Press release

Planning application submitted for Holocaust Memorial proposed for next to Parliament

Planning application for the UK’s new Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre has been submitted.

UK Holocaust Memorial

Yesterday (19 December 2018) a planning application for the UK’s new Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre has been submitted to Westminster city council.

A fundraising effort for the Memorial will be led by philanthropist Gerald Ronson CBE, who will set up a new charity to support its delivery.

The Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre has been proposed for Victoria Tower Gardens next to Parliament.

The design for the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre has been developed over the past year. It has been done in consultation with Holocaust and other genocide survivors, communities of a range of faiths and backgrounds, local residents, businesses and key experts from landscape design to Holocaust education.

Images of the final design were released on 4 December 2018, alongside a Mission Statement setting out the UK Holocaust Memorial’s commitment to stand up against antisemitism, prejudice and hatred in all its forms.

By setting history’s worst example of the disintegration of democratic values against the greatest emblem of Britain’s aspirations for democracy, it will stand as a permanent reminder of the responsibilities of citizens to be vigilant and responsive whenever and wherever those values are threatened.

Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:

The Memorial will be a place of reflection and education in the exceptional setting of Victoria Tower Gardens, and act as a commitment for all of us to stand up whenever our shared values are threatened.

The planning application submitted today is a key milestone in this important national programme that will deliver a national Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre at the heart of our civic and democratic life.

Details of the design scheme

In 2016 Prime Minister Theresa May launched a design competition for a Memorial and underground Learning Centre in Victoria Tower Gardens, adjacent to Parliament in Westminster.

The winning scheme was proposed by a team led by architects Adjaye Associates, with Ron Arad Architects as Memorial Architect, and Gustafson Porter + Bowman as Landscape Architect. Their proposal set out to create “a living place, not just a monument to something of the past” and the desire to create an immersive journey for the visitor who would enter a Memorial embedded in the landscape of the Gardens.

The jury found the proposal deftly resolved an essential challenge of the brief: being visually arresting (“highly visible from near and far”) yet showing sensitivity to its location and context (“a bold and sensitive collaboration between architecture, landscape, art and design”). The design was found to have clear potential to be developed into an iconic memorial and powerful educational experience, welcoming visitors from the UK and beyond to learn and reflect.

The final design for the Memorial and Learning Centre consists of 23 bronze fins to the southern end of the Gardens. Visitors will walk through an entrance pavilion, then across a courtyard where they will be confronted with views of Parliament’s Victoria Tower. The Learning Centre, accessed by pathways set between the fins, is an integral part of the Memorial. Visitors will leave with an improved understanding of the Holocaust and its impact on the United Kingdom and people who live here or came to live here following a genocide.

The landscape design embeds the Memorial within the park and includes a new intervention – a subtle but distinct slope which creates a new vantage point to the River Thames, a renewed perspective and relationship to the Memorial, and a distinctive entry point for an underground Learning Centre. This subtle shift in the landscape also allows for all existing memorials within the gardens to remain visible whilst key views into Westminster are undisturbed.

It is expected that consultation letters on the proposal will be sent out from Westminster city council in the new year.

Further information

See information on the final designs presented at the latest public exhibition.

A Mission Statement was set out for the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre on 4 December 2018.

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Published 20 December 2018