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  5. SET Architects
  6. 2016
  7. Bologna Shoah Memorial / SET

Bologna Shoah Memorial / SET

  • 13:00 - 20 February, 2016
Bologna Shoah Memorial / SET
Bologna Shoah Memorial / SET, © Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi

© Simone Bossi © Simone Bossi © Simone Bossi © Simone Bossi +24

  • Architects

  • Location

    Via dè Carracci, Bologna, Italy
  • Design Team

    Lorenzo Catena, Chiara Cucina, Onorato di Manno, Andrea Tanci
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

  • Structural engineering

    Proges Engineering - Ing. Andrea Imbrenda
  • General Contractor

    Sì Produzioni
  • Metalworking

    Officina Paolo Cocchi
  • Paving

    Edil Nuova S.A.S.
  • Lighting

  • Model

    Francisco Muñoz Albarracín
  • Client

    Comunità Ebraica di Bologna
  • Video

    ©Visual Lab + Sì Produzioni
  • More SpecsLess Specs
© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi

From the architect. One year after the launch of the international competition for the realization of the Bologna Shoah Memorial, Rome-based office SET Architects, winner according to the jury presided over by Peter Eisenman, delivers the Memorial on January 27th, 2016 – to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi
Site Plan
Site Plan

Built in less than two months, the Memorial is a recognizable landmark of great emotional power. It is located at the intersection of Via dé Carracci and Ponte Matteotti, a city square encompassed by the newly- installed high-speed train station of Bologna. This area is primed to become the new connective pole of the city. As such, the monument attracts passers-by, inviting them to reflect on the tragedy of the Holocaust. The Memorial is made up of two symmetrical cor-ten steel parallelepiped blocks of 10x10m each; the blocks sit adjacent to one another, perpendicular to the existing walls of the square. Their position converges to create a path, which begins with a width of 1.60m, drastically narrowing to just 80cm. The path generates an immediate feeling of oppression.

© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi

At the interior of the Memorial, the volumes present a grid of horizontal and vertical metal sheets which intersect at 90°, giving shape to a series of rectangular empty boxes of 1.80 x 1.25m – these boxes represent the cells of the dormitories in the concentration camps. The exterior façade of the Memorial overlooks the city, resembling a blank page – perhaps it is of a history yet to be written? And, along the perimeter of the cells, slight steel protrusions symbolize feelings of contemporary awareness. The choice of cor-ten steel is deliberate: it is a material that will naturally rust when exposed to open air. As the years pass its corrosion will display the vestiges of time, demonstrating that all things have a rich history behind them. The paving of the path between the two blocks is realized in ballast, basalt stone chippings typical of the roadbeds. This represents the Judenrampe (“ramp of the Jewish”), which was the name given to the trek prisoners made from Auschwitz I (Stammlager concentration camp) and Auschwitz II (Birkenau one).

© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi
Constructive System
Constructive System
© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi

The empty echoes of footsteps across the stones coupled with the restriction of the passage instills a keen sense of anguish: in this way the Memorial takes on life and evokes the drama of the memory. Further, light plays an essential role in the culmination of the monument. During daytime when the square is lit by sun’s rays, the passage becomes immersed in a dim, contemplative light, allowing the visitor to calmly reflect. Then at night, strategically placed artificial light illuminates the primary volumes, magnifing the majesty of the Memorial. In total, the Memorial, distinguished by its historical ambition, abandons rhetorical and didactic conventions in order to emphasize the importance of emotions: in this way SET Architects succeeded in designing a monument that utilizes present sensibility to narrate the past.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Bologna Shoah Memorial / SET" 20 Feb 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


meruj rabiei · March 24, 2016
meruj rabiei · March 24, 2016

The exact direction from the train station.

Fran · February 23, 2016

That's a sloppy concept aswell, along with the 1 project website.

JFC · February 23, 2016

Poor project execution but their website is really good, even if it was made only for this project.

memo · February 22, 2016

What is the purpose of this memorial? Are italians really at a point of forgeting about the Holocaust? Just for a change it would have been nice to come up with something that celebrates todays jewish culture instead of looking back at its defeat.

Roberto Sideris · February 21, 2016

This is a powerful piece of design and effectively communicates the feeling of being in Auschwitz (which I have visited) the dark colour of the sculpture and the height give it an imposing feeling similar to how I felt when walking within the gas chamber.

Croco Dile · February 22, 2016 06:30 AM

LOL at all what you wrote !

Croco Dile · February 20, 2016

Another one. People really needed this abstract thing !

Nicolò Zanatta · February 22, 2016 09:07 AM

Abstract? The central element clearly refers to the bunk beds where prisoners were forced to sleep. If you are unable to perceive this image, which is pretty straightforwardly evoked, I suggest getting off your high-horse and try giving a bit more thought to your comments. Your cynicism is becoming trite and stale very quickly.
Not that I consider this a masterpiece but your "critic" (and the comment that was canceled) is pointless and wrong.


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