Libeskind picked for Ohio
Holocaust memorial


Libeskind picked for Ohio Holocaust memorial

News: architect Daniel Libeskind has been chosen to design a Holocaust memorial in the state capital of Ohio, USA.

A specially appointed selection committee this week approved Libeskind's proposal for a five-metre-high memorial outside the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

The proposed design comprises two brushed stainless steel panels with cutouts that together form the outline of a six-pointed Star of David.

A walled limestone path would lead up to the memorial and provide seating, while both the walls and the panel would be inscribed with text.

The $2 million project will largely be privately funded, but the state will pay for site preparation costs.

Richard H. Finan, chairman of the advisory board that will make the final decision on the design, warned that the inclusion of a Jewish religious symbol in the design could invite legal challenges against the publicly funded portion of the project due to the separation of church and state in the US.

"If we get sued, it will be five years until this gets going," he told the Columbus Dispatch, adding that Libeskind's design would not fit in with the Civil War-era government building.

Libeskind picked for Ohio Holocaust memorial, photo by Marada
Ohio Statehouse, photo by Marada

The shortlist for the project included Columbus-based artist Ann Hamilton, who proposed a limestone plinth designed to amplify sounds, and Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, who put forward a nine-metre-high sculpture of bronze leaves.

Elsewhere in the US, architect Frank Gehry's proposed Washington D.C. memorial honouring President Eisenhower has lately faced a barrage of criticism over the project's cost and controversial design.

In New York, Louis Kahn's Four Freedoms Park commemorating President Roosevelt finally opened to the public last autumn, almost 40 years after it was designed. See all memorials on Dezeen.

Top image shows model of Libeskind's proposed design.

  • Dom

    Of course.

  • Wolf

    What’s Ohio got to do with the Holocaust?

  • aleks

    Really!? What else is new?

  • Why am I not surprised?

  • Alito

    Don’t want to pre-judge the obvious without seeing the design, but let me guess, it will be full of angles, fragments, some shards, all explained through an obscure metaphor that only DL can explain.

  • hugo

    I didn’t know there had been a Holocaust in Ohio.

    • reddog

      Not quite a holocaust, but the Kent State murders are something the state gov’t should remember.

  • Nick Simpson

    I’m sure it’ll be a really fresh, new and inspiring take on the whole idea of a Holocaust memorial from an architect known for his constant reinvention.

    Or not.

  • ABC

    How many times will Libeskind use a broken Star of David and still claim to be original and creative?

  • Shlamo DFG

    Sloped wall – CHECK
    Diagonal lines – CHECK
    Fractured Star of David – CHECK
    Gaudy shiny surface – CHECK

    Okay guys. That was quick. Let’s move onto the next one.

  • Delgado

    Well, f*#k me if he didn’t manage to get a sloped wall in there!

  • Flippy

    Where does one begin in this case? Libeskind has made a career milking the Holocaust teat and heavy-handed radical juxtaposition. This is just another piece in his faux empathetic empire of empty forms.

    Are we to believe that this brazen display of a particular religion’s symbol – the Star of David – on the state of Ohio’s capitol grounds is an act of ignorance of the law? Surely as a longtime resident of the U.S. he knows about the concept of the separation of church and state.

    May we therefore assume then that it’s a provocation perhaps? And why shouldn’t we? The scale of this disaster is immense and its intrusive, gleaming finish is awkward and contrived given the subject matter. What about the extermination of millions suggests “shiny”?

    This exercise in obviousness is neither subtly intelligent nor is it respectful to its environs; however you would be hard-pressed to name a Libeskind project that holds either of these qualities. If we agree that a US state capital’s grounds are an acceptable place for a monument to the Holocaust—though I have serious doubts – then it is my opinion that the design should be respectful to those (non-Jewish citizens) hosting such a memorial.

  • Tom Sawyer

    Here’s a novel idea: instead of blowing $2 million+ to memorialise an atrocity that has already happened (which you can do nothing about) in a location that is of little significance to that atrocity, why don’t you send that money to a good cause to help prevent the genocide and starvation that is CURRENTLY happening all over the world. Darfur is one of many that come to mind.

  • clemensauer

    Start looking forward.

    • Tal

      I can understand people who don’t think that holocaust memorials should be built in every city, and can understand people who criticise the design, but people whose opinion of the holocaust can be summed up as “start looking forward” provide evidence that the story of the holocaust and its lessons must be better taught.

  • nia

    Another Holocaust memorial, as if people have forgotten. Why not have a memorial for the millions of black people who died during the slave trade in America?

  • willers

    My first impression was ‘cool salt and pepper pots’.

    • Fed Fef

      Mine was, oh a new Angel perfume bottle!

  • Leopold

    To all Libeskind’s detractors: he keeps on getting work, mostly gets to build what he wants and continues to realise his vision of architecture, so he must be doing something right.

  • Scamozzi

    I pity Libeskind’s pathetic staffers deluding themselves that they are working on great projects designed by a great architect. Hey guys! It takes a lot more than wearing a black shirt to be a real architect.

  • Kaare

    Better idea for the $2 million fund:

    1. Spend $10K on a bronze plaque acknowledging the Holocaust.
    2. Give $1.99 million to the victims of Hurricane Sandy or some other worthy cause.
    3. Give Libeskind a dunce cap, a kick up the rear and a second class bus ticket home.

  • John

    Does Ohio state have a memorial for Americans who died in WW2? Maybe, but I can imagine it’s 100 times smaller than this one.

  • Ronan

    At first I thought $2 million was a lot for an 18-foot piece of stainless steel. But then I realized that $1.8 million of that goes to architectural design fees and a 50-foot tall gold-plated plaque dedicated to the world renowned architect behind the design.

  • Schlomo Habib

    $2 million budget breakdown:

    $ 120,000 Site Prep/ Foundations
    $ 36,000 Structural Engineer Fee
    $ 316,000 Stainless Steel Star of David
    $ 100,000 Landscaping
    $ 580,000 Libeskind Architectural Design Fee
    $ 848,000 Libeskind Supplemental ‘Genius Fee’

  • Joel

    Judging from many of the comments that have been made, we do need more Holocaust memorials in the United States. However, I will agree that we need to shake up the styling. I’d like to see what Dror, Arik Levy or Ron Arad could come up with.

  • Papo

    Like all of Libeskind’s work, it smacks of being the first and most obvious thing that popped into his head. From there a doodle was handed over to an intern (probably still unlicensed because no-one at SDL can mentor them through the NCARB Process), and then someone generates the usual SDL BS. Fine architecture is about meaningful, humanistic ideas expressed through craft and subtlety of form. Libeskind’s crass and very unsubtly crude ‘sculptures’ have none of these qualities.

  • Gugenheim is next

    What’s with all the Holocaust memorials in the US? Are they remembering how the US did nothing to actively stop the killing?

  • Anon

    The first time I saw the picture, I thought it was gonna be a Mont Blanc store or something.