Last week, New York–based Studio Libeskind officially inaugurated the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa, Canada. Built on a 34,400-square-foot lot at the corner of Booth and Wellington Streets, across from the Canadian War Museum, the monument is made of triangular, cast-in-place concrete planes that, in plan, resemble a six-pointed star.
Two different ground planes, create two paths, one ascending and one descending. The descending path leads visitors to the monument's interior spaces, and the other symbolically "points to the future," the architects said in a release. The Stair of Hope ascends from the monument's core open space, cuts through a diagonal wall, and creates an outdoor viewing area looking towards Ottawa's Parliament Hill.
Inside, each of the six triangles provide space for various activities and programs, including "the interpretation space that features the Canadian history of the Holocaust; three individual contemplation spaces; a large central gathering and orientation space; and the towering Sky Void that features the eternal Flame of Remembrance, a 13-foot-tall form that encloses the visitor in a cathedral-like space and frames the sky from above," according to the architects' release. Monochromatic murals based on photographs by Toronto-based photographer Edward Burtynsky depicting present day conditions at Holocaust sites cover walls in each of the six spaces.
After winning the international competition to design the National Holocaust Monument in 2014, Studio Libeskind, together with Lord Cultural Resources, Edward Burtynsky, landscape architect Claude Cormier, and Holocaust scholar Doris Bergen were selected, from six finalist teams, to undertake the project. This is not the first time that Studio Libeskind has designed a Holocaust memorial: Previously, the firm completed the Jewish Museum Berlin and Ohio Statehouse Holocaust Memorial in Columbus. It is currently designing the Names Monument which is scheduled to break ground early next year in Amsterdam.