National Holomodor Memorial

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All photos © Larysa Kurylas
Washington, DC (dedicated November 7, 2015)

 

The Holodomor Memorial competition, held in 2011 in Washington, DC, was covered by this author in an Ezine from January 7, 2012 (http://competitions.org/2012/01/the-holodomor-memorial-competition-commemorating-ukrainian-famine-victims-under-communist-rule/?preview_id=17540&preview_nonce=ad77b76eb3&_thumbnail_id=-1&preview=true). Completed in 2015, and taking a symbolic page from Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Mall, it commemorates those Ukranians who perished during the Stalin-era collectivization of agriculture in the Ukraine. Contrary to the Vietnam Memorial, there would have been no opportunity to list the million or so victims of that tragedy on this memorial. Across from Union Station, this high visibility site will provide not only a place of contemplation for victims’ families, but provide many visitors with a quick flashback to one of the world’s worst examples of genocide. –Ed.

 

DESIGN STATEMENT

Larysa Kurylas, Design Architect & Sculptor

“FAMINE-GENOCIDE IN UKRAINE: IN MEMORY OF THE MILLIONS OF INNOCENT

VICTIMS OF A MAN-MADE FAMINE IN UKRAINE ENGINEERED AND IMPLEMENTED BY

STALIN’S TOTALITRIAN REGIME.”

 

Thus reads the dedication panel inscription on the Holodomor Memorial, recently completed in the heart of Washington, DC, to ensure that this horrendous but little known 1932-33 genocide is never forgotten . . . and never repeated anywhere in the world.

The focal point of the Holodomor Memorial is a bronze, bas-relief sculpture titled “Field of Wheat.” Wheat is the theme not only because its confiscation led to the death of millions of innocent Ukrainians, but also because wheat cultivation is one of the few things that Americans associate with Ukraine.

The bas-relief depicting the field of wheat is subtly perspectival. From left to right across 30 feet, highly articulated wheat heads and stalks initially project outward from the rectangular, bronze wall plane, then gradually recede into the wall and finally, as the recess steadily deepens on the right, fade away completely. “HOLODOMOR 1932 – 1933” emerges at the base of the receding wheat stalks.

The entire bronze wall rests on a granite plinth that deepens as the site slopes down to the west. Thus the dynamic, three-dimensional sculpture symbolizes transition from harvest bounty to food deprivation. The negative recessive space of the sculpture conveys the willfulness and cruelty of the famine, motivating viewers to contemplate the inhumanity of using wheat as a political weapon in what was once the “Breadbasket of Europe.” The sculpted “Field of Wheat” is within arms reach, encouraging personal, tactile engagement with the memorial through touching and burnishing of the bronze surfaces. The sculpted wall responds to the L’Enfant plan geometry of the site, reflecting the diagonal of Massachusetts Avenue and the grid of F Street, although the basrelief faces Massachusetts Avenue, the more important street. Being nearest to the triangular site’s widest, western end distances the sculpture from the busy, noisy convergence of North Capitol Street, Massachusetts Avenue and F Street, while framing a memorial plaza paved in furrowed slate with a linear texture evocative of barren plowed fields.

 

Because of the sculpture’s placement and low, horizontal profile, Massachusetts Avenue’s historic sight lines are preserved. This design strategy also ensures that the memorial is perceived as appropriately restrained in character. Granite panels attached to the back of the bronze sculpture face F Street and mediate between the Holodomor Memorial and sidewalk cafes across the street. A geometric pattern etched on the panels derives from a folk-inspired design by Vasyl Krychevsky in 1933. Abstractly suggesting barbed wire, the design symbolizes the attack on Ukrainian culture – a parallel goal of the Holodomor – and alludes to the Ukrainian border deliberately sealed by the government at the peak of the Holodomor.

A wide brick walkway connects the memorial plaza to the F Street sidewalk. Between the sidewalk and the wall, staggered native Forest Pansy purple-leafed redbud trees form a distinctive backdrop for the “Field of Wheat” sculpture. Two native types of Nandina Domestica shrubs, selected for hardiness and yearround visual appeal, are interspersed among the trees and occupy the rain garden -- designed to capture all storm water runoff -- at the western edge of the site. The shrubs’ white flowers and red berries are reminiscent of “kalyna,” so prominent in Ukrainian folklore.

In the positive-to-negative sculpting of the “Field of Wheat” and the composition of human-scale elements sweeping horizontally across the triangular site, the intent was to create a subtle yet powerful work of commemorative civic art in remembrance of the millions of victims who perished in the Holodomor. This evocative memorial enables contemplation by one person, a few individuals or a group of people. How inspiring it would be some night to see hundreds of flickering candles reflected on the wall, with a gathering of people solemnly singing “Vichnaya Pamyat” - “Eternal Memory.”

