David Adjaye and Ron Arad’s contentious Holocaust Memorial planned for a small park in Westminster has been redesigned after a groundswell of opposition to the scheme
According to a letter, seen by the AJ, the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation (UKHMF) is set to submit a revised application for the project at Victoria Tower Gardens.
It follows a huge row over the location of the memorial and criticism of what UNESCO called its ‘dominating’ design, which includes 23 bronze fins, an entrance pavilion and an underground learning centre.
The architects have gone back to the drawing board to revise designs for the main entrance pavilion, the entrance courtyard and landscaping, as well as reducing its basement footprint.
The letter from the UKHMF reads: ‘The revised application follows a comprehensive period of consultation in which hundreds of residents in Westminster, and further afield, have responded both positively and negatively to the application
‘UKHMF has listened carefully during the consultation, and the revised proposals are a response to some of the comments received in addition to those received from statutory consultees.’
The rethink follows a huge volume of objections lodged with Westminster Council over the project as well as opposition from high-profile bodies including Historic England, the UK branch of Icomos (the International Council on Monuments and Sites) and the Royal Parks.
Concerns mainly centre on the location for the government-backed memorial, with local residents and campaigners from Save Victoria Tower Gardens (SVTG) arguing the structure will ‘destroy a treasured park’.
Architect Barbara Weiss, who helps run the SVTG group said: ‘The consequences of a resubmission will cause massive delays, cost a fortune in terms of taxpayers’ money for abortive work, and create havoc for everyone involved.’
‘This complete failure to think through the first application is a clear consequence of the lack of listening that has been the hallmark of this ill-fated project.’
The scheme has also received support from 174 MPs and peers who signed a letter in support of the proposal. They included Kindertransport refugee and Labour peer Alf Dubs and Luciana Berger, the Jewish MP for Liverpool Wavertree.
London mayor Sadiq Khan has also thrown his weight behind the proposals, saying he was ‘deeply concerned’ it could be rejected.
UK Holocaust memorial charities, including the Holocaust Educational Trust and Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, have also backed the project, while a letter of support has been sent from rabbis of nine Westminster synagogues.
The UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation has been approached for comment.
FINAL: Designs for the new Holocaust Memorial in Westminster by Adjaye Associates, Ron Arad and Gustafson Porter + Bowman