Maiden Memorial Competition


Winning entry by MIstudio

 

The demonstrations in Kiev in 2013-14, which led to the fall of the Russian-friendly Yanukovych regime, cannot be completely understood without knowledge of the history of the the Ukraine, its people and culture. Let it suffice to say that the Ukranians, who speak their own Slavic language, have gravitated toward western Europe, especially culturally, ever since the middle ages.

 

As Europe’s breadbasket in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Ukraine’s troubled relationship as a region within the Soviet Union after 1918 was exacerbated by the Stalin purges and grain export controls leading to the deadly famine of the 1930s (See our coverage of the Holomodor Memorial competition in Washington, DC. commemorating the deaths of millions in the Ukraine during this period: https://competitions.org/2016/11/national-holomodor-memorial/)

 


Maiden Square

 

After WWII, Soviet party official Nikita Khrushchev encouraged the expansion of the eastern borders of the Ukraine into Russian speaking areas, even including the Crimea, and further diluting the administrative influence of Ukrainian identity and language throughout the region. This demarcation continued with what became the Russian Federation after the disolution of the Soviet Union in 1989, with the eastern, Russian-speaking part of the Ukraine and the Crimea remaining as part of a new, independent Ukraine.

 

Thus, when the Ukraine began negotiations with the EU in 2012 to integrate its economy with the west, the head of the Ukrainian government from the Russian-speaking eastern part of the country, President Yanukovych, attempted to torpedo the negotiations by signing a separate trade agreement with the Russians. Pulling back from a former guarantee to become part of the EU economy inflamed tensions, leading to demonstrations in the capital of Kiev, a crackdown by the authorities, and the ultimate deaths of at least 60 demonstrators. With the removal of the pro-Putin regime, a new, western-oriented government took control, and tensions have escalated vis-à-vis the Russian Federation. Against this background it was decided to establish a memorial, honoring those victims at the main site of the protests on Maiden (Independence) Square.

 

It was only logical that a competition should be the focus of a selection process for the design of the site. For this, Ukrainian authorities turned to the Berlin consulting firm of [phase eins], with its wide-ranging international experience, to administer the competition.

 

The stated aims of the competition were:

• To work-out the project proposal for the memorial of Heavenly Hundred Heroes

• To work-out the project proposal for the building of Museum of Revolution of Dignity that has to include the museum and culture-educational functions

• To work-out the public space as a part of memorial-museum complex

 

Jury panel:

Architect Jurors

Julian Chaplynskyy
Chief Architect Lviv (Lviv, Ukraine)

Guido Hager
Landscape Architect, Hager Partner (Zurich, Switzerland)

Prof. Rainer Mahlamäki
Architect, Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Oy (Helsinki, Finland)

Maciej Miłobędzki
Architect, JEMS Architekci (Warsaw, Poland)

Prof. Matthias Sauerbruch
Architect, Sauerbruch Hutton Architekten (Berlin, Germany)

Olexander Svystunov
Chief Architect Kiev (Kiev, Ukraine)

Prof. Can Togay
Artist, Filmmaker, Writer (Berlin, Germany)

Dmytro Volyk
Chief Architect Dnipro (Dnipro, Ukraine)

General Jurors

Eugen Nyschuk
Minister of Culture of Ukraine (Kiev, Ukraine)

Volodymyr Bondarchuk
Chief of the NGO “Families of Heavenly Hundred Heroes” (Kiev, Ukraine)

Ihor Poshyvailo
CEO of the state organization “National memorial complex of Heavenly Hundred Heroes –

Myroslav Marynovych
Human rights activist, publicist, vice-rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University (Lviv, Ukraine) Museum of Revolution of Dignity” (Kiev, Ukraine)

Elaine Heumann Gurian
Museum consultant (Arlington, USA)

 

With the extraordinary detailed jury comments about the three competition finalists and their ranking (below), there was little reason for us, as editors, to comment on the ultimate selection criteria, which led to the choice of the ultimate winner. But it should come as no surprise that several of the finalists included typical generic solutions, with a wall being the most prominent design element among those.

