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The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for humanity. We will likely spend the following years discussing what happened during this period. A disconcerting moment for many of us that will surely become a part of human history.
During the current situation humans have had time to reflect. Not only about the people who have unfortunately died because of the pandemic, but also about the people who have been suffering in many ways. There are those who have been infected by the virus, who are fighting every day for their lives, the doctors and nurses who have been working so hard, those who lost their jobs, and the people who simply cannot go out of their houses, leaving them feeling isolated from the rest of the world.
This project´s principal purpose is to become a space to honor every single person who has been affected by COVID-19, being a space for mourning and reflection, and offering calm and quietude to those visiting it. A sensorial project with a highly emotional impact for the users.
This design originates from a very emotional concept: social distancing. This is represented in a conceptual way, with two geometric shapes, simple and perpendicular, using exposed concrete with corten steel and stainless-steel elements.
At the entrance of the monument we see high ceilings of approximately 6m in height, thick walls of around 50cm, and an alley of just 2m width that´s 12.5m long. The roof only covers half of the space, letting in enough natural light to see the inside, but keeping the right amount of darkness to establish a nostalgic atmosphere. The low light levels aim at making the user feel fear and hope together while creating the illusion that there is something there, beyond the darkness.
After one makes their way out of the alley, they will arrive at an open space with a reflecting pool at the centre and some seating to enjoy the view of the forest and the calm and quiet surroundings after the previous journey.
The style of the project is minimalistic, since it is made only with the essential materials, letting aside all ornaments and decorations, inspired by the phrase of the famous architect Miles Van der Rohe: ‘less is more’.
The memorial will be located in the San Juan de Aragón Forest in Mexico City as the project intends to create contrast between itself and the natural surroundings, while respecting nature. It aims to break from the context but also create a harmonious complex. The monument hopes to teach that nature is more powerful than man and that not everything is under our control, the spread of the virus being an example. Mexico City was chosen because it is the biggest city in the country and where most of the infections and deceases have occurred, Mexico itself being one of the worst-hit countries globally.
We named this project ´C-19 Memorial´ as a reference to COVID-19, so the people visiting or hearing about it know immediately why it stands.
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