Libeskind trumps Adjaye in Canada's
National Holocaust Monument contest


Libeskind trumps Adjaye in Canada's National Holocaust Monument contest

News: a design team featuring architect Daniel Libeskind and artist Edward Burtynsky has triumphed in a competition to design a National Holocaust Monument for Ottawa, Canada.

Libeskind trumps Adjaye in Canada's National Holocaust Monument contest

The team led by museum planner Gail Dexter-Lord, which also features landscape architect Claude Cormier and university scholar Doris Berger, saw off entries from architect David Adjaye, designer Ron Arad and architect Gilles Saucier to land the commission for the monument.

Libeskind trumps Adjaye in Canada's National Holocaust Monument contest

Entitled Landscape of Loss, Memory and Survival, the winning proposal is based on the form of a Star of David and will be prominently located in the heart of the Canadian capital, opposite the Canadian War Museum.

The six points of the star are intended to "provides a unique theme and ambiance for interpretation, contemplation and artistic expression" and together will frame a large gathering space.

Libeskind trumps Adjaye in Canada's National Holocaust Monument contest

"We are deeply honoured to be entrusted with designing the monument to Holocaust victims and survivors, and we are committed to creating a place of meaning and value for all Canadians in our country's capital," said Gail Dexter-Lord, who is also co-president of cultural organisation Lord Cultural Resources.

Libeskind trumps Adjaye in Canada's National Holocaust Monument contest

The official inauguration of the monument is scheduled for autumn 2015.

"This new landmark in our nation's capital will encourage people to reflect on the events of the Holocaust, remember the victims and pay tribute to the survivors. It will also be a solemn place for reflection and learning, and an unforgettable experience for Canadians and visitors alike," commented Canadian foreign affairs minister John Baird.

  • skeptical

    Great, another pointy holocaust monument from Libeskind, just what we need. Whilst I’m all for the remembrance and commemoration of the second world war, I can’t help but feel a little bit tired of his pointy “it’s just like a deconstructed star of David!” statement pieces. I’m sure Adjaye and his associates would have produced a much more meaningful monument.

    • Domby

      Actually yes, Adjaye’s proposal was way ahead of Libeskind’s “pointless” monument.

      • Jon

        Although I agree that the “deconstructed star of David” concept is quite overdone, I think that this design is the most contextual to the existing area out of the proposals. The monument will sit right across from the Canadian War Museum and the two are formally similar. It’s a shame the museum isn’t shown in any of the renderings.

  • Derek_V

    This has to be a joke right? Let me guess. A torn Star of David?

  • Dorius Cannes

    Prefab ruins.

  • Calc

    Can Daniel Libeskind get any more ridiculous?

    • Underwhelmed

      Oh yes, he can!

  • oldschool

    Haha! Libeskind does yet another Star of David?! Hilarious. He’s as derivative as Gehry now – I guess if people are OK with accepting retreads…

  • P Clark

    I do believe that the Bonder+Wodiczko monument was much more successful. Less of a object and more of a place to reflect. Libeskind wins solely because of his name in a project like this.

  • David

    There’s a whole business to be made on the Holocaust… Museums, monuments, gift shops, souvenir shops with calendars, key rings, post cards, DVDs, T-shirts. Poor Hannah Arendt, poor Walter Benjamin, it is so sad for their memory.

  • Concerned Citizen

    When was there a holocaust in Canada?

  • Z-dog

    Let’s get real here guys – Libeskind is a huge name in the business. He runs a giant company with hundreds of employees. His designs are worldwide and very large. He had to be the figurehead for all of these designs.

    Sure, most architects don’t like his designs. We say that they are derivative, they lack context, gimmicky, etc., etc. We hate the way he describes the buildings story or his lack of orthogonal space.

    Face up – he delivers. He designs, pitches, promotes, wins and delivers the project. He’s like a wrecking ball through red tape. He is a force of architecture that we should aspire and push behind.

    • Tom

      You make it sound like the fact that he actually gets his ridiculous stuff sold and built is a good thing.

  • philippe b

    If they want a proper monument or a way for people to remember what really happened, spend the money on a movie or a good book. This has a bigger impact on what happened than another museum, where all you wonder about is where the next spot is where you can rest your and figure out if you’re going to have lunch in the overpriced museum cafe, or walk another half hour to this cool brunch place you read about in Wallpaper.

  • david


  • James Briano

    Libeskind structures are not built for people. They’re claustrophobic, confusing, and downright dangerous – wear a helmet at all times!

  • whatsinaname

    The design concept is OK although I don’t see the connection with the title “Loss, Memory and Survival”. Nevertheless, it is a place to bring people together – a target for what to do today. A commerce booster for the businesses in this part of the city. If Poland and Germany can induce business this way, then why shouldn’t Canada?

  • Abraham

    Other Holocaust Monument? How many do we need?Instead of spending the money on monuments, we should give the money to those millions of people who die of hunger every day.

  • Todd Larson

    This will be a masterpiece when built — a dynamic paean to Holocaust deconstruction and postmortem reconstruction, a Star of David struggling to reform its geometrically perfect self in the wake of the mass murder. This kind of slashing, pointed shard effect was what Libeskind had intended for his original master plan for Ground Zero in New York, until politics and bureaucracy whittled it away. I will be glad to see it here, in its proper symbolic form.

  • labidola

    Backwardness and embarrassment.

  • Luckily, the formal concept isn’t too literal…

  • But his work while at Cornell was great.

  • Charlie Bing

    Not sure how many we need Abe, but I suspect the goal is to ensure that no one forgets. And anyway, everyone knows that money not spent on monuments will never be spent on the hungry.

  • surreal idealist

    There are far more tragedies to be memorialised, whereas Holocaust memorials/museums/monuments have pretty much become ubiquitous.