Landscape as a Medium of Recalling Human Events: Memorial Garden for the Paris 

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The notion of landscape is connected to other conceptions, such as the concepts of earth, nature, and space. These three elements enable the project to be connected to a particular site’s perspectives on history, human sentiments, function, and socio-cultural growth. Understanding people and how they will interact with space is essential in the process of creating a landscape. Landscapes, like human nature, are frequently impermanent, and changeable, with alternating characteristics that change in a progressive manner. Nevertheless, there are also aspects that remain immovable, such as memorials, which cause us to ponder, travel back in time, recall an event, another era, or an older civilization, awaken our memory, establish a deep connection with a place, and create a sense of identity and belonging. 

Stonehenge, UK, is one of the most famous monuments in human history, with origins dating back to 3000 BC. Today, visitors may see a masterpiece that has fascinated people for centuries. Stonehenge can be regarded as a true hardscape landscape element, which, while enigmatic in origin and construction, has significant architectural merit due to its position and the material of the stone utilized.

Sometimes notions of landscape might also be politically charged. Memorials are built to mark the importance of a civic event.   For instance, man-made hardscape monuments, such as the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Washington Square Arch in New York City, or the India Gate in New Delhi, were built to memorialize war casualties, commemorate a civil event (such as the country’s independence), or provide a momentous gateway to a city. 

The landscape design will also enable another memorial that will be built in the center of Paris, Saint-Gervais, to serve as a place of remembrance for all of the victims of the November 13, 2015 attacks. The Mayor of Paris, as well as organizations “13 Onze 15 Fraternité et Vérité” and “Life for Paris”, have asked for this memorial garden. The project led by the Wagon Landscaping and Life for Paris team is anticipated to be completed in the spring of 2025, ten years after the recollection of that incident. 

Memorial garden perspectives Source: paris.fr
Memorial garden perspectives Source: paris.fr

The garden, from an architectural standpoint, depicts the brutality and harshness of that catastrophe via the layout, volume of the components, and materials employed. The overarching plan is defined by six plans that personify the locations of the attacks. At the same time, these six designs outline the organization of the master plan as well as the streets of Paris. The greenery in the internal part of the garden breaks up the severity and calms the human sense. It also aids in their recall of the casualties and events of that day. Aside from the greenery, the dominating aspect is the rock-shaped benches on which, in addition to serving as a seat, the names of the victims who died are carved.

Memorial Garden Masterplan layout. Source: pss-archi.eu

The garden allows the living to be deployed inside this memory, while the stone components remind us of the brutality of the event and the shattered lives. Nature is vital to the overall notion that inspired the project. At the same time, it instills hope for a better future in the spirits of all visitors and garden users, for light cannot be drowned out by darkness.

Simultaneously, the visuals of the proposed project, which depict both soft and hard component pieces comprising the master plan, offer the impression of a recreational area where every family may spend quality time together. Although it conveys a tragedy within itself, by filling the space and providing it with a multifunctional purpose that is used by people of all ages, it brings vitality, pleasure, contentment, and a yearning for happiness to the space.

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Ataraxiaarch is an architect, interior designer and a PhD Candidate in Theory of Architecture. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture and Master in Built Environment. Aside from her dedication to architectural and interior design projects, her love is photographing everything that strikes her attention.

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