Canada’s Department of National Heritage has announced the five finalists for the LGBTQ2+ National Monument competition, a project meant to tell the story of generations of people who have been persecuted, specifically during the LGBT Purge period. Among the shortlisted designs is The Lens, a proposal that turns a symbol of oppression into an identity element and uses the landscape to express the community’s reverberation into society. Designed by a team comprising Canadian office Fathom studio, MVRDV and Two Row Architect, the proposal seeks to express resiliency, creating a space for memorialization and education while providing an inclusive space for the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community.
Located on the banks of the Ottawa river and neighbouring the Parliament Buildings, the Monument and park honour the community’s resilience in the face of persecution. Between the 1950s and mid-1990s, the LGBT community has been systematically discriminated against, harassed, arrested and excluded from public service jobs in what became known as the “LGBT Purge”, affecting the lives of over 9000 people.
The design proposed by Fathom studio, MVRDV and Two Row Architect is a tilted circle with a triangle section, referencing the pink triangle once used as a persecution tool. The Monument generates “ripples” into the landscape, symbolizing the reverberations of the community’s agency. The site features granite walls and seating, providing moments of reflection and support for installations, while the landscape design incorporates native plant species, restoring local biodiversity.
For this National Monument, we have reclaimed the very lens that oppressed us to invite an outward view for community and belonging and carving a new space for the community to heal, reflect, and grow. Looking outward, the lens acknowledges that We have always existed within the monuments and institutions that surround us.- Margot Durling, creative director of Fathom Studio
The team is one of five finalists for the LGBTQ2+ National Monument, together with SOM, MASS Design Group, BBB architects Ottawa and Public City Architecture supported by visual artists and advisors. The competition has entered a public feedback phase, after which a winning proposal will be selected.
- Client: LGBT Purge Fund, National Capital Commision, Canadian Heritage
- Size and Programme: 6,300m2 - Public monument
- Architect: Team Durling (Fathom Studio, MVRDV, Two Row Architect)
- Visualisations: Antonio Luca Coco, Luana La Martina, Angelo La Delfa
- Strategy and Development: Alex Rodriguez
- Structural engineer: RJC Engineering
- Video: Mirror Image
- Animation: ANNIEM: Motion Design & Illustration