Room of empathy: constriction

Room of empathy: memory

Room of empathy: layers

Room of empathy: awareness

BABYN YAR HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL CENTER  

a landscape palimpsest

The project of the park and the public spaces moves from the interpretation of the landscape layers. The Babyn Yar area is the result of a process of accumulation and modification, where the historical traces are now invisible. Culture, history, population, landscape and topography merge to create the singularity of the area.

The semiology of the landscape builds the framework of the project. The landscape is a palimpsest, that has to be re-written and re-invented, revealing the unique identity of the place. For this purpose, the outdoor spaces become important tools to pass on the story of the historical tragedy, but also to learn and discover the past as the only way to bring memory to future generations.

Babyn Yar merges in and around the landscape, so that the different layers align into one experience of multiple levels. The design for the new open spaces embraces this idea of layers and adopts it as the design method. The landscape project is therefore divided into different components: the ravine markers, the Jewish cemetery, the memorial site walks and the experience rooms.

Ravine – Topography of the Past
The first layer is the natural terrain of the ravine. Stage of a story of sorrow, the ravine has been misused for the killing and disappearance of thousands of people. Topographical and geomorphological changes deeply marked the area, nowadays completely unrecognisable. Acting as an additional layer, punctual markers make the old vast terrain visible and readable again. The markers, made of red stone sticks, will be installed like a grid on the existing surface. Creating a new gentle field, they give the visitors a hint on the historical ground performance and foster a joint narrative between past and present.

The whole area of the ravine crosses the main important spots of the project and its surroundings: the National Historical Memorial Reserve Babyn Yar, the Babyn Yar children memorial, the Alley of Martyrs, the area of the massacre, the new Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, the Jewish cemetery are all connected by the sign of the ravine, a new all-encompassing riverbed.

project:     Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center competition

location:    Kyev, Ukraine

status:        international two phases closed competition - finalist

with:          Richter Musikowski Architekten, ARUP

year:          2019