David Adjaye and Ron Arad’s design for the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre planned for London looks distinctly more understated in the most recent set of renderings released by the duo. Crafted in collaboration with landscape architecture firm Gustafson Porter + Bowman, the updated version of the memorial project was created in response to concerns from neighbors and the local Westminster City Council. Planned for a site next to the Houses of Parliament in Victoria Tower Gardens, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the project has been highly contentious. For years, Britain’s government has been seeking a way to honor Holocaust survivors and the lives lost under Nazi persecution, but a cross-party group of Jewish leadership, as well as local residents, have been against the memorial, saying it would present an inaccurate attitude of national guilt. Still, in 2016 the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation launched an international design competition, which attracted high-profile firms and artists like Zaha Hadid Architects, Anish Kapoor, MASS Design Group, Studio Libeskind, and Allied Works. Though the jury unanimously selected Adjaye and Arad’s proposal in October 2017, the winning design was criticized from the start by the public, and even UNESCO, for its size and location. Concerns were raised over the Foundation’s plans to put the Learning Centre underground, which would disrupt the site during construction, and people feared the memorial wouldn’t be built in dialogue with the existing monuments on site or with the nearby Imperial War Museum, which has planned its own Holocaust tribute. Adjaye and Arad’s revised design features a new, single-story entrance pavilion that’s lighter, more transparent, and more in sync with the existing landscape, according to Adjaye Associates and the planning application submitted to the city this January. Its roofline has been changed to allow for better views across the entire site, which was a major change to appease critics who argued the memorial blocked sights towards Parliament. The bronze fins that signal the memorial’s presence, arguably the most striking part of the exterior design, have been subdued and pulled away from the old plane trees that surround the structure. Visitors will still be able to walk through the rows of fins and into the subterranean Learning Centre below. Overall, Adjaye and Arad’s new plan for the memorial, which is now under a public commentary period, is better integrated into the landscape of Victoria Gardens and doesn’t pose as serious a threat to the surrounding historic views or the existing native plantings. Walking from the Houses of Parliament, the grass sweeps in an upward motion towards the memorial, becoming a part of its roof. From the other side, the stark fins still seem to stand out, but maybe in the summers, when the site’s flora is in full bloom, the structure will surprise visitors who stumble upon it amongst the luscious greenery.
Posts tagged with "Ron Arad Architects":
Today officials announced Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects as the winners of an international competition to design a Holocaust memorial in London. The project, officially known as the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, will honor the memory of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, as well as the Roma, gay, and disabled people who were killed by the Nazis. Elected officials, rabbis, Holocaust survivors and their descendants presided over the design unveiling for the memorial and learning space, which will sit at the southern end of Victoria Tower Gardens, right next to the Houses of Parliament. The spaces will encourage reflection and understanding by educating visitors on the Holocaust and antisemitism and in turn using this understanding to explore other forms of hatred, such as Islamophobia and homophobia, as well as examine institutions' role in preventing hatred. The idea for a new memorial and education center was first floated in January 2015, following a survey that found growing public ignorance of the Holocaust and dissatisfaction with the memorial in Hyde Park. The design competition launched the following year, in September, and the ten finalists were announced this February. The labyrinthine design is meant to encourage individual reflection. At the end of each pathway, 23 tall bronze fins representing the 22 countries of origin of Jewish Holocaust victims will face visitors, who will enter the chamber alone. The routes eventually funnel into the contemplative Threshold. This segues into the underground Learning Centre, which includes a space where survivors' stories are shared, as well as reflective chamber with eight bronze panels which will be called the "Contemplation Court." “The complexity of the Holocaust story, including the British context, is a series of layers that have become hidden by time," said Sir David Adjaye, principal of Adjaye Associates, in a prepared statement. "Our approach to the project has been to reveal these layers and not let them remain buried under history. To do so, we wanted to create a living place, not just a monument to something of the past. We wanted to orchestrate an experience that reminds us of the fragility and constant strife for a more equitable world." The memorial is Adjaye Associates' latest high-profile public commission. In the U.S., the firm is best known for designing The National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C., and it was just tapped to design an interactive spy museum in New York. The building's siting was meant to provoke intrigue from afar. On the approach, visitors will see the memorial's fins just over a green landform. The structure dialogues with a likeness of Emmeline Pankhurst and the Burghers of Calais, as well as the Buxton Memorial, three other statues and sites that interrogate injustice. Gustafson Porter + Bowman is collaborating with Adjaye and Arad on the landscape design.
