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Work and Life Memorial
In the pandemic a new kind of job was discovered, the “essential workers” were found in unexpected areas, they risked their own health while serving the whole community. As many lost their lives on the way, their heroism is memorialized with silhouettes on the screens of a new volume. A window allows visitors to see the sculpture monument Faro del Comercio (commerce lighthouse) that is a reflection of the mindset of Monterrey, identified as a hard working city and the business pole of Northern Mexico.
The aim of the project is to bring the public realm to an existing underground space that was closed to the public for two decades, contradicting the intention of leaving it buried and abandoned. This act is a metaphor to remember the lives of all the citizens that had a sudden farewell during the lockdown, bringing them back from oblivion. The strategy of this memorial is to place a new element emerging from below to invite people inside through the void on the existing bridge.
The neglected area is a former underground shopping mall, built together with the city’s main square Macroplaza, an ambitious project opening in 1984 where dozens of historical blocks were demolished, forcing hundreds of people to leave their houses and past behind. It belonged to another century when commercial spaces were overrated. The site was gradually abandoned and since 1997 the accesses were shut down, stairs and railings were closed with walls to limit any view towards the inside. Only the parking lot below remained in use.
The weather conditions are very variable so the underground design is both comfortable and with an intimate intention.
Bright colors are introduced on the floor to experience a variety of ambiences, stimulating the visitors to feel differently as they walk around. Like the process of mourning and healing through a series of phases, different but connected between them, defined but not in a strict order, each person can go back and forth freely. The furniture as well subtly marks spaces with partitions and simple elements.
The areas are traced as polyvalent spaces, violet areas are for reception and resting around the new garden. Pink is for meeting or educational events. Green is for permanent or temporary exhibitions. Blue is for the pole field that marks the threshold to the sublime hall of memory.
The existing translucent walls oriented to the border of the plaza are requalified with a mosaic of stained glass with motifs to remember the lives of the victims of the city. Indirect illumination is brought by a set of skylights along the underground space, to give an ethereal sensation.
The continuity of life is represented by a yellow circulation axis, traced right under the bridge. The design pretends to break previous paradigms and change the idea of open public space into an underground one, reflecting how our way of living has proven to adapt through hard moments.
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