New design chosen for Memorial to the Victims of Communism

A new design has been chosen for the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Ottawa. The project, once mired in controversy thanks to a previous dark, Brutalist design and the then-Conservative government’s plan to plop it down on the Supreme Court of Canada’s lawn, now features a less bleak look.

Here’s how Tribute to Liberty, the non-profit organization behind the memorial, describes the Arc of Memory, by design competition winner Team Raff.

The Arc of Memory features two gently curving wall-like metal frames totalling 21 metres in length and almost 4 metres in height. The walls support more than 4000 short bronze rods densely arranged along 365 steel fins, each one pointing at a unique angle of the sun, for every hour of every day, across a year.

The memorial would be split in the middle at winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, inviting visitors to step through in a metaphorical journey from darkness and oppression to lightness and liberty.

The Memorial to the Victims of Communism – Canada, a Land of Refuge is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

The Department of Canadian Heritage is developing this project on behalf of Tribute to Liberty and in partnership with the National Capital Commission.

Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly described the design as “an evocative concept that has taken an abstract theme and made it personal and accessible to all Canadians. I wish to congratulate all the design teams for their commitment and vision. I would also like to thank the expert jury, who had a very difficult decision to make.”

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