 

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Recent Archive Updates

Interview: James Mary O’Connor FAIA (Winter 2017)

After receiving his Diploma in Architecture from the Dublin Institute of Technology and BS in Architecture from Trinity College in Dublin, James received his Masters in Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles while a Fulbright Scholar in the U.S. Shortly after his time as a student in Charles Moore’s Master Class at UCLA, he joined the Moore firm in Los Angeles, now Moore Ruble Yudell. Beginning in the late 1980s, he was involved in the firm’s many projects in Germany, many of which dealt with masterplanning and the construction of large housing, primarily in Berlin. Subsequently, he was involved in the Potatisåkern Master Plan & Housing, as well as the Bo01 Housing Exhibition, both in Malmö, Sweden.
James was MRY’s point person in its subsequent involvement with the firm’s many projects in the People’s Republic of China, beginning with their winning competition proposal for the Century Center project in Beijing. Although unbuilt, it didn’t escape the notice of the Chinese, who invited the firm to participate in a competition for the Tianjin Xin-He large neighborhood masterplan—which they won. This was followed by the 2004 Chun Sen Bi An Housing Masterplan competition in the city of Chongqing, located in central China—completed in 2010. This high profile project resulted in a number of affordable and high-end housing projects throughout China. The firm’s most remarkable sustainability project was the COFCO Agricultural Eco-Valley Master Plan project outside Beijing, envisioned to become the first net zero-carbon project of its kind in the world.
In the meantime, the firm’s focus in China has evolved from its concentration on housing to institutional projects, such as the Shanghai University of Technology‘s research buildings. In the meantime MRY has been noted as a leader in the design of campus projects in the U.S. and abroad, as well as numerous government projects—courthouses and embassies.

 

 

Interview: Weiss Manfredi Architects (Spring 2003)

BB.Opening Day
Seattle Olympia Park Sculpture Gardens - opening day (photo: Ben Benschneider)
SG 1


COMPETITIONS: What were the main program challenges you had to solve in designing the Seattle Sculpture Park? The project is now in the development phase
(2003); so has your approach changed somewhat, or are you sticking pretty much to your original plan?

 

WEISS: We invested an enormous amount of time exploring a number of strategies. We ultimately focused on a strategy of inventing an entirely new topography, wandering from the city to the water’s edge, over highway and train tracks. That proved to be a rather supple strategy. In fact, the current design right now is very much an elaboration of that scheme, but with a more richly developed palate, with landscape, urban, infra- structural, architectural, artistic agendas shaping it.

 

MANFREDI: The scheme was resilient enough, partially because the proposition of building a sculpture park in an urban setting had no models that we could fall back on. So we did look at a very large range of ways to envision the site. We talked to many artists and sculptors about what would constitute an interesting and dynamic sculpture park. A lot of adjustments went on prior to legally receiving the contract. But the scheme was ultimately able to undergo change without being radically different.

 


Original schematic proposal: Olympia Park Sculpture Gardens


 

WEISS: The strategy itself is incredibly simple on one level. The strategy can be drawn with one hand. That kind of clarity on one level has been able to accommodate a number of adjustments and change—the just right 20’6” clearance for the federal highway, the 23’6” clearance over the train tracks , etc; very approximate assumptions become more definite in development.



COMPETITIONS: To what extent do you want to be intrusive in designing this Seattle landscape, and to what extent do you want the sculpture in the landscape to do the talking?

 

MANFREDI: The thing about this site is that there is nothing natural there. It is actually a brownfield site, which has been excavated. What fascinates us is the opportunity to rethink what an artificial landscape might be; we don’t have the usual split between what is natural and what is artificial. This is all an artificial landscape within a very interesting city with topography, train tracks, a shoreline with boats—this is about as artificial as you can get. Everything is invented; so that kind of schism isn’t present on this site.

