Third Award | Cultural
Participant Name: Beomki Lee
University: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Country : United States
Challenging an archetypal relationship between collective memory and a multitude in traditional memorials, “MEmorial”, a new concept of memorial architecture, emphasizes a new relationship between individual memory and the individual based on the reinterpretation of Bergson’s thoughts on memory, in order to create a physical environment which offers a new way of experiencing memorial space to the individual.Our current paradigm of memorial architecture stems from a consideration of communal memory of events or figures only. This obelisk-like memorial architecture foregrounds a singular symbolic communal memory to a multitude and creates a unilateral relationship with a univocal characteristic, whereas MEmorial offers an experience of individual memories and memorial space for individuals and generates reciprocal relationships with multi-vocal nature. Furthermore, the focusing only on communal memory in contemporary architectural practice drives immediate curtailment into a single image or rendering. This present memorial architecture misses opportunities for deeper exploration and experience of memorial spaces for individuals beyond the simple representation of memorializing events or figures.
A target for this thesis project is every individual including victims. MEmorial will serve as a space not only for soothing every victim’s wounded heart but also for letting people experience and memorialize individual memories in order to convey the memory of the event to future generations. The tsunami on March 11 in 2011, which damaged the Tohoku region in Japan, has been one of the most devastating catastrophes in history. Over ten thousand people lost their lives, and millions evacuated their homes.Three years after the tragedy, this project is proposing a memorial architecture for the 3.11 Japan tsunami victims in Sendai, which is the biggest city in the Tohoku region. In spite of the fact that the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 left a trail of casualties, there have been only temporary memorial observances in Japan. The Sendai coastal area has been divided into four regions for restoration. Among these four regions, a site for this thesis project is in the middle of the region that has been designated as ‘Seaside exchange/revitalization zone’, planned as coastal parks and memorial facilities with beautiful landscapes.
When we take a closer look at the site, it is full of memories. Numerous foundations of the housing of the past remain, extending over several kilometers on the site. These remnants become spots for offering individual memorial spaces. This thesis project is proposing three MEmorials with different spatial concepts. Each of them has been considered according to different current physical conditions. These three MEmorials function as a starting point for this open ended project.
These three MEmorials are designed for different types of individual architectural experiences: through air, earth, and water. Architectural-ized space to create a new relationship between individual memory and the individual is projected into air, earth, and above water, and lets the individual have novel experiences in each MEmorial. The opportunities for personal reflection will be presented by a mirror-polished stainless steel roof and transparent glass floor. Every individual can experience and perpetuate temporality from the past to the present through reflected overlapping spaces including himself or herself.