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This proposal aims to encapsulate a space whereby a relationship can exist between how we associate ourselves with this space and the memories which exist there. A symbolic environment can help us to remember and shape our connections and form a sense of stability in our minds.
The memorial itself is focused within the St Thomas’ Hospital Garden (London), one of many hospitals that has – and continues to - feel the impact of Covid 19. The proposal looks to build upon the basic square garden (which currently incorporates a central fountain amongst the greenery) and include a series of simple monolithic totems amidst landscaped zones at differing levels (breaking down the current large garden into smaller, more individual and personal gardens).
These totems are of differing shapes and sizes, and randomly located amongst the landscape, a reminder that Covid is unpredictable and can affect anyone regardless of their background. Circles placed on the faces of the totem are representative of those that have been lost to the virus (a circle can indicate per 100 people, 1000 etc). With the pandemic in no sign of abating and will unfortunately still affect many people, these circles can continue to be added to the faces of the totems. Slate has been chosen as the main material for the totem. This natural, hard-wearing material can allow users to connect with the landscape; to be able to harbour a sense of belonging.
The second part to the design focuses on the garden. With the introduction of differing levels and shapes to the garden, a closer more personal space can be carved out of the garden – a space that is more reflective. Whilst taking some inspiration from traditional Japanese rock gardens, the greenery is stylised to break up the space, bringing into play a rhythm. This rhythmic recurrence can have an effect of progression and change; the memorial may in fact not rely on mourning. Instead, the past and future can combine to form an image of today. We may use previous knowledge or experience to supersede memories which allow for a change of a kind that we prefer to see, distinguishing new relationships that derive from our past experience. This may be a place of reflection certainly, but has aims to move beyond simply reliving a memory and instead build on these experiences, to form a knowledge of the future affected by past experience.
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