 

CREDITS Agency Sponsor: National Park Service

Memorial Sponsor: Government of Ukraine

Memorial Advisor: U.S. Committee for Ukrainian

Holodomor–Genocide Awareness, 1932-33

Architect-of-Record: Hartman-Cox Architects

Design Architect: The Kurylas Studio

Sculptors: Larysa Kurylas and Lawrence Welker IV

Foundry: Laran Bronze, Inc.

General Contractor: Forrester Construction Company

 

 

 

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Ukrainian Holodomor Memorial in Washington, DC

  NATIONAL HOLODOMOR MEMORIAL, Washington, DC (dedicated November 7, 2015) Photo: ©Larysa Kurylas   The Holodomor Memorial competition, held in 2011 in Washington, DC, was covered by this author in an Ezine from January 7, 2012 (http://competitions.org/2012/01/the-holodomor-memorial-competition-commemorating-ukrainian-famine-victims-under-communist-rule/?preview_id=17540&preview_nonce=ad77b76eb3&_thumbnail_id=-1&preview=true). Completed in 2015, and taking a symbolic page from Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Mall, it ... Read more...

Toronto Ferry Terminal Competition

 

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Winning entry courtesy: KPMB Architects + West 8 + Greenberg Consultants

 

Access from downtown Toronto to its waterfront has been an ongoing issue for the city fathers for the past decades. One of the major visual barriers to Lake Ontario is the Gardiner Expressway, just a few blocks from the waterfront and the subject of a 2010 competition. It was abandoned with no premiated designs and no indication of future solution. Participants in that competition were familiar faces: KPMB + Bjarke Ingels Group, Rem Koolhaas/OMA, James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro/ Architects Alliance, West 8 DTAH/Cecil Balmond AGU, and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (See: http://gardinereast.ca/design-ideas). Part of the problem with either burying the Gardiner or eliminating it altogether within the central core did not have so much to do with political will, but the lack of funding at the municipal level.

 

One piece of the puzzle has now been addressed—the ferry terminal on the waterfront and its environs. Although the site is confined to a relatively small area, the vision for rethinking the possibilities of making it more pedestrian and user-friendly have been the subject of a recent competition, with five invited firms vying for the opportunity to realize their proposals.

 

What made this competition so interesting were not only the challenges of packing a number of required elements into a relatively small site—without giving the impression of crowd congestion—but also the organized flow of several thousand departing (and arriving) passengers headed for offshore islands and other destinations on Lake Ontario. Combined with all that were the aesthetics—the visual impressions of arrival, departure and a park-like setting, as well as the location of the necessary terminal structure(s).

 

The competition itself was launched as an RfQ, with five shortlisted firms invited to present schemes in a single-stage competition. They were:

Stoss Landscape Urbanism (Boston) + nARCHITECTS (New York City) + ZAS

Architects (Toronto)

Clement Blanchet Architecture (Paris) + Batlle i Roig (Barcelona) + RVTR (Toronto and Ann Arbor) + Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc. (Toronto)

• Diller Scofidio+Renfro (New York City) + architectsAlliance (Toronto) + Hood Design (Emeryville, CA)

KPMB Architects (Toronto), West 8 (Rotterdam), Greenberg Consultants (Toronto)

Quadrangle Architects (Toronto), aLLDesign (London), Janet Rosenberg & Studio (Toronto)

 

 

The major departure features of all but one of the entries were the location of two-tier structures directly across from the ferry docks, with two having large canopies as shelter, and two providing rooftop parks with outlooks to the Lake. One of the latter was the winner of the competition, KPMB of Toronto with landscape architecture firm West 8 of Rotterdam and Greenberg Consultants (planning) of Toronto.

 

KPMB’s main entrance to the Ferry Terminal from Bay Street is a parklike entrance, creating a promenade eventually leading to an entrance to the processing area for passengers, with the option to climb up an elevated rooftop extension of the park where one finds a meandering pathway leading to a lookout area. From the eastern side, the path is also accessible from Yonge Street, also leading into the park. Parking is located under a hill in the park, with ticket processing and waiting areas for the boats located under the park extension canopy. The area to the west of the Terminal is a generous park area, which includes a slip for recreational craft.
KPMB’s meeting with planning and port authorities after winning the competition was instructional for the subject matter discussed: most of the emphasis concerned the ability of the facility to accommodate increasing numbers of visitors in the future. Aesthetics were a low priority in the discussion, an indication that financial issues were not a serious problem at this development stage of the process.

