Fracture

Fracture

Atlantic City Holocaust Memorial Competition
March 2010
With Lisa Pauli.

This memorial is about finding a reflective moment within the chaos and excitement of the Atlantic City Boardwalk. The footprint of the existing pavilion is transformed into three distinct, but codependent, spaces: an upper seating area, a ramp down towards the back of the site featuring explanatory graphic narratives embedded in both the walls and the ramp floor, and a simple volume suspended above the entire rear portion of the site.

The volume is approached from below via a ramp up into its interior. This volume recalls the dimensions of a typical railway boxcar used during the Holocaust to transport Jews to death camps. As the visitor enters the space from below, the intricate light pattern and system of apertures within the volume’s skin begin to appear. Standing within the space, the visitor can see that the inside surface is covered with shards of mirrors, each angled in a different way and reflecting light to a different place. The shattered pattern evokes images of Kristallnacht, and the destructive hatred that caused such enormous tragedies. The multiplied reflections also suggest the quantities of people held together in boxcars, as well as the lost generations who might be alive today had their ancestors not been murdered.

The apertures in the skin permit enough light so that, coupled with the many mirrors, the interior of the memorial volume is well lit. At night, this condition reverses as the volume and the benches outside glow, serving as a beacon of hope that through remembering, we may guard against heinous injustice in the future.