National Holocaust Monument
Landscape of Loss, Memory and Survival
Visible in the opening panorama are Edward Burtynsky’s large scale, monochromatic photographic landscapes; death camps, killing fields and forests. Painted with exacting detail on the concrete walls of each of the triangular spaces. These evocative murals aim to transport the visitor and create another dimension to the interior spaces of canted walls and labyrinth-like corridors.
The monument is located approximately 2 km west of Parliament Hill at 1918 Chaudiére Crossing the intersection of Booth and Wellington Streets. The design integrates architecture, landscape and art to interpret and communicate themes of hardship and suffering, while conveying a message of humanity's enduring strength and survival.
The interior of the monument features a large gathering area for commemorative and educational activities, an interpretive exhibit, and six murals depicting contemporary photographs of Holocaust sites. There is also a space for quiet reflection, as well as a terrace with views of Ottawa and Gatinéau.
The monument is organized with two physical ground planes that are differentiated by meaning: the ascending plane that points to the future; and the descending plane that leads visitors to the interiors spaces that are dedicated to contemplation and memory.
The six triangular concrete forms, provide specific program areas within the Monument: 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 14 meter-high form that encloses the visitor in a cathedral-like space and frames the sky from above.
The Stair of Hope rises from the central gathering space, cuts through a dramatically inclined wall, and points at the upper plaza towards Canada's Parliament Buildings. The triangular spaces are representative of the badges the Nazi’s and their collaborators used to label homosexuals.
The cast-in-place, exposed concrete monument conceived as an experiential environment comprised of six triangular concrete volumes configured to create the points of a star. The star remains the visual symbol of the Holocaust – a symbol that millions of Jews were forced to wear by the Nazi’s to identify them as Jews. Excluding them from humanity and marking them for extermination.
Surrounding the monument is a rough landscape of various coniferous trees that emerge from rocky, pebbled ground.