 

 

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Winning entry courtesy: KPMB Architects + West 8 + Greenberg Consultants

 

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Reichstag Visitors Center – Berlin/Tiergarten

 

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©Markus Bonauer/Michael Bölling, Berlin with capattistaubach Landschaftsarchitekten


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©Markus Schietsch Architekten GmbH mit Lorenz Engster Landschaftsarchitektur & Städtebau GmbH

 

After two rounds of judging, beginning with 187 entries from around the world, the jury reduced the number of competitors to 28 in the first round, then finally settled on two first-place finalists in the second stage, one of which will be commissioned to design the Center. (One may assume that the limited number of entries in such an important competition was limited by the fact that the competition language was held in German.) The building itself is not the only project element, as a tunnel linking the Visitors Center in the Tiergarten to the Reichstag also is an essential part of the plan. The total cost of the project to the government is to be limited to 150€M.

 

Winners (2)
Markus Bonauer/Michael Bölling, Berlin with capattistaubach Landschaftsarchitekten
Markus Schietsch, Zürich with Lorenz Eugster Landschaftsarchitektur & Städtebau GmbH

 

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Site plan ©Markus Bonauer/Michael Bölling, Berlin with capattistaubach Landschaftsarchitekten

 

 

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Site Plan ©Markus Schietsch Architekten GmbH mit Lorenz Engster Landschaftsarchitektur & Städtebau GmbH

 

Honorable Mentions (5)
• BGAA + FRPO Burgos & Garrido Arquitectos Asociados + FRPO Rodriguez & Oriol Arquitectos, Madrid (Spain) with VWA + UBERLAND, Vevey (Switzerland)
• bob-architektur BDA, Köln with FSWLA GmbH, Düsseldorf
• Henn GmbH, Berlin with Ingenieurgesellschaft BBP Bauconsulting mbH, Berlin
• Allmann Sattler Wappner Architekten GmbH, Munich with Schüller Landschaftsarchitekten, Munich
• ARGE KIM NALLEWEG Architekten und César Trujillo Moya, Berlin with TDB Landschaftsarchitektur Thomanek Duquesnoy Boemans Partnerschaft, Berlin

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Forest Green Rovers Stadium and Eco Park: Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK

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Images © Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects has won an invited international competition to design the Forest Green Rovers Stadium, part of an eco-friendly complex in Stroud, Gloucestershire. The competition was actually staged in three phases, with almost 50 firms from around the world participating in the first stage. After a jury shortlisted nine entries from the initial competition phase to participate in the next round, two teams, Zaha Hadid Architects and Glenn Howells Architects, both from the UK, were provided with an honorarium to fine-tune their designs in a third and final stage of the process. Two other firms AFL Architects (Manchester) and George King Architects (London) were “highly commended” on their designs.

Of special note was the emphasis placed on sustainability as illustrated by the extensive use of wood in the Zaha Hadid design, serving to underline the significant ecological nature of the project and the environment where it is to be located. Read more...

New Museum of London in West Smithfield

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© Stanton Williams / Asif Kahn (courtesy MRC)
The challenge to design a new Museum of London in a very traditional context did not deter some of Europe’s premier modernists from entering this competition. The prize was the conversion of a building in the West Smithfield area, intended to anchor an important cultural district in the city. The new museum, which has a £130-150m construction budget, will secure the future of a series of much-loved heritage buildings at West Smithfield, help regenerate this historic part of the City of London and re-launch the museum, which has seen its audiences soar in recent years. Whereas other major capitals may only have one museum of history, the Museum of London already exists in other locations in the city, most notably in the Square Mile and the Docklands. But establishing a new museum in another location only serves to illustrate the wealth of historical materials accessible to the museum in its archives.

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Latvian Museum of Modern Art Competition


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©Adjaye Associates (UK) with AB3D Images courtesy Malcolm Reading Consultants.


Poland and the Baltic states have been playing cultural catch-up with the rest of the world ever since the former gained their independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989. These have included several high-profile competitions for museums in Poland, but also interesting projects in Estonia. Now Latvia and Lithuania are saying that they too should also have modern art museums on par with those in western Europe and Scandinavia. In Latvia, a movement to establish a modern art museum dates back to the early decade of the 21st century. It was then in 2005 that the ABLV Charitable Foundation, established by a local bank, provided endowment funds for purchasing modern art for a museum. They were joined in the museum project by The Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation, which was founded with the purpose of promoting culture.


