of notable collaborations and a lively cultural and creative discourse surrounding his practice. Adjaye Associates established its early reputation with a series of private houses where the artist was client, and this dialogue continues with recent public buildings, pavilions and exhibitions.
“ I like to collaborate with artists that see space and structure as integral to their work. It involves a merging of skills and aesthetics to create something that has more potential than either discipline can achieve on its own. ” (David Adjaye)
David Adjaye is widely seen as a role model for future generations. He participates in exhibitions, lectures, symposia, publishing projects and television. The research arm of the practice is vital to the creative discourse that drives its built work. While every individual project has unique qualities, it is the practice’s research that provides an overarching framework for experimentation, reflection and theoretical connections. This philosophical curve is an essential context for challenging typologies, engaging with historical references and offering a fresh approach to the contemporary condition and its future trajectories.
“ Sustainability is not just material use or energy use... it is lifestyle. ‘’ (David Adjaye)
The idea of the material of sustainability is something Adjaye Associates believes that we have to move away from. Sustainability is about the whole philosophy of how you use and live. It is therefore not an add-on or even something that we consciously separate out from the design concept. The practice continually experiments with recycled, inexpensive materials and seeks to achieve the optimum environment through orientation, shading and sensitivity to the local climate.
There are very few locations in which people can live continuously without modifying the climatic conditions to maintain their comfort, and with global warming this is likely to become more necessary.
On the other hand, climatic conditions often determine aspects of a place that we most appreciate.
Adjaye Associates has developed a language of form that makes it possible to enjoy the specifics of climate while, at the same time, making modifications to the climate on a largely passive basis. The form of the Moscow School of Management, for example, was largely dictated by the need to deal with an extreme winter. The disc became a solution to misimise campus sprawl so that the entire campus is a compact and therefore more energy efficient mass.
A number of buildings have achieved the relevant environmental accreditation – for example the Denver Art Museum was awarded LEED gold. Similarly, the practice has been very ambitious with the environmental strategy for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will achieve a minimum of a LEED Gold rating, while the recently opened Francis Gregory Library in Washington DC has achieved LEED silver and its partner library, the William O. Lockridge Bellevue Library surpassed the projected LEED silver to achieve LEED Gold.

Sir David Adjaye OBE is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. Adjaye was born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents and his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. In 1994, he set up his first office, where his ingenious use of materials and his sculptural ability established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision. He reformed his studio as Adjaye Associates in 2000. The firm now has offices in London, New York and Accra with projects in the US, UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. His largest project to date, the $540 million Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened on the National Mall in Washington DC in fall of 2016 and was named Cultural Event of the Year by the New York Times.
Other prominent completed work include the Idea Stores in London (2005), which were credited with pioneering a new approach to library services, the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO (2010), the Sugar Hill mixed-use social housing scheme in Harlem, New York (2015); and the Aishti Foundation retail and art complex in Beirut (2015). Prominent ongoing projects include a new home for the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, a new headquarters building for the International Finance Corporation in Dakar, and the just-announced National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London.
In 2017, Adjaye was recently knighted by Her Majesty the Queen for services to Architecture, following the previous award of an OBE in 2007. The same year, he was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people of the year by TIME magazine. He has additionally received the Design Miami/ Artist of the Year title in 2011, the Wall Street Journal Innovator Award in 2013 and the 2016 Panerai London Design Medal from the London Design Festival.
Adjaye is known for his frequent collaborations with contemporary artists on installations and exhibitions. Most notably, he designed the 56th Venice Art Biennale with curator Okwui Enwezor (2015). The Upper Room, featuring thirteen paintings by Chris Ofili (2002), is now part of the permanent collection of Tate Britain. Further examples include Within Reach, a second installation with Ofili in the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2003) and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art for the 21st Century Pavilion that was designed to show Your Black Horizon, a projection work by Olafur Eliasson, at the 2005 Venice Biennale.
Adjaye has held distinguished professorships at the Harvard, Princeton and Yale universities. He has also taught at the Royal College of Art, where he had previously studied, and at the Architectural Association School in London. The material from his ten-year study of the capital cities of Africa was exhibited as Urban Africa at London’s Design Museum (2010) and published as Adjaye Africa Architecture (Thames & Hudson, 2011). He was the artistic director of GEO-graphics: A map of art practices in Africa, past and present, a major exhibition at the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels (2010). In 2015, a comprehensive retrospective exhibition of his work to date launched at Haus der Kunst in Munich and the Art Institute of Chicago, and was subsequently shown at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow.


Born in Tel Aviv in 1951, educated at the Jerusalem Academy of Art and later at the Architectural Association in London, Ron Arad co-founded with Caroline Thorman the design and production studio One Off in 1981 and later, in 1989, Ron Arad Associates architecture and design practice. In 2008 Ron Arad Architects was established alongside Ron Arad Associates.
From 1994 to 1999 he established the Ron Arad Studio, design and production unit in Como, Italy. He was Professor of Design Product at the Royal College of Art in London up until 2009. Ron Arad was awarded the 2011 London Design Week Medal for design excellence and was became a Royal Academician of the Royal Academy of Arts in 2013.
Ron Arad’s constant experimentation with the possibilities of materials such as steel, aluminium or polyamide and his radical re-conception of the form and structure of furniture has put him at the forefront of contemporary design and architecture.
Alongside his limited edition studio work, Arad designs for many leading international companies including Kartell, Vitra, Moroso, Fiam, Driade, Alessi, Cappellini, Cassina, WMF and Magis among many others.
Ron Arad has designed a number of Public Art pieces, most recently the Vortext in Seoul, Korea, and the Kesher Sculpture at Tel Aviv University.