Diamond Schmitt shortlisted for design of new Holocaust Memorial in United Kingdom

Future site of Holocaust Memorial
Future site of Holocaust Memorial

Diamond Schmitt Architects has been shortlisted to design the new National Memorial to the Holocaust in London, England. The selected project will be constructed adjacent to the Houses of Parliament in Victoria Tower Gardens along the Thames River.

Ten design teams were chosen from almost 100 Expressions of Interest submitted for the Memorial and Learning Centre. Diamond Schmitt is the only shortlisted firm from Canada. Its team led by A.J. Diamond includes London-based landscape architects Martha Schwartz Partners and museum exhibition design firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates based in New York City.

The U.K. Holocaust Memorial Foundation (UKHMF) was set up by the British Government to implement recommendations made by the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission for a national memorial to the Holocaust and to include a significant learning centre. Following an extensive consultation and search for a site that included 50 locations in central London, the green space of Victoria Tower Gardens, in close proximity to a number of celebrated heritage listed buildings was selected. 

“The Memorial and Learning Centre will be specifically about the importance and relevance of the Holocaust to the United Kingdom, and the challenge for designers will be to think about how to create an original memorial that expresses the project’s design values, may have different aspects by day and night, and establishes an atmosphere or aura that prompts respect, reflection and active remembering,” said competition organizer Malcolm Reading Consultants Limited.  The project is estimated to cost up to £40m (CDN $66.5 million).

An exhibition of the finalists’ concept designs will be held in central London and locations around the U.K. starting this month. A high-profile independent jury of figures in British culture, architecture and religion will judge the submissions, including Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis.

The other shortlisted firms are Adjaye Associates (U.K.) with Ron Arad Architects; Allied Works (U.S.) with artist Robert Montgomery; Caruso St John (U.K.) with artist Rachel Whiteread; Foster + Partners (U.K.) with artist Michal Rovner; heneghan peng architects (IE) with multidisciplinary designers Bruce Mau Design; John McAslan + Partners (U.K.) with emerging U.S. practice MASS Design Group; Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects (FI) with U.K. based David Morley Architects; Studio Libeskind (U.S.) with emerging U.K. practice Haptic Architects; and Zaha Hadid Architects (U.K.) with artist Anish Kapoor.

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