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This year has been one of the most devastating times of the past century. Whilst all of us have lost the ability to socialize with others in person, some have lost loved ones without even the opportunity to see them for one last time; such loss is hard to contemplate, and even harder to comprehend. But does our “human connection” devalue when we are distant? Can we still reconcile with the death of our loved ones without such connections? Is someone truly gone when the memory of them still persists?
To tackle the issue, my focus is on creating a memorial for the lives lost due to COVID-19 that explores this loss of physical connection. I incorporated many symbolic elements in an attempt to conjure the feeling of separation, whilst concomitantly creating a space where people can still remember their loved ones through this distance.
The facade of the design is inspired by the mobius loop, which is formed by a single strip of paper, but creates a loop that can be traced by one continuous line. This notion connects with that of time and memory and suggests that the tapesty of time and existance can be intertwined and connected; the victims of COVID-19 thus, can manifest in the form of memories and remembrance.
The circular form of the building also gives me the opportunity to explore time. The entrance of the building - North, representing 12 o'clock - is completely shaded, symbolic of the darkness and sense of loss in the families/loved ones of these victims. But as one moves around the interior of the building, the light from the glass window starts to slowly emerge, until they are met with the sight of the waterfall and natural feature in the middle. The focal point at the centre of the architecture is inspired by traditional Suzhou garden design and communicates the inherent connection between nature and humanity - the void in between the two representative of the void of one's loss - and through this connection, I aim to elicit an imagery which evokes the memory of the victims of the virus. Plaques with engraved names of the victims will also be placed on the interior walls of the building as a commemoration of their lives.
Ultimately, the experience of the design is intended to show that beyond the void of the losses in the pandemic, the rich memories of the COVID victims can still provide their families with solace and warmth.
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