THE LAST GENOCIDE MEMORIAL
Newport Beach - USA 2021
Little Diversified Architectural Consulting
Michael Ledbetter, Meghana Jashi, Emira Shojaei, Alireza Fatemi
HOW IT WORKS
The sphere is made up of a series of layers connected to a main central column. Each layer will be roughly 7.5cm thick and will be comprised of layers of glass holding a solution of water and bioluminescent micro-algae. Along the edge of each layer, there will be memorial text sandwiched between two layers of the translucent acrylic panel (3Form KodaXT). The memorial text will provide visitors with the information for all of the genocides to be documented. Along with each text string, a QR code will be included that links visitors to the website for that particular genocide (where applicable) and that specific genocide’s memorial (where applicable). Our research has shown us that there are many memorials to genocide throughout the world and we think this monument can help people connect to all of those virtually and perhaps encourage visitors to this memorial to go out into other parts of the world and visit other memorials to genocides throughout history.
INTERACTIVE WITH A PURPOSE
Genocides by their very nature look to erase, to take away from the whole. As this memorial looks to a future where we have seen the Last Genocide, we feel strongly that the monument itself should give back to the world around it. It should be interactive, sustainable, and regenerative wherever possible. We want the monument to bring life back to the earth, in a spiritual sense to begin (in some small way) to replenish what genocide has taken away forever.
Generate an Audience: We want every element in this project to invite people in and to stay awhile. We want it to be highly visible for vehicular traffic on Queen’s Street, catching their eye as they pass and imploring them to come to visit the site and explore. We want it to be visually striking so park visitors moving through the surrounding park amenities during the day will naturally want to go investigate. We want it to be just as enticing at night as it is during the day. The more people that are drawn to the monument, the bigger the impact it can have, the more lives it can touch.
Generate power for monument use: We have outlined several ways that the monument structures can generate their own power for use running lights, speakers, and the water feature.
The layers themselves will be connected around a central column and will spin independently of one another. Visitors will be able to reach out and spin the layer(s) around like giant horizontal wheels as they read the text strings. The layers will be wired to a generator and a battery. As each layer is spun, it will generate electricity. The electricity will be stored onsite and used to power various aspects of the monument.
The paving surrounding the sphere, including the stairs and upper plaza will be a new kind of technology (Pavegen) that utilizes tiles engineered to capture and generate electricity from the footsteps of pedestrians visiting the monument and walking around. The more people we can get to visit the memorial, the more power it will generate.
The south sides of the retaining wall will function as a “Solar Wall.” Photovoltaic glass panels will be pin mounted to a simple concrete retaining wall separating the upper plaza from the lower plaza. The solar wall will capture sunshine throughout the day whenever possible. In addition, the panels themselves can be different shades of grey to create a visually interesting pattern across the south elevation, adding interest from greater distances and multiple perspectives.
A PLACE FOR HEALING
We think this memorial can also serve as a place of healing for those visitors that have been directly affected by genocide. Everyone views genocide through their own specific lens, but if you have family or are directly connected to a community that has lost multitudes because of genocide then you will enter the memorial with a certain kind of lens and be affected in different ways than those visitors who cannot relate on such a deep, personal level.
To maximize the interactive experience, speakers will be placed around the central plaza space, both upper and lower, and soft music will play utilizing the Solfeggio frequencies. These frequencies have been scientifically proven to have profound mental, emotional, and physical effects.
This is a memorial and a monument, but it sits in a large park surrounded by nature, so it is also a garden. We have selected one type of tree to be the guardian of this garden. The Ginkgo Biloba is a singular tree species that outlived the dinosaurs. It has been a resident of this planet long before humans showed up and it is now an endangered species, hard to find growing in the wild anywhere. Across its long history, it’s been used for healing in multiple ways and modern medicine continues to find new health benefits of ginkgo. As an added bonus, the trees turn bright yellow in fall and will create a singular, eye-catching setting every year that will be another reason to draw crowds before winter really sets in.
Water is a blessing and a rebirth. The sphere and connecting algae bridge will be part of an interactive water feature at the heart of the monument. The sphere itself will rest in a shallow pool of water that will extend back under the bridge and it appears to cantilever out towards the sphere and provide access to the upper layers. Water will cascade off the sides of the algae bridge to create a rain curtain on either side for the spectators in the lower plaza. The sound of water will only add to the soothing aura of this place, masking the sound from nearby traffic, and encouraging silence from visitors as they explore the layers of the sphere and engage with it in different ways. Water within the sphere will function under two circumstances. When the layers are out of pure alignment, bubblers will operate within the sphere, near the base of the structure. When all the layers of the sphere are aligned, and the void is centered facing the lower plaza, water will spill into the void from the center layers, pooling at the bottom of the void and spilling over a gentle weir. Water is a spiritual element and has some function in nearly every human religion. It is a source of life and of renewal. Because we are encouraging visitors to reach out and touch the sphere, to push and pull its layers, we think it only natural that when the sphere is aligned and water is spilling from the void, visitors may be inspired to place two hands under the running water and splash their face in an act of rebirth. We also envision the sphere being approached by multiple people engaging multiple layers simultaneously. In these moments, if the groups want to see all the layers aligned, they will have to work together to make the sphere whole again. And when they work together, they will be rewarded to see water starting to fill the void and spill over the front weir. We think this is a perfect metaphor for how mankind will have to work together to rid civilization of the atrocity we call genocide.