ArchDaily is pleased to present the first and second prize winners of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial Competition. The first prize was awarded to the proposal, “Fractured Landscapes” by Patrick Lausell and Paola Marquez, of Somerville, Mass. The second prize winner, SAYA, submitted a proposal entitled “Fields of Memory.” Both projects received high esteem from the judges. The jury included Daniel Libeskind, Richard Meier, Michael Berenbaum, Clifford Chanin, Wendy Evans Joseph, and James E. Young and selected from 712 proposals from 55 countries. More on both projects after the break.
“Fractured Landscapes” was submitted by Columbia University School of Architecture students, Patrick Lausell and Paola Marquez. The text accompanying the proposal described the memorial as a “fractured landscape and a river of light that stitch together disjointed surfaces, expressing our hopes for peace.” The design resembles a broken and disjoined boardwalk, reassembled by a bright light that runs the length of the memorial.
It is an extension of the boardwalk itself; James E. Young, one of the judges, described it as a reflection of something broken within all of us, “subtle and powerful at the same time, it takes you off the Boardwalk and leaves you on the Boardwalk.” The fruition of the concept into a built intervention in Atlantic City is still a way off. Although the project has won the competition, it will need to presented to other agencies and go through “evolutionary back-and-forth” between other architects, says Memorial Chairman Rabbi Gordon Geller.
“Fields of Memory” by Jerusalem-based architects SAYA, is an urban garden of light stalks that sway with the wind and emit soft flute-like sounds. The design is raised on a wooden deck above the level of the boardwalk and relates to the sea-grass situated between the boardwalk and the ocean. The concept of the light stalks derive from a biblical story of Shibboleth (Judges 12, 5-6) that has become a synonym for hatred based on an ethnic and cultural base. Its presence on the boardwalk as a memorial to the events it recognizes commemorates the loss of millions, and through their own collective nature emphasize this memory through eternal lights that they emit.
SAYA’s design proposal recognizes the need to commemorate loss by binding it with the present by situating seating and gathering areas to face the boardwalk rather than the ocean. The reflection of those that will visit the memorial will always look out into the present activities of life on the boardwalk as a reminder of perseverance and that grief and memory are inseparable from life. A low reflecting pool at the center of the memorial also creates a focal point for gathering, holding ceremonies, and laying pebbles as an act of grief. It reflects the visitors during the day and the stalks during the night.