 

WEISS: In this case, one has to think of the landscape as a kind of partner for art. Here the surrounding itself is so much larger than the site with the views to the south of the city and the views to the north of the water and mountains. The site feels as large as the sound or as large as the city. We create a brand new topography, which navigates that forty-foot drop from the city to the water’s edge. If it were just a flat landscape, it would be a pretty uninteresting setting for art. So we have hyper-articulated the ups and the downs within certain areas, whereas the primary armature is very gentle over a slow path. If anything, we wanted to heighten the understanding of where it is highly topographically charged, and where it is neutral. So really it is both.

 

COMPETITIONS: The Olympia Fields Park competition was undoubtedly a milestone event, which opened a lot of doors for you. What prepared you for winning that competition?

 

MANFREDI: This sounds like a glib answer, but I think that a little naiveté helped. We always enter a competition with a little bit of innocence and a very high degree of optimism. Those are some of the virtues that still sustain us as we take on other competitions. If you have an optimistic frame of mind, you can be freer to propose solutions that you otherwise might be concerned about, given the program, site, or jury. You have to be somewhat fearless about that and have a certain amount of optimism and innocence.

 

WEISS: We actually initiated our practice by collaborating on a couple of pro bono projects in Harlem—one for a school community center, the other for low-income housing. I think what drew us together initially as architects was the conviction that architecture should be taking place in the public realm, where funding is so often elusive.

   What prepared us to win may be harder to answer than what prepared us to enter
(Olympia Fields). What made that interesting was that it was asking how to create a center or a ‘there, there’ in an undifferentiated suburban landscape, a realm that didn’t have a common ground. The Olympia Fields project was clearly one which had a strategic budget. But they had very real resources to realize the client’s aspirations—to create a center where there had not been one for the community. It was interesting because it involved architecture and landscape; engineering and art.

 

MANFREDI: When you enter a competition, it has to ask the kind of question that is inherently fascinating. The competition for Olympia Fields asked not only social and formal questions, but posited the opportunity to explore a whole range of disciplines that are often segregated—like landscape architecture and ecology, architecture and civil engineering.

 

COMPETITIONS: The Olympia Fields site was very compact for a park. The space between the buildings on one end and the beginning of the terraced activities areas is separated by a depression in the landscape which leaves the viewer with the impression of the space being larger than it actually is. This is an old trick employed by landscape architects. Since you are both architects, not landscape architects; I wondered if this was a calculated gesture on your part?

OF Entry 2
The American Green - Olympia Fields Mitchell Park Competition board  (courtesy: Weiss Manfredi Architects)

SCANTIME: 12/18/95 MODTIME: 2/6/40 MEDIATYPE: 052/55 SPD 0000  #00 SCANNERVENDOR: KODAK SCANNERPRODID: FilmScanner 2000 SCANNERFIRMREV: 3.56 SCANNERSERIAL: 0242 PIW: Eastman Kodak PHOTOFINISHER: ROBIN IMAGING
View to Mitchell Park entrance with meeting facilities (left) and administrative offices (right) Photo: Paul Warchol

WEISS: That touches on the observation that Michael made earlier about our frustration with these disciplinary boundaries—they’re really just administrative boundaries. Who is to say that a landscape architect might not have profound views about making architecture? Similarly, why shouldn’t an architect have views about what it takes to make a setting for architecture? Our background is such that we grew up in environments where the landscape was in many ways formative to our understanding of what we loved about architecture—Michael came from Italy, Rome to be precise; I grew up in northern California, in the apricot orchard district in the hills. In all cases the architecture was a participant, in a much larger landscape or setting, but never the sole presence. All of those have been about shaping settings as well as shaping buildings. You can say that it is the purview of the landscape architect in the traditional sense; but arguably, I think we have been keen on straddling a whole series of disciplines.

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