The Park of Reconciliation
Gardens of Europe Foundation in Oświęcim
Competition for the Park of Reconciliation, design (2005)
Honourable Mention: James Quinton, with graphic help from Sarah May
Designe a PARK… on the right side of the river Soła, opposite to the area of the former Death Camp Auschwitz – Birkenau in Oświęcim
Designe a SYMBOL… a symbol of memory of those who suffered and were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp.
A symbol of reconciliation of the taking part in the Second World War nations.
A symbol of universal values such as goodness, love, forgiveness
…Design the SYMBOL – the PARK OF RECONCILIATION
Overview of Design, with Camp in the background.
Responce to brief:
Symbolism – The notion that architects/landscape architects can create strong symbols such as justice, love, compassion and reconciliation presumes a considerable amount of faith. This brief asks for such symbolism in the threshold of Auschwitz concentration camp; death and injustice incarnate.
Instead of ignoring the camp, and then constructing the grounds for the creation of positive symbols, this design attempts to deal with the camp directly. Using Plato’s idea of ‘negation of negation’ we may unearth a design that is ideologically positive. The ghost/blueprint of the camp is taken and then traced. The lines of the camp are then extruded. This is the negative space of the camp. The void where the buildings are not. These lines are transformed into the most suitable position; the disused, gravel infested section adjacent to the camp.
The lines become rows of living, breathing creepers that grow on wire. Our creepers grow by tentacles signifying the flow on effect of compassion and empathy. Left alone, they will grow horizontally to make ground cover. In autumn and spring the lines turn a brilliant red.
Design acknowledges Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial in Berlin
Sapling nursery – in the initial stages of design construction a small nursery (located in or near the camp) will be in operation. Saplings may be local or donated by countries from around Europe. Visitors to Birkenau Museum, people from all around the world, and local school children are encouraged to select their own saplings. The sapling symbolizes fragility and rebirth. From the nursery visitors carry their sapling over the bridge across the River Sola in an act of cleansing. The ground within the site is prepared for planting. Over time the trees mature and take on a life of their own; a metaphor for the triumph of life over death.