Tsunami Memorial / VeeV Design

Tsunami Memorial / VeeV Design
Night approach from Land © VeeV Design

For their competition design for the Tsunami Memorial, VeeV Design has blended the built and natural environments to produce a reflective atmosphere. Contrasting the horrific magnitude of the tsunami, the memorial provides a calming essence for those who visit. “We intentionally propose a gentle recasting of memorial conventions: discrete sites of contemplation modestly submit to the power of the land itself,” explained the architects.

More about the proposal after the break.

The project takes advantage of the entire site as paths provide a public network system within the National Park and weave organically about the forested surroundings. While some paths allow visitors to experience nature unfolding at each turn, other paths lead visitors to small outdoor rooms –  the perfect place to calmly reflect and remember.

Paths and Trails Diagram © VeeV Design

These recitation rooms are constructed of translucent concrete embedded with matrices of optical fibers. These pixilated light patterns create a text recording the date and time of the catastrophe in thirty-eight languages spoken by people whose lives were affected by this disaster and who joined together in the humanitarian effort. Together they form a path that connects the land to the Andaman Sea.

Site Axonometric © VeeV Design

The museum building aims to minimize the effect of the built upon the surrounding environment so it seems to blend in with its wild surroundings. It floating aesthetic makes the building “inconspicuous amongst its natural surroundings.”  Comprised of two main structure elements – the steel lattice structures which “emulate the immediate surrounding landscape “ and a bridge-like box enclosure which holds all the programmatic spaces – the museum building connects the different programmatic elements by ramps and walkways.

Longitudinal Section © VeeV Design

“Using a digital tool to record wind direction, wind load, and rainfall, the microclimate not only informs the orientation and placement of the architecture, but also it is registered onto the outer lattices, woven more densely where more stress is put on the surface. The roof surfaces of the inner bridge-like box enclosure visually register the amount of rainfall through surface deformation experienced both from inside and outside. This topological deformation further expresses the special conditions of its natural setting, recording in its form and on its surface the pressures, stresses, and strains of wind and rain, those natural forces that constantly act upon buildings.”

Section through Lattice © VeeV Design

“The surface wrinkles and warbles, making art of erosion, reminding us of its awesome power and the human predicament and paradox of honoring nature, fighting nature, and forgetting and finding ourselves in it,” explained the architects.

“In contrast to the magnitude and monumentality of the catastrophe, the proposal seeks a humble state of recognition. Through direct empirical discovery of the self in nature, the path reveals both the horrors of natural catastrophe and the immeasurable humanitarian effort in the aftermath,” concluded VeeV.

Elevation © VeeV Design

Check out VeeV’s Field Rupture previously featured on ArchDaily.


VeeV (Raveevarn Choksombatchai) in collaboration with architecture historian, Andrew Shanken (architectural historian)

Assistant Designers:

Will Oren, Suthida Cheunkarndee, Dong Suh

Engineering Team: Ove Arup, San Francisco, California, USA: Eric Ko, Principal Structural Engineer, Lawrence Chambers, Associate Principal Structural Engineer, Reid Senescu, Structural Engineer, Mechanical Engineering: Peter Alspach, Associate Principal, Mechanical Engineer Environmental Engineer, Maurya McClintock, Associate Principal, Facade Engineer/Sustainable Assessment

Museum Specialist: Ann Frank Farrington, Museum and Exhibition Specialist

Local Architects/Engineers: Plan Architect Co., Ltd., Bangkok, Thailand: Sinn Phonghanyudh, Project Manager, Suchart Bhaeddee, Tearnchit Soontornsaratoon

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About this author
Cite: Karen Cilento. "Tsunami Memorial / VeeV Design" 20 Jul 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/69526/tsunami-memorial-veev-design> ISSN 0719-8884

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