Gómez Platero designs World Memorial to the Pandemic for Uruguayan coast
Latin American architecture firm Gómez Platero has unveiled a design for a circular monument in Uruguay to remember coronavirus victims.
The proposed World Memorial to the Pandemic is a large sculpture designed to be installed on water off the coast of Uruguay.
Designed by Gómez Platero, it is intended to offer visitors a sensorial experience and safe place to reflect and remember victims of Covid-19. If built, it will be the first large-scale memorial to do so, according to the studio.
"Architecture is a powerful tool to transform the world," director and lead architect Martín Gómez Platero said. "It is, above all, a collective and historical reality, made of small fragments which survive over time and become culture."
"By creating a memorial capable of activating senses and memories in this way, we can remind our visitors – as the pandemic has – that we as human beings are subordinate to nature and not the other way around."
A long pedestrian walkway will extend from the waterfront to the main ring-shaped platform, which will measure 40 metres in diameter. At the centre of the sculpture there will be a 10-metre-wide hole where rocks and water underneath will poke through.
Its concave surface will be constructed using concrete, while its underside will be faced with Corten steel, a durable material that requires little maintenance as it will naturally weather over time as the terrain and water level around the sculpture change.
The space offers a refuge from the noise and sights of urban life and will allow visitors to be surrounded by nature. Up to 300 people can congregate on the platform at a time while still maintaining a safe social distance from one another.
To minimise the impact on the natural environment the studio will pre-assemble a portion of the structure in its workshop and complete construction on site.
Gómez Platero is currently working with the Uruguayan government to select a site for the memorial that will not adversely impact the environment and will benefit the larger community.
It estimates that the World Memorial to the Pandemic memorial will take six months to build.
Since late 2019 Covid-19 has infected over 22 million people worldwide and resulted in over 777,000 deaths. The pandemic forced cities around the globe into lockdown, closing businesses and schools.
Other architects and designers have also proposed memorials to commemorate those that lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
They include Italian architect Angelo Renna who suggested planting 35,000 trees in a Milan stadium and Miró Rivera Architects, who envisioned a bowl-shaped structure and burial site for Jordan's Dead Sea.