Bellhops dressed in Sixties-themed uniforms created by costume designer Janie Bryant from the Mad Men television series. Guest rooms that resemble cabins on a cruise ship, only filled with midcentury modern furniture. Guest room keys bearing a message that makes a not so subtle reference to the Nixon era: “No need to break in…” Those are just a few of the design touches guests will find at the Watergate Hotel, on the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, D. C. Located at 2650 Virginia Avenue N. W. and closed since 2007, the hotel reopened today after a six-year, $125 million renovation. As part of the work, the number of rooms has increased from 251 to 336, including 32 suites. 17,000 square feet of meeting and event space have been added, including a 7,000 square foot ballroom. The developer is Euro Capital Properties of New York, headed by Jacques and Rakel Cohena, a husband and wife team. The architects were BBGM of Washington and Ron Arad Architects of London. Room rates start at $435 per night. Originally designed by Italian architect Luigi Moretti in 1961, the Watergate Hotel gained attention for its contemporary design, and it came to epitomize the lifestyle and sophistication of its time. In the latest renovations, the 1960s exterior was preserved, but the interior was gutted and rebuilt. The architects put emphasis on playing off the midcentury modern design and playing up the sense of retro luxury and swank that distinguishes this hotel from more traditional Washington hotels such as the Willard InterContinental on Pennsylvania Avenue. Much of the furniture has been designed to look as if it dates from the 1960s. In a nod to the hotel's Italian heritage and inspired by its curves and undulations, Arad looked to sculptural, modern furnishings by the Italian designer Moroso. Arad also designed a new whiskey bar that's marked by a sculpture made of metal and whiskey bottles. The rooftop bar has a fire pit and sweeping views of the Potomac River, the Capitol, and the Washington Monument. The designers and developers didn't shy away from the Watergate’s link to the break-in that brought down a president. The hotel's customer service phone number ends in 1972, and recordings of Richard Nixon’s speeches will play periodically in public restrooms. “The Watergate is undoubtedly one of the most glamorous and illustrious hotels in the world," said Rakel Cohen, senior vice president of design and development for Euro Capital Properties. "We have paid meticulous attention to every detail in its renovation…. Its intrigue is driven by evocative design, from the retro feel that we have infused to the mystique that lies behind every curve of the hotel's architecture."
Scandalous no more: The Watergate Hotel post-$125 million renovation looks more classy and elegant than ever
As Washington, D.C.’s first “unapologetically luxurious” stomping ground for the rich and famous, The Watergate Hotel recently underwent a $125 million modernizing facelift. Inextricably connected with the Watergate scandal, the hotel has maintained its avant-garde design and curvaceous, classic elegance in a nod to its 1960s design by Italian architect Luigi Moretti. Moretti designed a series of curvilinear buildings made from reinforced concrete as a counterpoint to Washington's conformist neoclassical architecture. New York–based real estate developer Euro Capital Properties commissioned Ron Arad Architects to design the lobby, whisky bar, and restaurant, filling these spaces with custom-designed sculptural furnishings by the architect. “In its heyday, the Watergate Hotel was a playground for powerful people. My vision was to recreate that by celebrating [Luigi] Moretti’s original design and updating it with modern, luxurious details that guests and locals will value,” said Rakel Cohen, Vice President of Design & Development, Euro Capital Properties, in a statement. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the lobby frame views of the Potomac River, with the graded black granite ceiling and floors creating a floating sensation akin to Moretti’s inspiration of a boat sailing on the Potomac. Pops of color complement the sculptural metalwork and showstopping chandeliers, while a wall of hand-patinated brass tubes draws the eye toward the Potomac. Avoiding straight lines altogether, the 46 foot-long brass reception desk recalls the building’s signature curves. Meanwhile, twisted columns made from mirror-polished stainless steel tubes create distorted reflections. On June 16, 1972, four men rented two rooms in the Watergate Hotel and dined on lobster at the hotel restaurant. That same evening, they broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters on the sixth floor of the Watergate office, triggering the scandal that caused Nixon to resign two years later. Arad admits that the Watergate scandal was an irresistible lure for him when asked to come on board. “Working within such a significant period piece, you can’t ignore the context, but at the same time you don’t want to mimic it. Instead, you want to create something complementary, but most importantly, something new,” Arad said in a statement. “We have tried to enhance Moretti’s original curves using our own, while at the same time influencing the anticipated flow of people through the spaces. To honor Moretti, we introduced a brilliant Italian fabricator to the project as a way of completing the cycle,” Arad continued, referencing Italian furniture designer Moroso, which manufactured most of the hotel's sculptural furnishings. The lobby of the 377-room hotel features a new double-height space carved out of the original building, with casual and fine dining concepts under a black polished plaster ceiling with eight custom-made spiral chandeliers. The fine dining restaurant is wrapped by a red, curving banquette and decked with bespoke Watergate Chairs designed by Arad for Watergate Hotel and manufactured by Moroso.