Finland has always had close times culturally to the Baltic States, especially to Estonia, and the recent Guggenheim competition there could hardly have gone unnoticed by its southern neighbors. So it should come as no surprise that the Latvian sponsors engaged Malcolm Reading Consultants, the Guggenheim competition adviser, to organize their competition for the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art in the nation’s capital, Riga. Contrary to the Guggenheim competition, this time the finalists were the result of a closed shortlisting process.
They were:

  • Adjaye Associates (UK) with AB3D
  • Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki (Finland) with MADE Arhitekti
  • Caruso St John Architects (UK) with Jaunromāns un Ābele
  • Henning Larsen Architects (Denmark) with MARK Arhitekti
  • Neutelings Riedijk Architects (Netherlands)
  • Sauerbruch Hutton (Germany) with Arhitekts Ingurds Lazdiņš
  • wHY Architecture (US) with Outofbox and ALPS

 

All of the shortlisted teams had at least some museum experience, and those having somewhat less exposure in this area could point to their expertise in a number of projects relating to the arts. Some had made their mark lately, most notably wHY architecture (US) and Lahdelma & Mahlamäki (Finnland), the latter having won the prestigious open competition for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. With the exception of Neutelings Riedijk Architects, all of the finalists included at least one local Latvian firm on their team. The ultimate competition winner, Adjaye Associates (UK), could bask in the huge amount of publicity generated by the September 2016 opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall in Washington D.C.


The competition in many ways resembled a linear exercise, mainly dictated by the site and program. In the end, Adjaye Associates very straightforward, logical approach to the program won the day for the London firm. Although there were not enough jury comments to suggest how the other finalist team(s) were ranked, only one, Sauerbruch Hutton, was given a “mention’, although it was not to be considered as a ranking.

The museum will be built as part of New Hanza City, a new district at a former railway goods station in a northern district of Riga. Comprising 24.5 hectares, the development also will inclulde offices, apartments, a hotel, a nursery school and a public garden.

 

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Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Headquarters

Rosa Luxemburg memorial
Rosa Luxemburg Memorial
by Mies van der Rohe

 

Background

 

Given the history of Rosa Luxemburg as a founder of the Spartacus Bund, a precursor to the German Communist Party, it would seem peculiar to many outside of Germany that a foundation bearing her name would be one of the largest in Germany. Rosa Luxemburg, although born in Poland, became famous during World War I in Berlin as an anti-war activist. She was murdered during the Communist uprising against the German government in 1919. In 1926, Mies van der Rohe was commissioned to design a monument commemorating her and Karl Liebknecht, co-founders of the Spartacus Bund (above). The monument was later demolished by the Nazis in 1935 and never rebuilt. One promising attempt to rebuild the memorial was abandoned when Mies withdrew his support for it—no doubt a product of the Cold War at the time—and Mies’s experiences with the McCarthy hearings at the Un- American Activities Committee.

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Interview: John McAslan (Winter 2003)

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COMPETITIONS: I am presently here in London to talk to my editor about a ‘how to’ book we are doing on competitions.

 

JOHN MCASLAN: And how not to do them, I hope.

 

COMPETITIONS: You're familiar with one of those?

 

JM: We recently did one—Middlesborough Town Hall. It caused a real furor here.

 

COMPETITIONS: Usually the RIBA competitions are well organized.


Science Center, Florida Southern College (1996-2001)

 

JM: This was an open, non-RIBA competition to re-market (rebuild) the Town Hall in Middlesborough, a town which had quite a good artistic tradition. About ten years ago they commissioned Claes Oldenburg to design a sculpture. There was also a competition for a museum there—which we didn't get. And then there was the competition for the Town Hall, where we got to the last six. It was chaotic, as to what was to be submitted. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, because the terms of reference weren't clear. And then there were long delays before the interviews. Finally we were asked to submit a tender(fee bid). But of the six tenders, only four arrived on time. Because of that, the two late tenderers were eliminated. I thought, 'well, you know you have to get them in on time.' But then one of the jurors walked out, because she thought it unfair that these two had been eliminated. Then it came out that they had opened the bids before the interviews took place.
We were only runners-up; but the whole thing has caused chaos because of the sloppiness with which the whole thing was organized. They should have selected the preferred team , then opened the bids.

   You asked about the RIBA competitions. We have won some and lost a some. But you can say that they are always immaculately organized—very transparent, no confusion over what is required when. If a competition is badly administered with lots of criticism,    it doesn't help at all, especially with funding.

 

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Science Center, Florida Southern College (1996-2001)   Lab interior (left) and model (right)

 

COMPETITIONS: You were recently in the Fresh Kills competition in the U.S.

 

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St. Hilda’s College, Oxford

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Image: ©Gort Scott; courtesy MRC

St Hilda’s College has selected Gort Scott to design a new £10m+ front-of-house development for its exceptional riverside site in the conclusion of the Redefining St Hilda’s invited design competition, organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants. St Hilda’s College was one of the original group of five women’s colleges founded at Oxford at the end of the nineteenth century. Since 2008, it has selected its undergraduates and graduates without regard to gender. St Hilda’s now has one of the highest proportions of international undergraduate students of any college within the University.

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